First it was Keenan Allen. Then it was Mike Williams, the Chargers’ first-round draft pick at wide receiver. Now it seems the injury bug has bitten Forrest Lamp, the guard whom Los Angeles picked in the second round in April.
According to Adam Schefter, Lamp is expected to be lost for the 2017-2018 season by way of a torn ACL. This comes after reports surfaced that Mike Williams might require season-ending surgery on a herniated disk in his back.
Just this past season, a majority of the injury woes for the Bolts began as early as training camp. The first day wide receiver Javontee Herndon injured his left knee. Then Stevie Johnson injured his right knee on the second day. According to an article by the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Chargers lost a player to a season-ending injury during nine of their first 11 games in 2016. That is about as unlucky as one team could possibly get.
The financial repercussions of having so many players injured, or on injured reserve (IR), is a burden that is surely not a welcomed sight.
For example, through Week 14 of the 2016 regular season, the Chargers had 18 players on IR. Unfortunately for the Bolts, the players still counted against the team’s allotted cap space. This added up to a total of approximately $29.3 million. This meant the team still had to pay the players although they were all out with season-ending injuries.
AGL, or Adjusted Games Lost by injured players, was historically bad in 2016. According to statistics by Football Outsiders, the Chargers were the second-worst NFL team in this category last season. The average AGL in 2016 was 76.1, and the Chargers far exceeded that figure at 127.8. This was a slight regression from their mark of 81.5 the previous season, which ranked 26th.
Amidst all of the recent injuries the Chargers have endured, there is a positive spin here.
According to NFL Injury Report, cornerback Jason Verrett (knee) could come off the Physically Unable to Perform list by the end of this week. In adddition, Melvin Gordon (knee) has looked healthy to start training camp.
On paper, the Los Angeles Chargers look like a darkhorse candidate to squeak into the playoffs. On offense, the Bolts have talent all over the field. This includes wide receiver, running back, offensive line, and most importantly, stability at the quarterback position with Philip Rivers. Rivers is in the middle of a 176-game streak of regular-season games started.
On defense, the Chargers return impact players at all three levels who missed time last year with injuries.
Lastly, Los Angeles lost so many close games last year that they’re almost bound to improve this next season. According to an article by ESPN, the Bolts were 1-8 in games decided by seven points or less. Look further into their 5-11 record and one will see the Chargers were close to potentially being 9-7. This includes four games they either led or were tied with the ball at the 2-minute mark in the fourth quarter.
They went on to lose all four of them.
Those are typically stats that change from year-to-year, which is a good sign for the Chargers. If they can prevent further injuries, they have the talent to do some damage in the AFC West.