What’s particularly impressive about the Chargers’ 7-2 start is that they’ve emerged as a contender without their best defensive player, Joey Bosa. What should be terrifying about the Chargers’ outlook is that Bosa appears to be nearing a return from a foot injury that has prevented him playing in a single game this season.
On Wednesday, Chargers coach Anthony Lynn revealed that Bosa has returned to practice for the first time since Week 1. He was restricted to individual drills, but his limited return should be treated as a positive sign.
Big news from the #Chargers: Coach Anthony Lynn says star pass-rusher Joey Bosa is going to practice today in a limited capacity. He may need some time to get in football shape. But very positive news.
Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said that Joey Bosa will get some reps in individual period today, so first time Bosa will practice since Week 1. Bosa has been out with a bruised left foot.
Let’s check in on Bosa:
Bosa, drafted No. 3 overall in 2016, has already emerged as one of the sport’s best pass rushers. Over 28 games during his first two seasons in the league, he notched 23 sacks. Only three players — Chandler Jones, Ryan Kerrigan, and Von Miller — had more in that span. But a foot injury has prevented him from taking the field this season.
Even without him, the Chargers are 7-2, only one loss behind the Chiefs in the AFC West, and in a position to make a run come January. Their defense is 11th in DVOA, 14th in yards allowed per game, eighth in points allowed per game, tied for ninth in sacks, and tied for 15th in takeaways. So even without their best player, their defense has been better than average. Now, imagine how much they can improve if they get Bosa back at full strength down the stretch.
Nobody is saying they’ll catch the Chiefs in the AFC West — because that’s how good the Chiefs have been — but it’s not impossible. The Chiefs play the 9-1 Rams on Monday. If they drop a very droppable game, they’ll be 9-2 after their Week 12 bye. Assuming the Chargers can take care of business against the Broncos and Cardinals over the next two weeks, they could pull even with the Chiefs. The two teams will meet again in Kansas City in Week 15.
Again, I’m not saying the Chargers are better than the Chiefs, but the AFC West is still very much in play for them — especially if Bosa returns in the near future.
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