Behind Enemy Lines: Previewing Jaguars Vs. Chargers

Who should we expect to be the primary ball-carriers for the Chargers on Sunday? Where does Justin Herbert still need to improve? We break it all down here.
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Following a tough Week 6 loss to the Detroit Lions, the 1-5 Jacksonville Jaguars will be traveling across the country to face the 1-4 Los Angeles Chargers, former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley and rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. 

To get a sense for how the game may play out, we spoke with Fernando Ramirez of ChargerReport to preview the matchup.  

Q: Justin Herbert has obviously been impressive, but what areas of his game does he need to improve on?

A: Yes, Herbert has really been on a different level since he took over the starting position. The one area I would say he needs to improve on is he needs to not have “that one pass.” What I mean by that is in every game Herbert has one pass that is intercepted, and it happens in a crucial time in the game. The Chiefs, Panthers, and Bucs made him pay while Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins dropped it. He needs to stop giving the opposing team a chance to turn the game around. If he can limit the turnovers the way he did in New Orleans then he will be even better.

Q: Who is the go-to option in the running game with the injury to Austin Ekeler?

A: I believe it is Justin Jackson. He has been with the organization now for a third season. Head coach Anthony Lynn is big on Jackson. He had a good game against the Saints rushing for 71 yards on 15 carries. The only problem for Jackson since 2018, when he had a good rookie season, has been injuries. He has missed some games this season and he was limited in the first two practices of the week with a knee injury. The Bolts really need him with Ekeler out. If he is not able to go, then rookie Joshua Kelley will be the lead guy. He was strong the first two games of the season until he fumbled against the Panthers. Lynn trusts both of his backs and said they will be crucial if they are to turn this season around.

Q: How big of an impact should the return of Melvin Ingram have on the defense?

A: If you ask the coaches and players, it is huge. Ingram has formed a great duo with fellow pass rusher Joey Bosa. Since Ingram’s absence, Bosa has held it down, sacking the quarterback twice in three games, but he has missed his partner in crime. Bosa has been the only pass rusher getting constant pressure on the opposing quarterback and that has hurt the Bolts especially in the second half of games. Lynn did say that if he does get Ingram and defensive tackle Justin Jones back they will both be on snap counts, but any little bit helps.

Q: LA's secondary had a lot of hype entering this season. Have they met expectations so far?

A: They had until they faced the Bucs. They gave up over 300 passing yards to Tom Brady and Drew Brees, which cost them two victories. They have been missing cornerback Chris Harris Jr. since he went out with an injury against the Panthers. He is still a few weeks away from coming back, but at times they have held it down. The team is also missing Derwin James, who won’t be back this season, but the secondary has had some bright spots. It will also help that Ingram will be back soon, so that will add another pass rusher that can disrupt the quarterback and make them commit turnovers.

Q: What is the feeling on how Gus Bradley is performing at DC?

A: Lynn has said twice since last week that he trusts Bradley and knows he will turn this around. I think the injuries have really done a number on the defense. Now with some of the players coming back it will help the ex-Jaguars head coach put a winning defense on the field. The biggest issue with the Chargers as of late is they start games off so well and in the second half both the offense and defense stall out. The defense needs to be a strength especially with a rookie quarterback. So, with players like Ingram and Jones coming back I expect Bradley to get this defense rolling again.