While the Chargers’ playoff hopes are dim, they’ll be receiving some much-needed reinforcement for the stretch run. The team announced today that they’ve activated safeties Derwin James and Adrian Phillips from injured reserve.
James suffered a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal of his right foot in August after a screw that was originally inserted during his freshman year at Florida State bent back. The injury required a surgical operation, and a new screw has since been placed. James has been running without any pain for several weeks now, and he presumably won’t have any limitations tomorrow against the Broncos. The 17th overall pick in the 2018 draft started all 16 games for Los Angeles during his rookie campaign, posting three interceptions, 13 passes defensed, and 3.5 sacks during that time. Pro Football Focus graded James as the league’s seventh-best safety, and he also garnered a first-team All-Pro nod.
Phillips suffered a broken forearm in a September loss to the Lions, knocking him out of action. The 27-year-old earned his first career Pro Bowl nod last year, with the hybrid safety/linebacker finishing with 94 tackles, nine passes defended, and one interception. He had compiled 14 tackles in two games this season before going down with an injury.
With James and fellow safeties Adrian Phillips and Nasir Adderley on IR, the Chargers have primarily deployed Rayshawn Jenkins and undrafted rookie Roderic Teamer in the back end. So far, the results have been lackluster; after finishing 8th in defensive DVOA in 2018, Los Angeles now ranks 25th in the same metric.
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