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5 Players to Watch in Chargers Final 3 Regular-Season Games


The Chargers begin a new week Monday as they get ready for Saturday night's primetime game against Buffalo.

Giff Smith, the outside linebackers coach, was named the Chargers Interim Head Coach on Friday.

JoJo Wooden, the Bolts Director of Player Personnel, is now the Chargers Interim General Manager.

And while the Bolts aren't officially eliminated from playoff contention ahead of Week 15, their postseason odds are slim to none with a 5-9 record.

With the focus on playing well in the final three games, here are five Chargers to keep an eye on:

1. Isaiah Spiller

Spiller has gotten more run in the backfield the past two weeks. Up until Week 14, he had played just 46 total offensive snaps, carrying the ball 12 times for 27 yards. But his usage has seen a noticeable uptick of late, as Spiller has tallied 22 carries for 69 yards in the past two games while playing 36 snaps. With Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley both slated to be free agents this offseason, Spiller has a chance to keep carving out a potential role for himself in 2024.

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2. Tuli Tuipulotu

Few rookie defenders have been better than Tuipulotu this season. He ranks first in Pro Football Focus' run defense grade (81.8) among rookie edge rushers that have played at least 20 percent of the snaps. He also is tied with the most run stops (21) and run tackles (28). And he's tallied 4.0 sacks this season. With Joey Bosa sidelined with an injury at multiple points, Tuipulotu has turned into a de-facto starter with eight starts. That experience will serve Tuipulotu well for the future, too. Bosa and Khalil Mack might both be here in 2024, but it's the former USC star who has the potential to be here for the next decade-plus. We could continue to see glimpses of that scenario for Tuipulotu in the final three games.

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3. Quentin Johnston

Johnston has had an up-and-down rookie season but has shown progress of late. He hauled in a 57-yard pass from Eatson Stick against Denver and then found the end zone in Las Vegas for his second score of the season. Johnston will undoubtedly be a key part of the Bolts offense in 2024 and beyond, so a strong finish to his rookie campaign would help him enter the offseason on a high note.


4. Asante Samuel, Jr.

Unlike most of the players on this list, Samuel is a few seasons into the NFL. And believe it or not, he'll be entering Year 4 when the 2024 season rolls around. And since Samuel is a former second-round pick, that means the 2024 season will be his final one before he's slated to be a free agent. The 24-year-old leads the Chargers with a pair of interceptions this season and has two picks in each of his first three seasons in the league. Given the long-term uncertainty at cornerback, strong play from Samuel could mean he's a building block in the secondary.


5. Daiyan Henley

With Kenneth Murray, Jr. and Eric Kendricks entrenched as the starting linebackers, Henley has played just 30 defensive snaps this season. He's been an asset on special teams with 208 snaps there, but the eventual plan is for the rookie third-round pick to likely start on defense down the road for the Bolts. That might not be in 2024, but any chance for Henley to get on the field in the coming weeks will only further his development.

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