The outlook for the Los Angeles Chargers was as sunny as a summer day in Southern California when this season started, but now a dark cumulonimbus cloud is seemingly building and towering over them.
If they don’t start to rectify things and string together victories, that thundercloud could spawn a tornado.
The Chargers are currently 1-2, as they’re still picking up the wreckage from their stunning 38-10 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
There are plenty of concerns to go around, but they start with injuries.
Superstar quarterback Justin Herbert is gutting it out with fractured rib cartilage and top wide receiver Keenan Allen is trying to return after missing the last two games with a hamstring problem.
Additionally, cornerback J.C. Jackson is back on the shelf after undergoing ankle surgery a month ago.
But the news has grown worse for the Bolts.
Pass rusher Joey Bosa suffered a groin injury during the loss to Jacksonville.
On Wednesday, head coach Brandon Staley said he would undergo surgery, as it has been discovered he has a tear in his groin.
Chargers DE Joey Bosa (groin) to undergo surgery and will be placed on IR. pic.twitter.com/A8LVidnRN8
— NFL (@NFL) September 28, 2022
Staley said he expects Bosa to return before the end of the season.
But this is still another blow to a team that many considered championship contenders just a couple of weeks ago.
The Chargers’ Defense Is Under Siege
Last season, Los Angeles’ weak defense was perhaps the biggest reason it missed the playoffs.
During the offseason, general manager Tom Telesco aggressively looked to turn it into a strength.
He brought in Khalil Mack to give Bosa a pass-rushing companion on the front seven, while Jackson, who made the Pro Bowl last season and led the NFL in passes defended, was signed to bolster the secondary.
But now, what looked to be perhaps an elite defense on paper has been seriously weakened.
Bosa’s numbers so far this season may not look eye-popping, but he has continued to be a mainstay of the Chargers.
In three contests, he has totaled 1.5 sacks, seven tackles (five solo), four QB hits, and two tackles for loss.
His absence will mean L.A. won’t be able to pressure opposing signal-caller from multiple angles.
Without him, Kyle Van Noy will have to pick up the slack as his replacement at outside linebacker.
The Bolts currently rank 20th in passing yards allowed, 25th in passing touchdowns allowed, and 29th in points allowed.
Those numbers need to improve big time if they’re to get their season back on track and not only make the playoffs but make some noise there.
Mack’s Acquisition Could Be A Lifesaver
Los Angeles traded two draft picks to the Chicago Bears for Mack in March, and looking at his production so far this season, it’s easy to see why.
He has four sacks, three of which came in the season opener versus the Las Vegas Raiders, 13 tackles (11 solo), four tackles for loss, and five QB hits in three contests.
Most sacks in the NFL this season
Alex Highsmith 4.5
Micah Parsons 4.0
Nick Bosa 4.0
Jerry Hughes 4.0
Khalil Mack 4.0
Deatrich Wise Jr 4.0 pic.twitter.com/Rjk6sy2Y8J
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) September 27, 2022
He was limited to just seven games last year due to a foot injury that required surgery, but even if Mack is just 80 percent of what he was in his 20s, he will continue to be a massive help for the Chargers.
Quickest Pass Rush Get-Off this season:
Myles Garrett 0.63 sec
Joey Bosa 0.75 sec
Trey Hendrickson 0.77 sec
Khalil Mack 0.78 sec
Micah Parsons 0.78 sec pic.twitter.com/6MzlTxKSDf
— Pinhead Sports® (@_PinheadSports) September 22, 2022
Meanwhile, linebacker Drue Tranquill could be having a breakout season.
As well, second-year cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. looks like he has taken a step forward.
If the Bolts band together and get an upset win or two over the next several weeks while winning the contests they’re supposed to, they could come out of their current adversity in one piece.NEXT: There Is Good News On The Injury Front For The Chargers