Joey Bosa could be out even longer than expected for the Los Angeles Chargers, which is rough news for a defense that sorely misses him.
Losing two of three to start the 2018 season wasn’t in the plans for a Los Angeles Chargers team that entered the year with high hopes. Sure, their two losses may have come against the two best teams in the NFL at the moment, but the record reads 1-2 all the same. And looking at that, it’s hard not to wonder how having Joey Bosa would’ve affected the first three games for the Chargers.
Bosa dealt with a foot injury throughout training camp, and then suffered a different injury on the same foot as the regular season came closer. Some thought he may still suit up for Week 1, but obviously that didn’t happen as he’s still yet to take the field. Unfortunately, it may be even longer than expected now until we see that.
On Wednesday, Bosa provided an update on his status, per Eric Williams of ESPN. The Ohio State product told reporters that he will likely be out of action until after Week 8, when the Chargers have their bye week. Clearly the injury is going to cost Bosa much more time than anyone expected when the ailment first came into the public eye.
Looking at the Chargers’ slow start to the 2018 season, it’s hard to not look at how ineffective they’ve been at rushing the passer off the edge with Bosa out of the lineup. Per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), the Bolts have generated just 21 pressures on 227 combine pass rushing snaps between Melvin Ingram, Isaac Rochell, Uchenna Nwosu and Chris Landrum.
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That means that the Chargers are getting pressure on just 9.2 percent of pass rushing snaps. For reference, Bosa was able to generate a pressure on 15.2 percent of his pass rushing snaps last season, also per PFF.
With the lack of pressure, it shouldn’t then be surprising that the Los Angeles defense has been getting burned by opposing passing attacks to this point. Games against two of the most potent offenses in the league, the Chiefs and Rams, may inflate that to a point, but if you can’t remotely stop an elite offense, then how seriously can you be taken as a team?
Perhaps the answer for the Chargers without Bosa is to unleash the rookie Nwosu, who has been their most effective rusher in terms of efficiency in getting pressure. Even then, however, that still doesn’t fully replace the effectiveness that Bosa gives to this defense.
With Bosa now set to miss essentially half of the season at this point, the Chargers have to be worried to a degree. Their schedule indeed eases up moving forward after a tough start, but without an effective and consistent pass rush, they leave their defense more vulnerable than they would certainly like for it to be.
And until they get Bosa back into the fold, the early returns suggest that they might have a problem with getting after quarterbacks unless something drastically changes.
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