Prior to the acquisition of inside linebacker Joe Mays, the Chargers had three healthy players at the position on the 53-man roster (Donald Butler, Kavell Conner and Nick Dzubnar).
Third-year backer Manti Te’o has missed two consecutive games nursing an ankle injury, opening the door for this offseason’s second-round draft pick, Denzel Perryman.
The former Hurricane had started two games in place of Te’o, only to exit Sunday’s loss with a strained pectoral muscle.
It is being said that the team is taking it day-to-day with his injury status.
Initially, it was feared to be much worse than a strain for Perryman.
Trailing only free safety Eric Weddle for the team lead in tackles, the loss of Te’o is additionally significant due to the fact that he was wearing the defense’s “communicator,” the green-dot helmet, relaying calls to his teammates.
In Te’o’s first game missed, Weddle resumed the distinction after being the only safety in the NFL to do so in 2014.
Lo and behold, Weddle would suffer a groin injury in the fourth quarter of the Chargers’ loss to the Packers and miss Week 7, forcing John Pagano’s unit to hand over the defensive signal relay to Donald Butler.
To say that the former third-round selection, Butler, has been a disappointment this year is an understatement.
Despite all of the total tackles that Manti has accumulated during his time on the field in 2015, his missed tackles and poor angles in pursuit are what is being talked about by the masses. Though he seems to be in proper position to make a play more often than not, he has struggled to wrap up and stop ball carriers in their tracks, giving up more yards after contact than any other player on the team.
With no timetable for return truly set for either Te’o or Perryman, the signing of Mays makes sense. The team needs bodies at the position, and the former Jet, Chief, Texan, Bronco and Eagle can do just that.
Mays had an opportunity to sign with the Chargers this offseason but decided to take a chance with the Jets, who cut him prior to the beginning of the 2015 regular season. The 30-year-old was unable to make it past the Jets’ final cuts.
The contract for Mays will certainly be team-friendly. But it also shows that the club might be concerned about how long Te’o and Perryman may be out.
Sitting at a 2-5 record and in last place of the AFC West division, the time to put up or shut up is officially here.
Mays may not see much time on defense, but he does have experience on special teams, which the team will need in the absence of Perryman, who has excelled in the third phase of the game as a rookie.
That injury bug should go ahead and beat the Bolts to Los Angeles, because I am sick of it chilling out and setting up shop in America’s finest city.