Chargers Pleased with Derwin James' 2019 Debut
COSTA MESA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Chargers spent more than three months waiting for Derwin James to return to action. The All-Pro safety made his long-delayed 2019 debut Sunday afternoon against the Denver Broncos, and his coaches saw plenty of positives in his performance.
"I thought D.J. looked good for his first game back," Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said Monday. "He played probably more snaps than we wanted him to, but it was that type of game."
The Chargers entered Sunday's contest with effectively no margin for error. At 4-7, they had little hope at a playoff berth without running the table over the final five game of the season. Even then, they could have easily missed the cut. Knowing the stakes, James played all but one of the team's 57 defensive snaps.
"We couldn't get him out of the game," Lynn said. "He's a competitor."
Though the Chargers ultimately fell to the Broncos 23-20 in a controversial ending, James made an impact on the game. He played more than two dozen snaps in the box, another 13 in the slot, and a few at free safety and boundary corner. James finished the game with four tackles (one tackle for loss) and, according to Pro Football Focus, had two pressures on five rushes.
Still, even with James back in the fold, the Chargers couldn't find a way to sack Broncos quarterback Drew Lock.
"Yeah, it's disappointing," Lynn said. "It's disappointing and frustrating -- just the game in general. I think Lock is a good quarterback. I liked him coming out of Missouri. He did what I've seen him do in the past. Yeah, we did not get to him. He got rid of the ball, they moved the pocket and used block-'em-up protections and kept us away from him."
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH