It’s early in the 2022 NFL season, but it is already looking like a frustrating and disappointing season for the Los Angeles Chargers.
After getting unexpectedly blown out on Sunday by the Jacksonville Jaguars, they hold a dismal 1-2 record.
But even worse than that is their growing list of injured key players.
Meanwhile, top wide receiver Keenan Allen has missed the last two games with a hamstring problem.
But things have gotten even worse in the last few days.
No matter how talented a team is, key injuries are the one thing that can completely wipe out its chances of winning a world championship, which was apparently Los Angeles’ goal when the season started.
But it may be on the verge of getting one of its most important injured players back on the field.
According to head coach Brandon Staley, Allen is expected to be able to practice with the team again this week.
HC Brandon Staley said WR Keenan Allen (hamstring) should be back at practice this week.
— Jeff Miller (@JeffMillerLAT) September 26, 2022
He was able to practice a bit last week, but he didn’t recover enough to suit up versus the Jaguars.
— Bridget Condon (@BridgetCondon_) September 21, 2022
The five-time Pro Bowler couldn’t return a day too soon.
The Chargers Badly Need Allen
Although L.A.’s pass offense looks strong according to the numbers, there is only so much it can do or sustain without its WR1.
For the last several years, Allen has been its top option offensively.
He has evolved into one of the game’s better receivers.
Last year he posted 1,138 receiving yards, which was 13th in the NFL, to go along with six touchdowns.
In his absence, several players have stepped up their games.
DeAndre Carter, whom the team acquired in the offseason, has 150 yards through the first three games of the season.
That far exceeds his usual offensive pace during his first four pro seasons.
Second-year wideout Josh Palmer, who managed just 353 yards in 17 games last year, has 134 so far this year.
New starting tight end Gerald Everett has collected 150 yards and a touchdown so far this year.
However, against Jacksonville, which has some promising young players, the Chargers’ offense looked as flat as a can of beer that had been left open for three days.
They scored just 10 points, and while Palmer played well, only one other player (Guyton) managed more than 50 receiving yards.
Even worse, they managed just 26 net rushing yards on 12 attempts, which is simply terrible.
Conventional wisdom says a team needs to establish the running game to open up the passing game.
But in the modern era, sometimes the opposite is true.
Having Allen back would give Herbert a much-needed security blanket, especially since he will have to play with some pain and discomfort for a while.
Although he threw for 297 yards on Sunday, he completed only 25 of 45 passes.
Luckily, L.A. will face the Houston Texans in Week 4, and not only are they winless, but they’re devoid of the young talent Jacksonville has.
It’s time for the Bolts to get a win and get back to .500, regardless of who is able to suit up this week.