Good Morning, Bolts From the Blue.
Austin Ekeler is trending on social media again for his statements on Brandon Staley and the recent Packers loss. When asked about Rex Ryan’s over-the-top comments regarding Staley, Ekeler said:
“I think he’s almost taking too much of the blame. It’s my fault, it’s Herbert’s fault, it’s Quentin Johnston, it’s me fumbling the ball... Staley is not out there making the plays...”
Austin should receive credit for taking responsibility for his contributions in the loss. If the Chargers’ defense wasn’t performing at a near league-worst level despite being led by a supposed defensive wunderkind, there would be much more focus on the offense’s miscues that ultimately led to this loss.
However, to suggest Justin Herbert could have done anything more last Sunday is pretty wild. Justin Herbert wasn’t responsible for six drops that ultimately took points off the board and would have likely been the difference between winning and losing. He was a madman rushing the football when hos receivers couldn’t get open downfield and the pass rush gave him some open lanes to scramble through. We was efficient, and responsible for zero turnovers on the day.
This social media drama aside, we all need to be big Austin Ekeler fans in the late stretch of the season. The Chargers don’t have an impressive slate of unrestricted free agents hitting the market this offseason, despite how much salary cap they still need to clear. The players most likely to earn a big enough contract to help the Chargers compensatory formula are Austin Ekeler and Gerald Everett, and the list beyond them is pretty meager. Even though the running back position is widely devalued across the league, Ekeler returning to his touchdown-scoring ways can only help the Chargers as they look to rebuild and reload this roster over the next two years.
Additionally, here is the injury report from yesterday:
And now, for today’s daily links:
Justin Herbert breaks down his weekly routine and weekly preparation habits (Chargers.om)
Media around the web selected their game picks this week, and only one analyst selected the Chargers to upset the Ravens (Chargers.com)
Fan sentiment on Austin Ekeler is rapidly declining as he suggests the players, including Herbert, are to blame for the Packers’ loss (Bolt Beat)
DaRon Bland sets NFL single-season records for most pick-six touchdowns (NFL.com)
The Packers could gave utilized the fair “fair catch free kick” yesterday, but elected not to. The last time we saw such a kick was in 2019. (CBS NFL)
Jeff Kerr breaks down how the “Black Friday” NFL game came to be, and how it’s likely to stick around (CBS NFL)
Lamar Jackson is ready to set the record for fewest games to reach 5,000 rushing yards for a quarterback... naturally, against the Chargers (Sports Illustrated)