Week 2 saw the Los Angeles Chargers lose a rough game to the Kansas City Chiefs on the road. With a couple injuries in the game (and carrying over from last week), to go along with a big name being active, we already see some big changes from week 1. Let’s dive into it.
So right off the bat, after all 5 starting offensive linemen and Justin Herbert played 100% of the snaps in week 1, in week 2 that went out the window. Herbert missed one snap with an injury to his ribs on a big hit. We are all currently waiting to hear what the follow up tests show today, but we are all hoping and praying that that 1 snap winds up being the extent of his time missed.
Starting center Corey Linsley only played the first half, which came out to 43% of the offensive snaps for the Chargers. Reports today are that he has been dealing with tendonitis in his knee. Not sure what that means going forward but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on and something to be at least mildly concerned about.
Right tackle Trey Pipkins also left the game early, playing 61% of the offensive snaps before leaving with an ankle injury. We haven’t really gotten any update on his status but his body language last night and the general lack of follow up should probably be taken as a good sign that he will be back for week 3, especially with the extra days rest.
This meant that Storm Norton (45%) and Will Clapp (57%) got meaningful snaps against the Chiefs. I’ll wait to make an assessment definitively until I rewatch the game, but both of them were a significant enough downgrade that it measurably effected the offense:
Justin Herbert air yards/attempt vs. Chiefs with Corey LInsley on the field, per TruMedia: 8.18— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) September 16, 2022
Herbert AY/att with Linsley off the field: 3.10
With Keenan Allen out, DeAndre Carter saw his snap percentage jump from 37% in week 1 to 65% in week 2. Josh Palmer also saw his snaps take a little jump from 75% to 91%. The Chargers rarely added a fourth wide receiver to the mix as Jaylen Guyton still only played 11% of the snaps.
The biggest shift to help cover down for Keenan’s absence came at running back. Austin Ekeler saw his snaps jump from 49% to 63% and his targets in the pass game increased from 4 in week 1 to 10 in week 2. They did get him involved more in week 2, but in a slightly concerning trend, he has been largely uninvolved in the redzone closer to the goal line. I know the team has said Sony Michel is a better short yardage option, but to almost completely go away from a guy that scored 20 touchdowns last season seems unwise.
The big change here is at cornerback with the return of J.C. Jackson. Jackson was officially listed as “questionable” and was a game time decision, then proceeded to play 100% of the snaps. For the second week in a row the Chargers only had 3 CBs play defensive snaps which meant that with Jackson back, Michael Davis did not play a single snap on defense.
The Chargers also only had 3 safeties play snaps, and that 3rd safety, Alohi Gilman, only saw 11% of the snaps. Which meant a lot of snaps for the linebackers. Drue Tranquill saw 84% of the snaps, Kenneth Murray 47%, Kyle Van Noy 46%.
Overall, the defense had very similar rotations and playing time from week 1 to week 2 outside of Jackson.