Mon Sep 26 6:54pm ET
By JOE REEDY
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley watches during the first half of his team's NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Inglewood, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson, left, greets Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) after an NFL football game in Inglewood, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Joey Bosa, middle, is checked on by trainers during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Inglewood, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Reeling and wounded are two descriptions no team likes to have three weeks into the season. Yet that is the position the Los Angeles Chargers find themselves in after their worst loss in Brandon Staley's two-year tenure.
Jacksonville's 38-10 rout on Sunday not only was the Chargers' second straight defeat, but the injury list grew longer as the game wore on.
Not only does quarterback Justin Herbert's rib injury remain a concern, but offensive tackle Rashawn Slater will likely miss the rest of the season due to a torn left biceps. And linebacker Joey Bosa has what coach Brandon Staley termed a ''significant groin injury'' that will keep him sidelined a while.
The injuries come at the worst possible time for Los Angeles, which was already missing center Corey Linsley because of a knee issue, wide receiver Keenan Allen (hamstring) and cornerback J.C. Jackson (ankle). Allen is likely to return to practice this week, while the statuses of Linsley and Jackson remain undetermined.
''For injuries to happen to high-profile players like we have, it's not uncommon,'' Staley said. ''And what you've got to do is just kind of weather that storm and stay together. I think that's where we're at right now.''.
Slater's injury is the most significant and could cause some shuffling on the offensive line. Storm Norton played left tackle after Slater went out in the second half, but struggled most of last season starting at right tackle before Trey Pipkins won the job in training camp. Rookie guard Jamaree Salyer - who played tackle at the University of Georgia - could be another option.
Herbert played the entire game despite it being out of reach in the fourth quarter. Staley took plenty of criticism after the game for Herbert staying in and said it was a joint decision.
One day later, Staley said if the same situation arises, he would do a better job of communicating to Herbert that coming out would serve everyone best.
''In that moment, I don't regret how we went through that together. But I think that the lesson moving forward is just making sure that he knows that he's already done enough,'' Staley said. ''Playing in that ballgame alone shows how much Justin cares about them. And they know the type of fight that he has.''
Punter JK Scott continues to show why he was the Chargers' most underrated offseason signing. Scott's average hang time of 5.00 seconds is second in the league and has resulted in opposing returners getting only 28 yards, which is fourth least in the AFC.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The run game has been abysmal, averaging only 2.64 yards per carry, 20 of their 64 attempts this season going for no gain or negative yards and only one run going for 10 yards or more. The Jaguars made the Chargers a one-dimensional offense by holding them to zero ground yards in the first quarter and 14 in the first half despite it being a nine-point game.
With Allen sidelined for the second straight game, Joshua Palmer stepped up with six receptions for 99 yards. Palmer's best catch came on the last play of the third quarter, when he beat Jaguars CB Andre Cisco on a crossing route and went 45 yards up the left sideline before being pushed out of bounds at the Jaguars'
The pass rush was non-existent against the Jaguars. Besides generating no sacks, Trevor Lawrence felt pressure on only five of 39 dropbacks and was hurried three times. Khalil Mack had no pressures after having nine, including 3 1/2 sacks, in the first two games.
WR Jalen Guyton, who had a 54-yard reception on a third-quarter drive that set up a field goal, is also lost for the season due to a torn ACL. The injury happened late in the fourth quarter.
7 - The number of times since 2013 the Chargers have started 1-2. The only saving grace for Bolts fans at the moment is that the last two playoff trips in 2013 and '18 occurred after they dropped two of their first three games.
