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Ogbonnia Out for Season, Covington Likely Lost for Year

DT

The Chargers are 5-4 after a Week 10 loss to the 49ers.

Here are five Monday takeaways from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley.

1. Bolts searching for D-line depth

Another week, more tough injury updates for the Bolts.

Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley announced Monday that rookie defensive tackle Otito Ogbonnia has a patella tendon rupture and will miss the rest of the season.

Fellow defensive lineman Christian Covington suffered a torn pec and will likely miss the rest of the season.

"That's not a confirmed, full fact yet. But it's trending that way," Staley said of Covington.

The Chargers were left with just three health defensive lineman last night in Sebastian Joseph-Day, Morgan Fox and Breiden Fehoko.

Staley praised that group, noting they essentially played the entire fourth quarter without coming out.

But Staley added the Bolts will look to add depth up front this week, which will include Joe Gaziano being elevated from the practice squad.

"We'll have to work that in the next 36 hours, probably make some acquisitions," Staley said. "Then promote Joe G. at some point this week. We have him currently on our team. We'll be working over the next 36 hours to get us to full strength."

Staley later added: "We're trying to mine the entire NFL and try and find the best fits. Maybe we've got relationships with certain places or they have certain styles that are similar to ours. Try to leverage all your relationships to try and make good decisions and bring guys in here that are healthy, ready to play football and can contribute at a winning level."

With Ogbonnia and Covington both likely headed to Injured Reserve, that would make 13 total players on that list, including four starters in Joey Bosa, Rashawn Slater, J.C. Jackson and Austin Johnson.

Even so, Staley — just as he did Sunday night — reiterated that he was proud of the Chargers effort and resiliency against the 49ers in a six-point loss.

"What I told this team this morning is, after watching the film and having more time to reflect, is the exact same message I had for them in the locker room," Staley said. "The level of toughness, the level of physicality, the level of discipline we played with was the standard we expect in a game like that against a quality team.

"That's where the message was. The group that was out there last night played to the standard of the LA Chargers," Staley continued. "The reason why we didn't win the game, there were some executional-type things in the game that prevented us from ultimately finishing that football game.

"But regardless of the circumstance, we're going to be a connected team and a tough and rugged team that's going to try and figure it out," Staley added. "I like the way that looked last night in that way. We make no excuses. That's how the whole season has been for us."

2. Allen, Williams nearing return to practice

The Bolts did receive some positive injury news Monday, as Staley noted that wide receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen will both likely return to practice this week.

The extent of their involvement is unknown at the moment, but their potential return does provide some hope for a team that has been ravaged by injuries all throughout the lineup.

"You will see Mike and Keenan back in practice this week," Staley said. "To the extent, we'll keep you posted on that but they will be back in practice this week."

Gerald Everett will also practice at some point this week with a groin injury suffered Sunday night.

"He's going to be day-to-day, but made it out of the game OK," Staley said.

Outside linebacker Chris Rumph II, who has been dealing with a sprained MCL, will be practice in full this week.

Tight end Donald Parham, Jr., is "still a ways off" with a hamstring injury and is on Injured Reserve.

Running back Joshua Kelley is also on Injured Reserve with a sprained MCL, but Staley said he is "trending very positive." Kelley can return for Week 12 against the Cardinals.

3. Praise for Sarell's NFL debut

The Chargers rolled out their fifth starting offensive line combination Sunday night, and hung in there against a tough 49ers pass rush.

Foster Sarell made the first start of NFL career — drawing a tough matchup against Nick Bosa — but received praise from Staley for how he performed.

"Foster Sarell was solid," Staley said. "I thought for his first start playing against Nick, playing against that type of defense, Foster held his own. Which is what you would hope in that type of performance.

"You know, first real NFL game, a start against that type of team, I thought he held his own," Staley added. "I thought the film validates that if you guys have watched it. Really proud of him."

Sarell started in place of Trey Pipkins III, who was inactive with a knee injury. Pipkins went through a pregame warmup but wasn't able to play.

"Really proud of him that he tried to give that thing a go," Staley said. "Did a great job last night for Foster, but he's going to be day-to-day, I think you'll see him at some point in practice this week."

Guards Matt Feiler and Zion Johnson are the only Chargers offensive players to have been on the field for all 635 snaps this season.

Take a look back at the Chargers Week 10 primetime game against the 49ers in monochrome

4. Special teams keeps delivering

In special teams injury news, Staley said the kicker Dustin Hopkins "is probably going to be a week away" from returning to practice.

While the Bolts will certainly welcome Hopkins back with open arms, they have also had steady kicker play in his absence this season.

Taylor Bertolet made all three field goals and three extra points in a Week 5 win at Cleveland in his NFL debut as Hopkins dealt with a quad injury.

Hopkins returned for Week 6 and made four field goals after tearing his hamstring in the first half and hasn't played since.

The Bolts went back to Bertolet in Week 7 and he made all three extra points, but he injured his quad in practice after the bye week.

That led to the addition of Cameron Dicker, who kicked a walk-off winner in Atlanta and then made all three field goals Sunday night.

If you're counting at home, the trio of Chargers kickers have made 16 straight field goals.

Staley gave kudos to Chargers Special Teams Coordinator Ryan Ficken and assistant special teams coach Chris Gould for their work with that entire group.

That phase came through again Sunday with a blocked punt from Nick Niemann, plus Dicker's perfect night.

"Really excited about that aspect of our football team," Staley said. "The snap and hold operation you can't minimize that, just Josh Harris and his steadiness, JK Scott.

"I think there's a comfort zone and again, the culture of special teams with Ryan Ficken and Chris Gould leading the way, I felt like it's been winning edge for our football team," Staley added. "I though Cam did a nice job last night. We blocked a punt last night, didn't allow any return yards on punt return, so we have to keep making that a big edge for our football team."

5. Staley OK with concussion process

The Bolts saw a pair of players get taken out of the game in the first half Sunday to be checked for a concussion under recently-revised league protocols.

Linebacker Kenneth Murray, Jr., was removed from the field by officials in the first half. A short time later, quarterback Justin Herbert missed three plays after he was hit in the head. 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw was ejected on the Herbert hit.

Staley said Monday that both players were "were cleared this morning from the concussion protocol from last night. Everybody in terms of their postgame assessment, so that was positive."

And Staley said he applauded the decision to remove both players from the game, even if Herbert's absence came at a critical time.

The Chargers led 13-10 with under a minute left in the second quarter when Greenlaw's penalty gave the Bolts the ball at the 49ers 20-yard line.

But with Herbert out, Chase Daniel entered and threw a pair of incomplete passes before getting sacked on third down. The Bolts kicked a field goal to go up 16-10 — their final points of the night — and missed a chance to go up double digits.

Staley reiterated that the situation of removing Herbert played out as it should.

"I think in seeing the TV copy and then having some time to reflect, I thought it was good process both for him and [Murray]," Staley said. "I think that's what all of us want to see. All of us want to see these players taken care of, even if you're erring on the side of caution. Even if it forces you to have to go play your backup quarterback, if it forces you to whatever, injury timeout.

"Whatever the case may be, these guys health is the No. 1 thing out there," Staley added. "And you guys that are covering this team, you guys that cover the NFL and that are down there live and see what's going on, you want to know these guys are getting taken care of. So, I thought it was good process last night and glad both those guys are good."

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