As reported this morning by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, safety Derwin James is expected to miss a significant amount of time in 2020 due to a meniscus injury he suffered during Sunday’s intra-squad scrimmage.
James is reportedly set to have surgery on his meniscus, but it’s unclear still the severity of the procedure. If it’s a small cleanup where they simply trim off what they need to from the meniscus, his timetable could have him back in a little over a month. If it’s a full repair, James will likely miss a similar amount of time like he did in 2019.
From @GMFB: #Chargers do-it-all star S Derwin James is having surgery following a meniscus tear, and answers will come after the procedure. He's out a significant amount of time, but just how much will be determined soon. pic.twitter.com/nPxErIcP8P— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 31, 2020
During Anthony Lynn’s presser on Monday morning, he was asked once again about the possibility of pursuing free agent Earl Thomas who knows Gus Bradley’s defensive system from their time together in Seattle.
Lynn’s response was perfect, but not if you were holding out hope that the Bolts would bring in the veteran.
“Since you guys are constantly telling me how stacked my secondary is, why the hell would I be looking anywhere else?”
Anthony Lynn defiantly says the #Chargers are not inquiring about Earl Thomas: "Since you guys are constantly telling me how stacked my secondary is, why the hell would I be looking anywhere else?"— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) August 31, 2020
I mean ... he makes a great point.
Although it’s an absolute nightmare that James succumbed to another serious injury, this obviously opens things up for younger members of the secondary. After all, some of these guys are also pretty talented and one player in particular, 2019 second-rounder Nasir Adderley, may finally get the playing time he deserves.
As far as what I believe the Chargers will do, I do not think the team will go after a veteran at the position.
The offseason addition of Chris Harris Jr. opened up snaps for Desmond King to play elsewhere away from the slot. While he certainly will still play in the nickel, King did a lot of similar things as rookie that James did. If you recall, King had 3.5 sacks his first year, which is the same amount that Derwin had in 2018. Both numbers are tied for the all-time record for sacks by a rookie defensive back in NFL history.
Rayshawn Jenkins also knows the strong safety position as he was James’ backup in 2018. The most-logical plan should be rotate both Jenkins and King at SS while Jenkins and Adderley rotate at free. Rookie safety Alohi Gilman, depending on his progression through training camp, may also see a minimal amount of snaps.
Lastly, one idea that’s a little out of left field: Put Kyzir White in at James’ position when he’s normally up near the line of scrimmage. White played the “Star” position at West Virginia, which was essentially the same safety/linebacker hybrid position that James plays for the Bolts. It’s not a 1:1 replacement, just an idea when it comes to using multiple players to fill the void of one guy who did so many different things.