The Chargers hit the road the next two weeks, beginning Sunday against Houston. The Texans have won three of the last four, including 41-29 in Week 16 last season that was part of a stretch during which the Chargers dropped three of their final four to miss the playoffs.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (ankle, back) is not in the league's concussion protocol on Monday, according to head coach Mike McDaniel, although he was listed as DNP at practice Monday. The NFL is reviewing their concussion protocol after Tagovailoa was allowed back in the Week 3 win over the Buffalo Bills after appearing extremely wobbly on the field. The 24-year-old is reportedly dealing with a sore ankle and back following the divisional clash, and his status could be in question with a quick turnaround on Thursday night this week against the Cincinnati Bengals. A week after throwing for six touchdowns, Tagovailoa came back to Earth, throwing for under 200 yards and just one score on Sunday. He should be considered questionable to play against the Bengals this week, for now. If he can't go, the Dolphins would turn to backup Teddy Bridgewater.
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell said that running back D'Andre Swift (shoulder, ankle) could miss time with a shoulder injury he suffered in the Week 3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings and that Swift might benefit from having time off while healing up after the team's Week 6 bye. It would mean that Swift would miss the next two games against the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. Swift played only 41 percent of the snaps on Sunday and carried the ball seven times for 31 yards while adding three catches for 15 yards. Jamaal Williams played 45 percent of the snaps and had a season-high 20 carries for 87 yards and two touchdowns. Swift is highly questionable to play in Week 4 against Seattle, while Williams will be a priority waiver-wire addition this week.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (ankle) will be good to go for Thursday night's game against the Miami Dolphins in Week 3 after his ankle was nicked up in the Week 3 win over the New York Jets, according to head coach Zac Taylor. Mixon has been a huge disappointment for fantasy managers through three weeks, carrying the ball 58 times for 163 yards (career-worst 2.8 yards per carry) and no touchdowns while catching 13 passes for 103 yards. It hasn't been the start that fantasy managers envisioned, but Mixon will remain the team's lead back heading into the matchup against the 3-0 Dolphins on Thursday. Miami's defense has allowed 116 yards per game on the ground so far, so perhaps Mixon will finally make some noise this week.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell said that running back Dalvin Cook (shoulder) is day-to-day with the shoulder injury that he suffered in the Week 3 win over the Detroit Lions. Cook dislocated his shoulder on Sunday, an injury that he's dealt with in the past. The 27-year-old is expected to wear a harness and could play in Week 4 against the New Orleans Saints in London. However, fantasy managers should consider him questionable for that contest. He carried the ball 17 times for 96 yards and a touchdown in the win over Detroit, but he wasn't targeted in the passing game. Alexander Mattison also had a rushing score and would become a must-start in fantasy lineups if Cook is out in Week 4. Mattison is currently rostered in only 55% of Yahoo leagues.
Dynasty | Falcons head coach Arthur Smith said the team is not down on receiver Bryan Edwards Dynasty Analysis: Coach Smith simply said the team is trying to get a look at some other players while Edwards was inactive in Sunday's contest against the Seahawks. If Edwards isn't in the doghouse, he's obviously just waiting for a vacancy as we doubt his one reception for two yards across two games is generating much intrigue. Edwards played 35 snaps in week one followed by a meager 16 in week two before being deactivated in week three so the trend doesn't bode well for a mid-season resurgence. Now found as DLF's WR96, he's in danger of falling completely from the dynasty radar in the coming weeks.
Dynasty | Bucs head coach Todd Bowles said receiver Julio Jones should be available for week four despite a partially torn PCL Dynasty Analysis: Quarterback Tom Brady can use all the help he can get after a lackluster loss vs. the Packers in week three. Missing Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones, the GOAT struggled to find any offensive rhythm in the loss while the available receivers did little to help the cause. With Evans returning from suspension in week four, as long as Jones does suit up, things should be looking up in short order, especially as Chris Godwin nears a return of his own. As for Jones, it remains to see how productive the 33-year-old can be in his second game with the team following a 69 yards on 3-of-5 receiving in week one. Advancing age and persistent injury now seem to be the only consistency for DLF's WR84. Julio Jones is a hold only for competitive dynasty teams.
