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Can the Chargers Overcome This Star Injury?

The Chargers defense lost their star rusher in Joey Bosa, in the midst of his very under-appreciated year.
Joey Bosa

The Los Angeles Chargers lost Joey Bosa due to a foot sprain injury. This is not a new thing for the Bolts, as they have lost Bosa for plenty of games during his time as a Charger. Even this season, Bosa has been banged up. He has been playing with a broken toe and other nagging injuries. This led him to leave a large portion of his snaps up to rookies, former day-three selections, and now free agents.

How the Chargers Can Overcome the Joey Bosa Injury

The Brandon Staley-led defense may have been completely awful against a young Green Bay Packers team, but losing one of your best defenders definitely does not help. As mentioned before, Joey Bosa suffered a foot sprain during the brutal loss against the Green Bay Packers, which was a large catalyst for Jordan Love to show what he can really do as an NFL quarterback.

The injury that the Chargers 2016 first-round selection suffered has plenty of different levels of severity, ranging from two weeks to six months. Without knowing the complete severity, the Chargers decided to place Bosa on Injured Reserve, opening up a roster spot for more depth at edge. Bosa will miss at least four games and is eligible to come back as early as the Chargers-Bills game on December 23rd.

To get deeper into timelines, Bosa’s foot sprain has yet to come public about the exact diagnosis of its severity. According to Sportsmd, “A Grade 1 sprain can take 2-3 weeks to heal but a more significant injury can take up to 2-3 months. If surgery is needed it could take 4-6 months to fully recover.” On the bright side, Bosa has yet to receive surgery, leading us on more of the 2-3 month timeline.

Missing a minimum of four games, and likely being out for the rest of the regular season, which only spans two weeks after his initial four-week injury reserve designation timeframe, what is the expectation for the Chargers future?

Who Will Have to Step Up?

The only likely way we would see Bosa again is if the Chargers magically make a playoff run, and he comes back for that. As for now, the Chargers must rely on some familiar faces and some new ones.

Tuli Tuipulotu

The first obvious player that will have to step up is second-round rookie, Tuli Tuipulotu. Tuipulotu has been incredible for the Chargers all season long, even earning himself a spot in the Defensive Rookie of the Year race. When Joey Bosa was hurt earlier in the year, missing games and playing split snaps, it was mainly the former USC standout playing in his spot.

During the course of the season thus far, Tuipulotu has recorded impressive PFF grades: 70.5 Defense Grade, 78.5 Rush Defense Grade, and a 64.6 Pass Rush Grade. Whilst grading nicely, that only is a fraction of the story. The 21-year-old rookie has plenty of production as well. Tuipulotu has recorded seven sacks, four quarterback hits, 22 hurries, 22 tackles, 20 stops, and 33 pressures on 459 total snaps. If the Chargers want to relieve pressure off of the aging Khalil Mack and produce a pass rush, it relies heavily on the shoulders of Tuipulotu.

Justin Hollins

The next in line to help replace the star in Joey Bosa is a former Staley defender from his Broncos and Rams days. Justin Hollins has only been with the Chargers since November 15th and has already appeared in one game. He has yet to record a statistic, though he played 16 snaps against his former team.

Hollins is a 27-year-old pass rusher who was drafted in 2019 in the fifth round for his immense athletic traits and ability. He lacked a strong pass rush plan and move arsenal, but since his drafting in 2019, the hope was he would put his athleticism and moves together. He has yet to do so but has still shown solid production bouncing from team to team.

Los Angeles will need the former fifth-round selection in Hollins to play as the EDGE3 in this team’s rotation, a big step from being on a practice squad playing as decoys for other team’s superstars.

Andrew Farmer

The last on the list is the newly signed undrafted rookie, Andrew Farmer. Farmer is 6’4″, 250 pounds with a mauling mentality, playing with aggression. The rookie is a solid run defender with strong pad level but needs to work on his first-step quickness if he wants to develop stronger as a pass rusher. Scouting report aside, Farmer had a strong preseason and has appeared in one game for the Chargers, in week four. During this debut, he played ten defensive snaps, and recorded no statistics. A 55.5 defensive grade was the only thing worth noting from his debut in the Powder Blues.

Farmer will be relied upon as the Chargers EDGE4 for likely the remainder the rest of the season, as former fourth-round selection Chris Rumph got hurt in pregame warmups just a few weeks ago. From division two to being called upon as a key rotational defender – a Tom Telesco special.

It really hurts the Chargers defense to lose their star rusher in Joey Bosa, especially since he was having a very under-appreciated year. He has recorded 320 snaps, recording seven sacks, 24 pressures, three quarterback hits, 14 hurries, and 18 stops. With his 80.3 pass rush grade, Joey Bosa was a dominant force for the Chargers defensive line, and the bolts will desperately miss him.

Main Photo: Brad Penner – USA Today Sports


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