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Sun., Jul. 19, 2015 7:30 AM PDT
Injuries Overwhelmed Chargers in Defeat
The Chargers have been relatively fortunate this season when it comes to injuries.
That luck came to a screeching halt on Sunday.
The Chargers were decimated by injuries over the course of the loss to the Baltimore Ravens, particularly on defense. Players who predominately play on special teams were forced to play significant minutes while others had to move out of position. As a result, the Chargers had a mish-mash of players on defense for the overtime session that saw the Ravens come out on top.
“We’ve lost a lot of guys throughout on offense and on defense, and we have guys that just keep coming in,” said head coach Norv Turner. “Obviously, it affects you in certain situations. I thought it had an effect on our defense on third down. When you start losing those guys, it has certainly affected our ability on offense on third down – the combination of protection and then finding a way to get people open.”
On defense, the Chargers lost Eric Weddle, Donald Butler, Atari Bigby and Darrell Stuckey by the time overtime started. As a result, cornerback Marcus Gilchrist was forced to play safety, Shareece Wright moved to the nickel slot and special teams standout Andrew Gachkar saw the first snaps of his career at linebacker.
“That’s our job to be ready and come in when needed,” said Gachkar. “Obviously we don’t get the amount of reps during practice and we’re not as seasoned as they are. But when you have the chance to be called upon, you have to go do your job.”
Still, it was a difficult task with many of the top playmakers on defense sidelined. All three of their leading tacklers, Butler (72), Bigby (68) and Weddle (64), were off the field and were replaced by players who are only in their second year in the league.
“The guys were put in a tough situation in the game and did a good job for us,” said Quentin Jammer. “Hopefully we can get some other guys back and not have guys in positions they’re not accustomed in…They did as good a job as they could have, but it’s not the same without (the starters) out there.”