With a 1-2 record and multiple key injuries, the Los Angeles Chargers appear to be in a world of trouble right now.
One of their injured key players is quarterback Justin Herbert, who is dealing with fractured rib cartilage that has been causing him pain and discomfort.
While he deserves credit for gutting it out and not using his injury as an excuse, some feel the Chargers should’ve sat him out of their blowout loss on Sunday to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In that contest, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, the grandson of legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi, was conservative with his play-calling in an attempt to protect and conserve Herbert.
But Herbert is feeling better now, so much so that he was a full participant in practice on Thursday.
As a result, Lombardi says he will be more willing to up the tempo of the game and let Herbert be Herbert.
#Chargers OC Joe Lombardi said he was probably a little cautious early on Sunday with so many unknowns with Herbert’s injury.
Says he should have been more willing to push the pace, and said that won’t be a problem going forward.
— Eric Smith (@Eric_L_Smith) September 29, 2022
The Bolts will take on the Houston Texans in Texas on Sunday.
Los Angeles’ Offense Was Poor In Week 3
In the 38-10 loss to the Jaguars last Sunday, the Chargers’ offense was about as high-powered as an Apple IIe computer.
They scored just one touchdown and had a grand total of only 312 yards of offense, and only 26 of them came from their running game.
Traditionally, NFL teams would use their running game to open up their passing game.
But in the modern era, the reverse can often be true.
Mike Williams was targeted six times but caught only one of those passes for 15 yards.
Herbert does his best when he gets into an up-tempo rhythm and is allowed to push the ball down the field.
Based on what Lombardi said, he will allow the third-year man to do more of that in Week 4.
However, there will be two major impediments to L.A.’s attempts to speed up the tempo of its offense.
Two Of The Chargers’ Wide Receivers Are Injured
Justin Guyton, who had 64 yards on Sunday, suffered a torn ACL late in the game and will miss the rest of the season.
He is the closest thing the Bolts have to a true speed threat at the wideout position.
In addition, Keenan Allen, their top wideout, is still trying to make his way back from a hamstring injury he sustained during their Week 1 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.
He took part in practice on Thursday, but he left early.
#Chargers WR Keenan Allen just left practice with a trainer. He’s been dealing with a hamstring injury.
— Jeff Miller (@JeffMillerLAT) September 29, 2022
Luckily, this Sunday L.A. will be playing the Texans, a team that is winless and is struggling to stop the run.
They rank last in rushing yards allowed and 29th in total yards allowed.
So the Bolts should be able to gain an ample amount of yardage on the ground while drawing Houston’s secondary closer to the line of scrimmage to open up more of a passing game.
Houston is struggling even more on offense, which should give the Chargers’ limping defense a bit of a respite.