COSTA MESA, Calif. — Injuries have dominated the Los Angeles Chargers' 2019 season, with key contributors going down in all three phases of the team. Chargers star defensive end Joey Bosa has seen the effects of those losses firsthand. The injuries have forced young players onto the field and, as a result, the team has made mistakes it normally avoids.
Even so, the Chargers hope that some of their injured players will return to the football field in the near future.
"I think we're getting [Melvin Ingram] back this week, which will be huge," Bosa said Monday.
Ingram has missed the Chargers' last three games with a hamstring injury. His absence has forced young players like second-year pro Uchenna Nwosu and rookie Jerry Tillery into larger roles.
"We just got to make sure that they're in their playbooks and they know what they're doing out there and they're doing a little extra after every day to stay healthy and take care of their bodies," Bosa said of his young, inexperienced teammates. "Because obviously, this team is depleted."
The Chargers have dealt with major injuries in recent years but rarely to the degree they have in 2019. On the defense alone, safeties Derwin James and Adrian Phillips landed on injured reserve with a broken foot and fractured arm, respectively. The defensive line played without 75 percent of its starters Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, placing an even greater burden on Bosa to generate a pass rush.
Still, the Chargers have seen progress out of Nwosu. Said Bosa: "I think Uchenna's doing a really good job and I feel totally confident when he's out there."
At some point, the team hopes to have their injured veterans and young players healthy and contributing at the same time.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH