Chargers' chances of outlasting Broncos in AFC West increase after key injury

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

NFL training camp brings a ton of excitement for fans. Not only does it provide much-needed content after a long offseason, but it also signifies that the regular season is right around the corner. For a team as talented as the Los Angeles Chargers, the most important thing is they look in sync and avoid any major injuries.

Unfortunately, injuries are a prevailing theme of camp every year.

For some fans, the concept of players getting injured -- whether it be a non-contact injury or otherwise -- just a month or weeks before the start of the regular season is tough to swallow. Football is such a violent sport and it seems unfair teams require multiple months worth of practice to ramp up for the season.

It just opens the door for more injuries, and a Chargers rival experienced this in a big way Tuesday. Per reports, Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick suffered what was ultimately diagnosed as a torn ACL at practice, ending his season.

Tim Patrick's ACL injury bodes well for the Chargers in 2022.

Let's start by saying we wish Patrick a speedy recovery. From a neutral fan's standpoint, it's awful seeing players suffer season-ending injuries in practice. The silver lining -- if you can even find one after such a grim update -- is Patrick signed a $34 million extension with Denver last year, so the injury won't cost him any money.

For the Chargers, however, this injury is huge news, as Patrick is one of the league's most underrated receivers. In the last two seasons, the former undrafted free agent racked up 104 catches for 1,476 yards (14.15 YPC) and 11 touchdowns while operating as the team's No. 3 wideout.

In many ways, Patrick has been the glue of Denver's receiving corps. Courtland Sutton missed all but one game in 2020 with his own ACL injury and Jerry Jeudy has been disappointing -- in terms of both injuries and output -- since he was drafted No. 15 overall in 2020. In two years (26 games), Jeudy's managed just 90 catches for 1,323 yards and three touchdowns, all of which came during his rookie year.

The arrival of Wilson will seemingly pay huge dividends for Jeudy and Sutton, but Patrick's steadying presence will be sorely missed. As things stand, KJ Hamler, the team's second-round pick from 2020, will slot in as the No. 3 receiver in Patrick's absence and he, too, is recovering from an ACL tear that cost him all but three games last year.

The Broncos certainly have the talent to get by without Patrick, but their receiving corps suddenly has serious questions. That shouldn't be understated, especially with Wilson coming off his worst season since we can remember in 2021.

Advantage, Chargers.

Next. 3 clear advantages Chargers have over Broncos in 2022. dark