Chargers are officially in tank mode as Justin Herbert injury details are revealed

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers
Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers / Harry How/GettyImages

Any hope the LA Chargers had of going on a miracle playoff run officially ended on Sunday. With a 24-7 loss to the Denver Broncos, the Chargers fell to 5-8 on the season and are all but eliminated from playoff contention.

It was a painful game for Chargers fans in attendance. In addition to the poor play on the field, fans had to watch franchise quarterback Justin Herbert go down with an injury. Herbert did not play at all in the second half of the game.

Chargers head coach Brandon Staley confirmed to media after the game that Herbert fractured his right index finger. It goes without saying that an injury to Hebert's throwing hand is quite serious.

Chargers are officially in tank mode after Justin Herbert's injury

With no real chance of making the playoffs as is, it is time that the Chargers focus on another hunt down the stretch of the 2023 season: the hunt for a top-five selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. It is unfortunate but that is the reality of the situation for the Bolts.

While Easton Stick actually looked somewhat decent out there in his one half of play, there is no reason for the Chargers to kid themselves of the reality. There is no chance of extending the season, so the team might as well optimize whatever assets it can optimize for the future.

The biggest wrench in these plans is head coach Brandon Staley. At this point, Staley might be coaching for his job and the last thing that he wants future employers to see is a team that gave up on him down the stretch. Football is inherently harder to tank at than in basketball, but there is still a way.

With Stick at quarterback, the Chargers should be extra cautious of every single injury that happens in the final four games of the season. Keenan Allen is a little bit shaken up? Let him sit out a game. Khalil Mack needs to rest? There is nothing wrong with that.

And most of all, whatever the Chargers do, they absolutely cannot rush Justin Herbert back into action this season. Not only would it hurt the team's chances of getting a top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft but it would put Herbert in a situation he really does not need to be in with no hope for the season.

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