Due to the fact that the Chargers versus Pittsburgh game is on Monday night, the team did not have to release their Week 5 injury report until today. Although it looks a little better than it did last week, there are still some concerns on the offensive line and in the secondary.
- G – Orlando Franklin (Ankle)
- WR – Stevie Johnson (Hamstring)
- CB – Craig Mager (Hamstring)
- OLB – Tourek Williams (Foot)
- LT – King Dunlap (Concussion)
- SS – Jahleel Addae (Ankle)
- CB – Brandon Flowers (Concussion)
- WR – Malcom Floyd (Concussion)
- OL – D.J. Fluker (Ankle)
- WR/KR/PR – Jacoby Jones (Ankle)
- CB – Jason Verrett (Foot)
- OL – Chris Watt (Groin)
- OL – Chris Hairston (Ankle)
Obviously, as mentioned in the title, the offensive line is still banged up and expected to be without its starting left tackle (Dunlap) and starting left guard (Franklin).
Though Watt is listed as questionable, his groin injury was initially thought to be pretty serious. If he does play, he could see time at right guard, depending on the health of Fluker, as reserve center Trevor Robinson has done a fine job in place of Watt.
Fluker has been nursing an injured ankle for the better part of a month. He has gutted out some performances as of late, but one could wonder as to whether or not it would have been wise to rest him, allowing him to fully heal.
After finishing the win over the Browns with only two available wide receivers, the Bolts are again looking at slim pickings at the wideout spot.
Stevie Johnson will miss Monday’s game with a hamstring ailment. His numbers will be difficult to replace, especially considering that Rivers looked his way quite often.
Dontrelle Inman, 25, will be pressed into action again, helping to pick up the slack for the missing Johnson, and possibly Floyd should he not be cleared to play due to a concussion suffered in the second quarter last week.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see the team promote Javontee Herndon from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Herndon could also help in the return game should Jacoby Jones not be able to go again.
Speaking of Jones, he was a limited participant in practice for the second day in a row. The 2015 free-agent acquisition has not played in a game since injuring his ankle during the Week 1 victory over the Detroit Lions. If healthy, Jones would be a welcome addition at both kick returner and punt returner.
The Chargers’ special teams unit is averaging just over 20 yards per kickoff return, while they have totaled a league-worst five punt return yards.
To put it lightly, that is beyond pathetic.
Three of the team’s four starters in the secondary are listed as questionable. Flowers, Verrett and Addae being hurt leaves only Eric Weddle as a starter that is guaranteed to play on Monday.
In the last two weeks, first Flowers in Week 3 and then Verrett in Week 4, the team’s cornerbacks came into the week listed as probable, yet, neither ended up playing in those respective weeks. Verrett was on the club’s 46-man active roster last week, but he did not even suit up, as he was in street clothes for the game. Flowers left last week’s contest with a concussion.
It goes without saying that the Bolts would be far better off if they had both Flowers and Verrett healthy and in the starting lineup. It is going to be interesting to see if the extra day off helps ensure they get back into game action.
Nickel corner Patrick Robinson has done a solid job filling in for the injured starters, proving that he was a great pickup in free agency this offseason. One can only wonder how the defensive backfield would perform if all four starters were healthy, but Robinson has made his share of impact plays during their absence.
The Chargers may not be the most-injured NFL team, but it sure seems like it. The adversity they have had to overcome has already become a bit overwhelming. It is up to the coaching staff and the veteran players to keep this team focused, concentrating on improving and stacking up wins as the season progresses, regardless of who is out there on the field.
Missing the playoffs again is not an option.
Thank you very much for reading.