The LA Chargers have been dealing with perhaps the worst injury luck in the league this season. Star left tackle Rashawn Slater is out for the year, Joey Bosa is going to miss most of the year and Justin Herbert is going to have to deal with his rib injury for quite some time, although he looked much better in Week 4.
Keenan Allen likely is not going to return to action in Week 5, marking his fourth missed game after suffering a hamstring injury in the first half of Week 1's win over the Las Vegas Raiders. The injury bug has hit the offense, it has hit the defense, and now it has hit special teams.
LA Chargers kicker Dustin Hopkins was a surprise addition to the injury report on Wednesday as the veteran kicker is dealing with a quad injury. Hopkins did not practice on Wednesday as the team might have to bring in a kicker to replace him in Week 5.
Kickers might not get the love that they deserve from football fans but they are very obviously an important part of the game. Hopkins is the best kicker the Chargers have had in years, so going back to a game of kicking roulette is not what the team needs.
The LA Chargers dealt with a similar kicking issue against the Cleveland Browns last season as well.
Ironically enough, the Chargers played the Browns in Week 5 of the 2021 season as well 364 days to the date of the Week 5 matchup in Cleveland. That Week 5 game in 2021 was one of the best games of the year as the two sides battled in a 47-42 shootout.
Tristan Vizcaino was still the Chargers kicker at the time and while he was not dealing with an injury, the Bolts were still dealing with questionable kicking. Vizcaino had been pretty bad up to that point and even missed two extra-point attempts in this game. As a result, Brandon Staley put no faith in his kicker as the Chargers did not attempt a single field goal. They went 3-3 on fourth downs instead.
Vizcaino would last just one more week with the Chargers. Vizcaino did not attempt a field goal in Week 6 and missed his lone extra-point tie. After that, Vizcaino got the boot in favor of Hopkins, who has been the team's kicker since.
It will be interesting to see who the Chargers bring in to potentially kick but regardless of who it is, we might see a similar aggressive approach as we did last season in the Browns matchup.