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Three-Down Back: A trio of things to watch for during the bye week

Bye, Bye, Bye - N’Sync

Tennessee Titans v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

The Chargers head into their bye week with a 5-2 record while their only two losses on the year are to the undefeated Rams and the 6-1 Chiefs, who were this close to staying unbeaten, as well.

On paper, it’s the best looking 5-win record in the NFL. The Patriots join them with an identical record while the Saints sit at 5-1 after already going through their bye.

The Saint’s lone loss came via the Buccaneers, who started the year as hot as anyone. The Patriots sport a pair of losses they collected in back-to-back weeks against the Jaguars and Lions. Those losses are mixed bag in hindsight as the Jags were thought to be a much better team to start the year than their current record shows while the Lions are in the midst of finding their stride.

Excluding an undefeated or 1-loss record, the Bolts really are sitting in the best case scenario heading into the break. In my schedule preview pieces that I put out prior to the regular season, I had them at 6-1 after the first seven weeks. Not too shabby, if I do say so, myself.

As the team and fan base finally get a break from cursing Addae’s name, there are still a few story-lines to follow through the next nine days. In particular, here are the things I’ll be keeping tabs on while the team kicks their feet up.

1.) How healthy can this team get with some extended rest?

Rookie linebacker Kyzir White won a starting job out of the gate after being drafted in the fourth round out of West Virginia. He was selected as a safety-linebacker hybrid that fit like a glove in Gus Bradley’s system. This was only supported as White was one of the highest-graded rookie players in the league prior to his injury after he collected 17 total tackles, a tackle-for-loss, and a single interception through his first three games.

In the game against the Rams, White sustained a knee-injury that initially was thought to keep him out for just a handful of weeks. However, he eventually underwent a minor knee-surgery that extended his time on the sideline through the bye week. Going right along with this year’s theme of treating injuries with extreme caution, White’s absence was likely due to playing things safe and I fully expect the versatile to be back on the field against the Seahawks in week 9.

The other big name on the injury report is obviously the Big Bear, Joey Bosa. Number 99 has been dealing with a lingering bone bruise that is right up there with some of the most frustrating injuries to ever have.

For those of you who don’t know, a bone bruise is not an injury that can be rushed at all. It is literally a bruise within the bone and there isn’t much you are able to do to quicken the healing process other than to sit and wait.

The best case scenario will be Bosa coming back and being available for the game against Seattle. Unfortunately, nothing has been set in stone in terms of a concrete return date and reports have been fairly scattered. His father recently stated it would be “a couple weeks” before Joey was back. This statement was made less than two weeks ago which potentially leaves things open for a later return than most would prefer.

On the less severe side of injuries, Melvin Gordon was kept out of the Titans game for precautionary reasons and luckily his absence didn’t come back to bite the team in the rear. He should be back and ready to go for week 9.

2.) Forrest Lamp isn’t going to play much this year, isn’t he?

This really isn’t a huge story-line for the bye week but it is something I need to vent about for a smidge.

It makes me sick to think that I haven’t been thinking about Lamp over the last couple of weeks because he has been deemed irrelevant by the coaching staff to the success of this team. And yes, I get the whole “don’t fix what’s not broken” cliche metaphor but you’d be hard-pressed to tell me Lamp wouldn’t upgrade either of the two guard spots on this offensive line.

He is healthy. He is by far the most athletic guard on this team and Anthony Lynn has specifically said they wanted to be 100% sure he was healthy because of his skill-set and how it fits their scheme to a T.

Unfortunately for me and the rest of you who fawn over #77, it looks like he will either have to wait for the right circumstances to break into the starting lineup or keep fighting and clawing to prove he is the missing piece for this unit.

After waiting over 400 days to see him on that field, it looks like I’m going to have to retain my patience for the time being.

3.) Are we going to see a surprise trade prior to the deadline?

It is highly-unlikely, but with a new coaching staff who seems to do the right thing more often than the wrong, I wouldn’t be that surprised to see something happen before October 30th.

Last year, the Chargers sent wide receiver Dontrelle Inman to the Bears for a sixth-round pick. This marked the first time the Chargers made a trade during the season since 2002 when they sent a second-round pick to the Miami Dolphins for wideout Chris Chambers.

What trade could I potentially see the team making?

I’d like to see the team shop Travis Benjamin for any draft pick another team would be willing to give up. Benji has been shoved down into irrelevancy on the Chargers’ depth chart and his value as a special team player disintegrated when Desmond King showed he could be twice the return guy that he ever was.