Dynasty | Lions running back D'Andre Swift suffered a shoulder sprain in week three and could miss some time. Dynasty Analysis: At this juncture the injury doesn't appear to require surgery but the back could miss multiple weeks. After a 15/144/1 outburst in week one, Swift was looking like a true cornerstone running back to start the season but followed-on with five carries in week two and seven carries in week three, before exiting with the injury. Already sporting a somewhat troubling injury history, Swift has already shown enough to warrant a lofty RB2 value on DLF's running back rankings but yet another injury could threaten his status. As long as Swift returns from the injury quickly, all can be forgiven but an extended absence or follow-on injury is certain to drop his dynasty ranking.
Dynasty | With the news of Lions running back D'Andre Swift potentially sidelined due to a shoulder sprain, Jamaal Williams could be starting. Dynasty Analysis: Williams has garnered 43 carries over the first three weeks, turning them into 168 yards and four touchdowns. Already showing as one of the better RBBC tandems, should Swift miss games, Detroit would seem to be in good hands with Williams leading the way while Craig Reynolds moves to his immediate backup. Williams, a 27-year-old veteran has never seen more than 153 attempts (2017 & 2021) and should have RB2 upside until Swift returns. He's listed as DLF's RB50 and is a starting candidate in all dynasty formats.
Dynasty | New England quarterback Mac Jones suffered a high ankle sprain in the Patriots loss to the Ravens on Sunday. Dynasty Analysis: Jones hurt his ankle on the last play of the game and it capped off a pretty underwhelming performance that featured him completing 22-of-32 passes 321 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions. On the year, Jones now has a TD:INT ratio of just 2:5. High ankle sprains take time to heal and it's likely Jones is going to be out a few weeks, leaving this un-explosive offense in the hands of Brian Hoyer. Jones has mostly been a victim of circumstance and lack of talent in his two years, but his ranking of QB20 may be a touch too high at this point.
Dynasty | Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has avoided the league's concussion protocol. Dynasty Analysis: Wait. What!?! Anyone who saw Tua hit his head on the field, then wobble repeatedly as he tried to walk to the huddle is having a hard time believing his injury is to his back, as reported. Still, the Dolphins are claiming his back just locked up on him and that his injury had nothing to do with his head. We'll wait and see what the NFL investigation shows, but at this point, it looks like our dynasty QB16 escaped serious injury.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Rachaad White could be in line for more touches moving forward. Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles said the team "has to play" more White and Key'Shawn Vaughn more. Vaughn has yet to play an offensive snap for Tampa Bay, so the fantasy relevance of this news is geared toward White. For now, White shouldn't be started in fantasy lineups, but perhaps he'll have some standalone value. It's tough to trust just what coaches say, so this is a backfield to monitor over the next few games.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been trending after he was seen getting up wobbly from a hit against the Buffalo Bills, and Dolphins' head coach Mike McDaniel said he's also dealing with a sore ankle. Since Miami has a quick turnaround against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football, this is worth monitoring. McDaniel said he can't say for sure Tua will play, so this could be a close call up to kickoff. If Tagovailoa is active, he's at risk for a bust performance, but his upside remains high in what could be a high-scoring affair with a ton of offensive talent on each side.
Tests have confirmed that New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (ankle) suffered a "pretty severe" high-ankle sprain in the Week 3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, according to sources. The hope is that Jones won't need surgery. His timetable is still to be determined, but it's hard to imagine he'll play in Week 4 against the Green Bay Packers. Fantasy managers running with the 24-year-old second-year signal-caller in two-QB leagues will need to find another option for at least the next couple of weeks and possibly longer. Jones threw for 321 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions on 32 attempts on Sunday in the loss to Baltimore. Thirty-six-year-old veteran Brian Hoyer is now in line to start against the Packers this Sunday, making Green Bay's defense/special teams unit extremely attractive as a fantasy streamer.
