3 young Chargers who must get more playing time with playoffs out of reach

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JT Woods

JT Woods has been out for most of the season as he was placed on the non-football injury list after Week 3. Woods finally made his return off the list prior to Week 14 but he did not dress in the game against the Broncos as he was a healthy scratch.

Even before he was put on the list he was not getting much playing time in Brandon Staley's defense. Woods played just 28% of the team's defensive snaps in the first three weeks of the season behind Alohi Gilman and Derwin James.

Staley has been moving James around the defense more as he has been struggling in his traditional two-high safety defense. It has been the worst season of Derwin's career, so moving him around (or even giving him more breaks) is not the worst thing in the world.

Alohi Gilman has made some big plays this season but overall he is just a serviceable safety. He is in the last year of his contract and with the Chargers way over the cap next season already, he may be guaranteed to leave in the offseason.

With all that under consideration, it is time for the Chargers to give Woods playing time to see how he has progressed. After all, the Chargers spent a third-round pick on Woods in 2022 and the team can only protect him for so long.

If Woods plays well in the last four weeks then there will be something to build on next season. If he struggles like he has in the past then the Chargers will at least have a better idea of where he stands without getting burned in meaningful games.

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