Full of determination to right what they got wrong last week, the Los Angeles Chargers will carry with them a cautious approach when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in Inglewood, Calif.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is listed as day-to-day with fractured rib cartilage on his left side. An extra few days to recover will come in handy for Herbert, who was injured in the second half of last Thursday night’s 27-24 defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Herbert was limited to easy tosses in practice Wednesday while also doing some rotational work to aid his recovery. He did work on handoffs to running backs, earning a “limited participant” tag on the injured list.
As of now, the Chargers (1-1) are saying that Herbert will make the first call on whether he is ready to play Sunday. The coaching staff will then make the final determination.
“Just making sure that Justin feels like he can go do the job the way that you know he can do it,” Los Angeles head coach Brandon Staley told reporters Wednesday. “That’s the big thing, just him having confidence to be able to go play the game the way it needs to be played. It’s going to be determined as the week goes, up until the game.”
If Herbert is unavailable, either Chase Daniel or Easton Stick will run the huddle against the Jaguars. Both took reps with the first team Wednesday.
Even after he was injured against the Chiefs, Herbert remained in the game and threw a touchdown pass with 1:11 remaining to get the game close. But the Chiefs recovered the ensuing onside kick and closed out the victory.
Also limited in Chargers practice Wednesday because of hamstring injuries were wide receiver Keenan Allen and tight end Donald Parham Jr. Allen had four catches in a season-opening victory against the Las Vegas Raiders, but did not play against the Chiefs.
Los Angeles also is looking to get star running back Austin Ekeler on track. The multi-purpose back has just 75 yards rushing on 28 carries and 13 receptions for 91 yards. He has not scored a touchdown.
The Jaguars (1-1) hit the road after an impressive 24-0 victory over the Indianapolis Colts last week. Jacksonville’s defense had five sacks and held 2021 rushing champion Jonathan Taylor to 54 yards on nine carries a week after he had 161 yards on the ground.
On offense, quarterback Trevor Lawrence was 25 of 30 for 235 yards and no interceptions with a pair of TD passes to Christian Kirk.
“You don’t just luck into a win like we had Sunday,” Lawrence said. “The preparation to get there, the focus, those things, you just replicate it. That’s the biggest thing. That’s the positive that you take from it, and you just try to do it again and again.
“As far as that result, that’s not going to win you the game on Sunday. You’ve got to stick to your processes and do it every day of the week.”
The victory has the Jaguars alone atop the AFC South, the first time that has happened since the same week of the 2018 season.
The Jacksonville defense has given up just 28 points, third best in the AFC behind the Denver Broncos (26) and the Buffalo Bills (17).
While the Chargers are dealing with key injuries, the Jaguars did not have anybody listed on the mid-week injury report.
“Knock on wood, it has been good,” Jacksonville head coach Doug Pederson said. “It’s a credit to the players and how they have worked in the weight room, their conditioning. It has been pretty clean coming out of both games other than some minor bumps and bruises.”