Los Angeles Chargers Pro Bowl left tackle Rashawn Slater (biceps) suffered a ruptured left biceps tendon in the Week 3 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and is expected to miss the rest of the season, according to a source. It's a brutal loss for the offensive line and the Chargers offense as a whole, especially with quarterback Justin Herbert playing through a painful ribs injury that he suffered in the Week 2 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Slater was the team's first-round pick in 2021 and made the Pro Bowl in his first NFL season. The Chargers may be forced to turn to Storm Norton to protect Herbert's blind side moving forward, which could cause plenty of protection issues, starting in Week 4 against the Houston Texans.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said that All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams (ankle) likely suffered a high-ankle sprain when he was injured in the second half of the team's 11-10 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday night. Williams refused to be taken off the field on a cart and limped off the field instead. If he indeed has a high-ankle sprain, he will miss some time as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's blind-side protector. Williams is regarded as the best left tackle in the NFL, and the Broncos defense smothered Garoppolo with pressure with the game on the line late in the fourth quarter with Williams out of the game. Jimmy G could be running for his life more often moving forward without Williams, starting in a Week 4 divisional matchup with the Super Bowl-champion Los Angeles Rams.
Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker (Achilles), who had been impressive through two weeks, is believed to have suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the Week 3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. If it's confirmed, it would knock him out for the season, according to sources. Fantasy managers in IDP leagues that had been running with the 27-year-old as their defensive back will obviously need to go in another direction for the rest of the year. Walker will finish 2022 with a sack, 20 tackles (11 solo) and a pass defensed in three games played. Kerby Joseph is expected to take over for Walker moving forward. It's bad news for a Lions defense that has allowed 265.7 passing yards per game through the first three weeks.
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh said he's expecting quarterback Zach Wilson (knee) to make his season debut in Week 4 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but doctors will have the final say. Wilson could be cleared as early as Monday, and when that happens, he'll take his starting job back from veteran Joe Flacco. Flacco threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and was sacked four times in the Week 3 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Wilson suffered a meniscus tear and bone bruise in his right knee in the preseason opener and hasn't played since after having arthroscopic surgery on Aug. 16. Expect the 23-year-old to need to shake off some rust, making him nothing more than a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues if he makes his debut this week.
New York Giants wide receiver Kenny Golladay is expected to be active for the Monday night game against the Dallas Cowboys, but the Giants could look to trade him in the near future. The only way a trade is probably possible is if the Giants pay the bulk of his contract in exchange for a late-round pick. Sources say Golladay has been great inside the building, but he played just two offensive snaps in last week's win over the Carolina Panthers and has just two catches for 22 yards through two games. If the 28-year-old becomes more disgruntled with his lack of playing time, the Giants may be forced to make a move. A release would be a last resort. He had just 37 catches for 521 yards an no touchdowns in 2021 and he's rostered in only 10 percent of Yahoo leagues as of Monday.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz (knee) traveled with the team and plans to test his knee before the Monday night game against the New York Giants, according to a source. However, it sounds unlikely that he'll play. Wide receiver Michael Gallup (knee) is also expected to be inactive in Week 3, according to a source. His return from ACL reconstruction will have to wait at least another week. With Schultz out, rookie Jake Ferguson should have a much bigger role in the passing game on Monday night. Gallup was able to practice in full all week, but the Cowboys aren't rushing him back, especially since Noah Brown has stepped up nicely as the team's No. 2 receiver behind CeeDee Lamb in the first two weeks.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (illness), who missed two practices this week with an illness, is good to go for the Week 3 game against the division-rival New York Giants on Monday night. Parsons was limited in Saturday's practice, putting him on track to suit up this week. The 23-year-old reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year already has four sacks, nine tackles (eight solo), four tackles for loss and seven QB hits through the first two weeks of the 2022 season. He has quickly become a must-start linebacker in IDP fantasy formats, and he could have a huge game on Monday night against a shaky Giants offensive line.