The Chargers smartly have not rushed Bosa onto the field. An aggravation of the hamstring could cost the pass rusher even more time. (We’ll note here that Odell Beckham Jr. missed the first four games of his rookie season due to a hamstring injury before bursting onto the scene.)
San Diego could use Bosa’s playmaking alongside stud Melvin Ingram in the defensive front. The Chargers boast a stingy corner trio of Jason Verrett, Brandon Flowers and Casey Hayward, but could use depth up front to help get after the quarterback. San Diego has compiled five sacks and given up an average of 400.5 yards of offense (T-23rd in NFL) in the first two weeks.
Last year, NFL owners approved a deadline of Jan. 15, 2017, for the Chargers to make a decision on relocation. Since that deadline falls on a Sunday of a Divisional Round playoff weekend and Monday is a federal holiday (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), the NFL extended the option deadline to Tuesday, Jan. 17, a league spokesman told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport on Wednesday.
It remains to be seen if the Chargers will indeed exercise the option and move to join the Rams in Los Angeles. In November, San Diego voters rejected a ballot measure that would have raised hotel occupancy taxes to help pay for a proposed $1.8 billion downtown stadium project. Meetings between Chargers owner Dean Spanos, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and other city and county officials have so far failed to yield a stadium plan both sides can agree upon.
Chargers fans are upset over the move to L.A., but the relocation is no easier on players. Rivers appeared to be a little emotional toward the end of his interview after talking about how the whole experience has been “surreal” for him.
“Time can make things better,” Rivers said. “And I know it’s not going to ever just be great and San Diego is gonna just say ‘Oh it’s no big deal.’ I know it’s a big deal. Believe me. I know it’s a big deal that it’s come to this. I’m going to do my part the only way I know how. The Philip Rivers that San Diego’s gotten over the last 13 years, that’s what they’re going to get up there. And I’m going to embrace that and go like crazy. I ain’t going to be there for 13 years but I’m going to give them all I got for the short time I have left.”
The Chargers have lost four games by a combined 14 points this season, making them just the fifth team since 1940 to start 1-4 with a point differential of 10-plus or better. Their ability to score points is no fluke, as San Diego has ripped through secondaries with a highly frisky air attack. Despite losing weapons Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson and Danny Woodhead, the Bolts are one of just two NFL teams averaging 30-plus points per game. The Falcons — who knocked off the Broncos last week — are the other, but these are vastly different attacks. While Atlanta piled up yardage and points by matching their speedy, pass-catching backs against Denver’s inside linebackers, the Chargers don’t have the bodies to duplicate that game plan. San Diego’s offense is based around occasional big plays from boom-or-bust runner Melvin Gordon and a vertical passing game that has leaned heavily on three-wideout sets all year. That won’t change on Thursday night.
The Broncos hoped to run the ball early against Atlanta, but the game script took them elsewhere with C.J. Anderson and rookie Devontae Booker combining for just 64 yards. Ground yardage won’t be easy against a Chargers defense allowing an eighth-best 83.4 yards per game without a single team topping the 100-yard rushing mark through Week 5. That should lead to Siemian picking away at San Diego’s 28th-ranked pass defense with lobs to Emmanuel Sanders (who leads the team in targets and receptions) and Demaryius Thomas, who has a touchdown catch in three straight games for the first time since 2014.
The Chargers’ quarterback said he considered the possible move to Los Angeles when signing his contract extension in 2015. After 13 years in San Diego, Rivers likely won’t find the same connection in L.A., but he’ll still fight to earn that elusive championship.
“I know it’ll be different, but just know that … I’ll play like crazy and fight like crazy, as a Los Angeles Charger, just like I did for you guys,” he said. “And I know y’all can respect and understand that. But I hope you also know that I will always be playing for San Diego as well.”
Also forget that Rivers took the most solemn of oaths on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to “officially” become a Los Angeles Charger. Wipe that from your mind’s eye.
This is a sweet, sentimental statement from a franchise quarterback and de facto community leader wistfully paying homage to the city he loved, respected and prepared to live in and raise his family, regardless of a move up the coast.