3 LA Chargers who have really started to struggle down the stretch

LA Chargers
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LA Chargers Linval Joseph
LA Chargers Linval Joseph / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

1. Linval Joseph

Linval Joseph started the season on a really strong note for the LA Chargers. While the run defense has really struggled this season, Joseph was one of the bright points upfront early on in the season. He was not helped by Justin Jones being hurt and the depth being terrible, but he was having an impact.

Joseph was giving great reps against the runs and was even throwing in the situational pressure on the quarterback. The Chargers kept his snap counts in check because of his age and it seemed to be working. Even still, he feels like a veteran that the Bolts might prioritize in free agency.

However, if there are any sorts of bidders for Joseph then the team should simply let him walk. Since being put on the COVID-19 list Joseph has just not been the same and that culminated with a really poor game against the Houston Texans in which Rex Burkhead of all people slashed the Chargers. Granted, it was not all Joseph's fault, but he definitely should have been better than he was.

According to Pro Football Focus, in 10 games prior to being put on the COVID-19 list, Joseph generated 14 quarterback pressures and 21 run stops. In the three games since then, he has generated two quarterback pressures and five run stops. Sure, small sample size, but Joseph has notably not been the same player.

This happens with players over the age of 30 in the NFL. Joseph is 33 years old and we see the aging process really accelerate in the NFL. It does not happen slowly and perhaps we have witnessed Joseph being an above-average nose tackle for the last time.