Welcome to the Chargers Mailbag! I'm Senior Writer Eric Smith, and I answer questions from the Bolt Fam each and every week.
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Off we go…
You got your answer Wednesday morning when the Bolts announced they signed Tyeler Davison to the 53-man roster off Cleveland's practice squad. David Moa was also added to the practice squad.
The addition of Davison and Moa obviously comes after a rough Week 11 that saw Otito Ogbonnia lost to the season with a torn patella tendon. Christian Covington suffered a pectoral injury and is likely out for the year.
If you're counting, that's three key defensive tackles lost in the span of a week, as Austin Johnson is also out for the year with a fractured knee. The Chargers also released Jerry Tillery last week.
The injuries keep piling up for the Bolts, who only had three healthy defensive linemen for most of the fourth quarter against the 49ers.
Big kudos to Sebastian Joseph-Day, Morgan Fox and Breiden Fehoko for how they gutted it out late, but you need as many bodies as possible up front going forward.
Davison and Moa will help, and Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley said that Joe Gaziano will likely be elevated to the 53-man roster at some point, too.
Davison is a veteran with 106 career games played, including 85 starts, from 2015-21 with the Saints and Falcons. He has played in a lot of games and is a veteran, so hopefully his transition is a bit more smooth given his experience.
Either way, it will be all hands on deck up front for the Chargers defensive line.
One final note, I received plenty of tweets asking why the Chargers weren't going after this player or that player.
Here's what Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley said Monday when asked about adding new linemen.
"We're trying to mine the entire NFL and try to find the best fits," Staley said. "Maybe we have relationships at certain places or maybe they've played in certain styles that are similar to ours and try to leverage all of your relationships to make good decisions, and bring guys in here that are healthy, that are ready to play football and you feel like can contribute at a winning level."
Not every free agent out there is going to fit that mold the Bolts were looking for. And, as always, keep in mind that finances also likely played a factor in these decisions, too.
Before I answer Andrew's question, I do want to throw some praise to Khalil Mack.
The man had many outside doubters entering the season, but is having a great season against the run and the pass.
If you look close, nearly all of the big runs the Chargers defense have given up this season have been away from Mack's side of the field. He's still a disruptor on the edge in the run game.
And he's been dang near dominant rushing the quarterback, too, even with Joey Bosa missing almost the entire season so far.
As for the spot opposite Mack, Kyle Van Noy is getting the majority of the reps there right now, but we'll see if that changes once Chris Rumph II returns from his knee injury. Rumph went through a pregame workout Sunday and is expected back in practice this week, so his return feels imminent barring any setbacks.
Derrek Tuszka and Jeremiah Attaochu have provided decent depth at edge rusher, which the team will take considering both players weren't on the roster when the season began.
Like almost every other position on the roster right now, the Chargers are rolling with who is available, but that doesn't mean the expectation has changed.
I thought Sarell held his own in primetime, which is all you can ask for given the matchup he had against Nick Bosa.
Was he perfect? No.
But he battled, and that should be commended considering the guy was making his NFL debut on the road in a tough environment against one of the league's best pass rushers.
Staley gave Sarell some praise on Monday.
"Foster Sarell was solid," Staley said. "For his first start, playing against Nick, playing that type of defense, I thought that Foster held his own, which is what you would hope in that type of performance.
"His first real NFL game, to start against that type of team, I thought that he held his own. I thought that the film validates that, if you guys have watched it," Staley added. "I'm really proud of him."
Of course, if Sarell plays Sunday against the Chiefs, the expectation will be for him to improve and be a little better than he was in his first start.
That remains up in the air, as Trey Pipkins III is hopefully going to practice this week with a sprained MCL.
No, Keenan should be fine once he gets back on the field.
But they key is him actually getting on the field, as he's only played 45 total snaps this season due to that lingering hamstring issue.
He has seemingly been close to full strength multiple times now, but has tweaked it twice including during the bye week. He hasn't practiced since Week 7 but is expected to be out there in some capacity this week.
Keenan has never been a burner, and relies on smarts and quick-twitch ability to get open. If he was a guy who had straight-line speed, maybe the hamstring would concern me there.
He's a veteran who is excellent and his craft, and should make an impact if and when he is finally healthy.
Moore only playing a handful of snaps tell me the Bolts are more comfortable rolling with their top three receivers at the moment in Joshua Palmer, DeAndre Carter and Michael Bandy.
Through nine games, the Chargers offense has lined up in 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE and 3 WR) a whopping 70.7-percent of the time.
So it's not as if the Bolts aren't getting wide receivers on the field, the coaching staff just seems to have a preference for that trio above.
And that's understandable given Palmer, Carter and Bandy have been with the team since the spring.
Doss and Hightower have not, so perhaps they are at different places with the playbook and their rapport with Justin Herbert.
That doesn't mean they won't be called upon at all, it just hasn't happened in recent weeks.
No change on that from what I answered here a week ago.
Staley said roughly six weeks ago that Bosa was on a 6-to-10 week recovery timeline, so we've hit the first part of that.
The next step for him would be a return to practice, perhaps either this week or next week, as he gets back into the groove. That 10-week timeline would mean a return to the field in Week 14 against the Dolphins.
It's still a waiting game with him, but it seems as if we're getting closer to his return as the days pass.
That will do it for this week.
As always, you can find me on Twitter at @Eric_L_Smithand submit your questions for the Chargers Mailbag.
That will do it for this week.
As always, you can find me on Twitter at @Eric_L_Smith and submit your questions for the Chargers Mailbag.
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