It has been a challenging start to the season for the Los Angeles Chargers. On Monday, they announced that left tackle Rashawn Slater would be out for the season with a bicep injury. They placed him on IR Wednesday.
Chargers coach Brandon Staley announced that edge rusher Joey Bosa is headed to the IR with Slater. He is having surgery on a torn groin that he suffered during Sunday’s 38-10 loss to Jacksonville.
“We expect him to return this season,” Staley said. “It’s going to be a ways, but we expect him to come back. I know that he’s optimistic and ready to attack it.”
Since being drafted in 2016, Bosa has been a disrupter for the Chargers defense. He has sacked the opposing quarterback 59.5 in 82 games. The organization was excited to team him up with Khalil Mack, but for now, that will stand at three games together with 5.5 combined sacks.
“The good news is that we’re going to get him back at some point this year,” Staley explained. “The good news is that we do have Khalil Mack. That’s the thing about building a team, you want to build a team that can withstand the NFL because that’s part of it. Our team is going to rally together. We’re going to have to make some adjustments, but I think we definitely have the guys to make adjustments with.”
This injury could put Bosa out until the back end of the season, which means the Chargers will need players to step up in his absence. Mack is the veteran of the group having 80.5 sacks in 120 games.
“It’s a tough loss for our defense, for our team,” safety Derwin James said. “Joey means a lot to us. [He’s] a guy that we count on and we’re definitely going to miss him out there, but it’s on us to have his back and hold things down until he gets situated.”
The team will look toward second-year player Chris Rumph.
“The standard doesn’t drop off,” Rumph said. “The things you’d expect out of Joey, I expect from myself.”
He was drafted in the fourth round in 2021 and is the son of an NFL coach. His father, Chris Rumph, worked with Mack on the Chicago Bears. Mack has worked out with Rumph, so there is familiarity there.
For the young pass rusher, this is a chance to grow and establish himself as another edge rusher who can help disrupt the opposing quarterback.
“I look at as an opportunity to establish myself to show these coaches that they can count on me when things like this happens,” Rumph said.
Rumph came in as a slender edge rusher and was challenged to put on weight. He had a strong preseason and training camp, so now it is about putting it all together.
“A lot of growth,” James said. “He is stronger. He is weighing more. I used to always pick on him all of the time and tell him he is a DB. That’s like my little brother. I love him a lot. I used to always say, ‘Man, you’re a DB.’ He’s come back this year, he’s stronger. He’s got his weight on and he’s more confident. He’s going to help us, too.”
Staley did add that they will be using Kyle Van Noy to rush the passer along with Derrek Tuszka, whom they just claimed off waivers from the Tennessee Titans. He is familiar with the Chargers system, having played for the Denver Broncos in the past.
“He played special teams at both Denver and Pittsburgh,” Staley said. “He comes from a great program at North Dakota State, the Bison. He fits that edge rusher that we’re looking for, that type of player. Looking forward to getting him here and adding him to the group.”
Nuts N’ Bolts
- Chargers injury report for Wednesday. Limited: QB Justin Herbert (ribs), WR Keenan Allen (hamstring), CB J.C. Jackson (ankle), C Corey Linsley (knee), TE Donald Parham (hamstring). Full: DT Austin Johnson (shoulder).