Justin Herbert suffered fractured rib cartilage in Week 2's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football. His status has been up in the air since, with recent betting line movement indicating that he might not play in Week 3 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Brandon Staley confirmed on Friday that Chase Daniel would get the start if Herbert could not play. Herbert was listed as questionable in Week 3 with the plan being that he will work out before the game, and if he feels good, he will play.
The Chargers are dealing with more injury bad luck as J.C. Jackson and Corey Linsley were both listed as doubtful. Keenan Allen, Donald Parham and Trey Pipkins are also listed as questionable. There is a situation in which the Chargers could be without four of their six most important players on the entire roster.
The most important is Herbert as even with the other deficiencies, he puts the Chargers over the top against the Jaguars. However, if Herbert does not play, it is going to be really ugly for the Bolts. While we know fans want to hear optimistic news, we have to be realistic about the situation.
If Justin Herbert does not play, the Chargers will easily lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The term easily might seem a bit harsh but it is really hard to see how the Chargers could put together a winning game plan against the Jaguars without Justin Herbert. Sure, the defense being as good as it is will keep it looking close on paper, but with Daniel under center the Chargers are never going to be in control of this game.
Let's rewind back to that Thursday Night Football game. Remember how poorly the offense played in the second half without Keenan Allen, Corey Linsley and Trey Pipkins? Sure, they scored 14 points, but the offense obviously was not the same and was not moving the ball like it should have.
Now just imagine that same exact offense but with Chase Daniel under center. It is a disaster. Sure, fans can be optimistic about Herbert, but we have to be honest with ourselves. This is almost as big of a drop-off as you can have. The team would be going from a top-three QB in the league to someone who wouldn't start on any of the 32 NFL teams.
Some would point to the run game as a source of offense for the Chargers. The problem here is the Chargers have been bad at running the ball thus far this year and the Jaguars have been great at stopping the run. Jacksonville ranks third in run defense DVOA thus far this year and has a nasty front line that will expose a hurt Chargers' O-line.
At some point, the rubber meets the road and you have to score points. Unless the defense can essentially shut out the Jaguars and score a defensive touchdown, it is hard to see a situation in which the Chargers score enough points in this game to beat Jacksonville.
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If Justin Herbert does not play it is going to be ugly. As much as that sucks to admit, it is the reality of the situation.