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3 Young Players to Watch If Charger Stars Are Unable to Play

The likes of Tuli Tuipulotu, Joshua Kelley, and Amen Ogbongbemiga will all replacing key players for the Chargers.
Chargers Key Players

With an injury list as long as a CVS receipt, the Chargers are looking at playing without some of their key players. The Chargers have built a strong roster to combat injuries. A few young players looking to be valuable replacements and are going to prove they deserve their status as the primary backup behind these star players.

3 Young Chargers That Could Replace These Injured Key Players

Joey Bosa -> Tuli Tuipulotu

During the course of Week 1, Joey Bosa was a nonfactor against the weak Dolphins offensive line. This was mainly due to the scheme of Mike McDaniel getting the ball out early. After the game, Bosa suffered from some hamstring soreness and was limited in Friday’s practice. Bosa is currently questionable to play against the Titans and would be looking at a favorable matchup against the Titans’ offensive line.

Bosa’s replacement would be the impressive 21-year-old rookie, Tuli Tuipulotu. Tuipulotu in his first game was a very good rotational defender, Tuipulotu had a 60.3 PFF grade, 74.8 in rush defense, 74.3 for his tackling grade, and 57.2 in his pass rush. The former USC product had two tackles, a pressure, and a stop in his first action as an NFL defender. He also played on special teams, logging 25 snaps, and earning a 60.9 grade.

Tuipulotu has to be ready to step for the Chargers and replace one of the key players on the roster. If Bosa can’t go, it is all up to Tuipulotu to replace the crucial snaps Bosa plays. One of the rookie practice squad EDGE defenders will look to be elevated in place of Tuipulotu’s rotational role, these players being; Brevin Allen, Andrew Farmer, and Ty Shelby.

Austin Ekeler -> Joshua Kelley

After a dominant Week 1 performance, Ekeler was said to have an ankle sprain and is already ruled out for Week 2

Ekeler’s replacement will be the up-and-coming runner, Joshua Kelley. Kelley had an explosive Week 1, having 16 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown. This earned him a respectable 75.5 overall PFF grade and 5.7 yards per attempt. With three explosive runs, Kelley will lead this backfield that also will have Isaiah Spiller and Elijah Dotson as solid rotational backs.

Look for this Ekeler-less backfield to be less in volume as Kellen Moore will likely lean toward passing the ball more with Justin Herbert. The Titans will be missing starting corner Kristian Fulton and starting safety Armani Hooker. Kelley will definitely get his attempts, but look to see a passing-based attack in Week 2. Kelley will have to earn his touches with receptions.

Betting: Joshua Kelley Rushing Yards set at 49.5

Eric Kendricks -> Amen Ogbongbemiga

The Chargers’ biggest free-agent edition didn’t have a very exciting Week 1, only recording three tackles. Eric Kendricks had a 54.9 PFF grade, struggling in coverage. Kendricks at this point in his career will likely be a tackle machine and will be more for playing against the run, rather than the pass. A player in a very similar mold will be Chargers third-year linebacker, Amen Ogbongbemiga. 

Ogbongbemiga has been a mainstay special teams ace for the Los Angeles Chargers, earning his roster spot as a versatile special teamer with the ability to fill in as the MIKE linebacker when needed. The 6′ linebacker will likely be the replacement for Kendricks, as he will start next to Kenneth Murray, who will now be calling the plays.

Ogbongbemiga in his three-year career has recorded two starts, one sack, 32 tackles, and two tackles for loss. The Chargers have always seemed to like Ogbongbemiga over the likes of former sixth-round selection, Nick Niemann and other competitors. Look to see the former Oklahoma State defender step up big this week for the Chargers, lining up against Derrick Henry and Tyjae Spears.

In Week 2, the Los Angeles Chargers will have to show if they are real contenders, or pretenders, especially in the face of adversity. The replacements: Tuipulotu, Kelley, and Ogbongbemiga will all have big shoes to fill, as playing the likes of the Mike Vrabel-led Titans is never an easy task for any team or any player.

Main Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea – USA Today Sports


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