One of the most anticipated, if not the most anticipated, seasons in Los Angeles Chargers season is just hours away from getting underway.
They will face the Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium on Sunday at 1:25 P.M. Pacific Time, and it is sure to be something of a grudge match between two old AFC West rivals who battled down to the wire in Week 18 last season.
Unfortunately for the Chargers, they’re likely to be shorthanded for this contest.
Jackson had ankle surgery a couple of weeks ago, while Parham has a hamstring issue.
Chargers TE Donald Parham Jr. and CB JC Jackson are doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Raiders.
— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) September 9, 2022
If the Bolts are without both men, they could be hard-pressed to come away with a win in what will be a very important game.
Jackson Is Slated To Play A Huge Role
Last season, Los Angeles missed the playoffs by the slimmest of margins, despite having an elite quarterback in Justin Herbert and potent offensive weapons in wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and running back Austin Ekeler.
The main culprit: their defense.
The Chargers ranked 22nd in forced interceptions, 23rd in total yards allowed, 28th in first downs allowed and 29th in points allowed.
They brought in some significant reinforcements for their front seven, but the secondary also needed help.
That’s where Jackson comes into play.
The 26-year-old is one of the NFL’s best young cornerbacks, and he led the league in passes defended last year while earning his first Pro Bowl bid.
As a rookie in 2018, he had the good fortune of playing on a Super Bowl championship team as a member of the New England Patriots, a type of experience that money simply cannot buy.
The Raiders now possess Davante Adams, quite possibly the best wideout in football, and if Jackson isn’t able to line up opposite him on Sunday, he could very well bludgeon the Chargers.
In that scenario, L.A. will need to step up its pressure on the line of scrimmage and not let Derek Carr get comfortable spotting his receivers downfield while also preventing running back Josh Jacobs from taking advantage.
The Good News
Just because Jackson is listed as doubtful doesn’t mean he definitely won’t play.
There are indications that he will end up being a game-time decision on Sunday.
"He's out there doing a lot of DB drills on his own…he's going to go again tomorrow and then he will go again pregame and we will see what happens."
Brandon Staley update on JC Jackson.
He says the wound is healed, now it's about ramping him up.
— Bridget Condon (@BridgetCondon_) September 9, 2022
Keep in mind that this was more of a procedure to fix lingering discomfort in his ankle than a legitimate injury.
At the same time, if Parham is unable to play, it may not be a huge deal, as he is listed as the team’s TE2 behind Gerald Everett.
Everett was signed by the Chargers in March to replace Jared Cook, who wasn’t retained after last season.
As a member of the Seattle Seahawks last year, Everett had 478 yards and four touchdowns, and he spent his prior four seasons with the Los Angeles Rams.