Chargers news: Postseason hero, fan favorite could be benched in 2023

This is not the kind of roster news that Chargers fans were expecting at the start of training camp.
May 12, 2023; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley speaks to his players
May 12, 2023; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley speaks to his players / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LA Chargers training camp officially begins this week to welcome back the NFL season. After six long months of fans festering in a horrible postseason loss, the Chargers will restart the journey toward winning the first Super Bowl in franchise history.

Fans still have to wait another six weeks until the Bolts are officially back in action but there is still plenty to learn during training camp. It serves as the official preview for the 2023 season with roster battles being front and center.

Some roster battles are easy to predict while others can be a bit surprising. That is certainly the case for the cornerback position in LA as the Chargers are loaded with talent and someone may naturally be left out of the starting 11.

And to the surprise of many, the player that may ultimately be left out is postseason hero Asante Samuel Jr. This all hinges on J.C. Jackson being healthy but if he is, it appears that fans will see Samuel in a rotational role off the bench in 2023 (h/t Daniel Popper, The Athletic).

Chargers news: Asante Samuel Jr. could be benched in favor of J.C. Jackson, Ja'Sir Taylor

Taylor would be joining Michael Davis and J.C. Jackson as the starting corners in the defense if this were to happen, leaving Samuel on the bench.

This definitely comes as a massive surprise to many after the great sophomore season that Samuel had. While Samuel was far from perfect as a cornerback, he took a huge step in his second season and had one of the best defensive playoff games in franchise history against the Jaguars.

As surprising as it is, this is a good problem to have. It is always great for an NFL team to have too many deserving players on the roster, leading to someone naturally getting left out. The hope here is that Samuel won't take it personally and that Staley and the Chargers are able to carve out a rotation that makes sense.

This very well could be a matchup thing for the Bolts as well. Taylor is a far better run defender than Samuel and against teams with respectable running attacks, he could get the start. However, pass-heavy teams with bad run games may prompt Staley to give Samuel the lion share of the star snaps instead.

Plus, the biggest variable in this equation is Jackson. Not only does Jackson have to be healthy but he actually has to be playing well. If he is struggling then Staley should not hesitate in giving Samuel far more snaps than Jackson, regardless of how much he costs.