It is that time of the week again, Chargers fans. The team has released its weekly injury report.
Some of the “usual suspects” find their names listed as out or questionable, but there is one new addition that is sure to change the way the defense runs its game plan on Sunday.
CB – Craig Mager (Hamstring)
OLB – Tourek Williams (Foot)
FS – Eric Weddle (Groin)
ILB – Manti Te’o (Ankle)
WR – Keenan Allen (Hip)
LT – King Dunlap (Concussion)
TE – Antonio Gates (Knee)
RB – Melvin Gordon (Ankle)
OL – Chris Hairston (Ankle)
WR – Stevie Johnson (Hamstring)
OL – Chris Watt (Groin)
SS – Jahleel Addae (Back)
OLB – Kyle Emanuel (Shoulder)
OL – D.J. Fluker (Ankle)
OG – Orlando Franklin (Ankle)
That places 15 players on the injury report for Week 7.
Free safety Eric Weddle will miss his first start since 2009. The three-time All-Pro is arguably the best player on the Chargers’ defense. It goes without saying that he will be missed, and his absence puts a lot of pressure on all of his fellow members of the secondary.
With Te’o listed as doubtful, it appears that rookie Denzel Perryman will get his second-consecutive start. Last week in his first start of the season, Perryman led the defense with eight total tackles and a forced fumble.
Due to the absences of Weddle and Te’o, it will be interesting to see which defender receives the green-dot helmet used as the defense’s communication device to the sideline with defensive coordinator John Pagano.
In what I believe is the most disheartening news on the injury report, both Antonio Gates and Keenan Allen are listed as questionable. Having just come back from a four-game suspension, Gates has had back-to-back nine reception contests, adding two touchdowns. Allen has continued to shred opposing defenses, leading the league in receptions (53) while standing at third in receiving yards (601).
Early reports are stating that Allen is likely to play despite his questionable status. Gates, however, does not appear to be in the same boat, as many fear that he may end up missing Sunday’s game against the hated Raiders.
Sticking with weapons being at the disposal of quarterback Philip Rivers, wide receiver Stevie Johnson is in jeopardy of missing his third game in a row. That being said, after being a limited participant on both Wednesday and Thursday, he was a full-go in Friday’s practice.
Prior to suffering a hamstring injury, Johnson was proving to be a reliable target for Rivers in the passing game.
The offensive line appears to be getting left guard Orlando Franklin back this week. Though he was struggling a bit to get acclimated to the blocking schemes in San Diego, he will be a welcome addition to the starting lineup. Fluker, like Franklin, is listed as probable and he will be starting next to right tackle Joe Barksdale — the only opening-day starter to start every game this season.
Rookie running back Melvin Gordon is making his first appearance on the 2015 injury report. He suffered an ankle injury during last week’s loss to the Packers. I feel his pride may be in worse shape than his ankle, as he fumbled twice, losing one, and was also denied a touchdown for the sixth consecutive game.
All in all, the injury report has lengthened but it seems as though the team is getting healthier along the offensive line. The offense is still struggling to open up any semblance of a hole in the running game, but has done an impressive job of keeping Rivers clean in the passing game. Getting some starters back should help in both areas.
The defense will be worth keeping an eye on this week, seeing as Weddle is out and Te’o will be joining him in street clothes come Sunday. This situation provides a great opportunity for some of the reserve defenders to come n and make their mark, showing they deserve more playing time.
It is imperative that this team finds a way to get healthy as it enters the more favorable part of their schedule. With the exception of Denver, not one team left on the docket has a winning record.
Coach Mike McCoy and company have their work cut out for them. Now is the time for the coaching staff to prove that they are better than their 2-4 record shows.