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5 Takeaways: Joey Bosa Likely Headed to Injured Reserve


The Chargers are 4-6 as they turn their attention to Sunday's night game against Baltimore.

Here are five takeaways from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley's Monday media availability:

1. Bosa likely headed to IR

Joey Bosa is likely headed to Injured Reserve with a foot sprain, Staley said Monday.

Bosa was on the field Sunday for just four plays before he suffered a foot injury on Green Bay's opening offensive possession.

The outside linebacker was initially listed as questionable to return but was later ruled out. He was seen in the second half on the Chargers sideline in a walking boot and with crutches.

"Joey Bosa has got a foot sprain and he is likely, not officially, but likely to go to IR," Staley said.

He later added: "We're just going to make final determinations, but that's the direction that it's headed."

Staley was if Bosa will play again this season.

"To be determined," Staley said.

Bosa, who must miss a minimum of four games if he goes on IR, would potentially be the second Chargers outside linebacker on that list along with Chris Rumph II.

Bosa's potential absence likely means a larger role for rookie Tuli Tuipulotu. Justin Hollins, who was added to the roster last week, could also see an increase in snaps.

Staley coached Hollins with the Broncos and Rams in previous seasons.

"Just played solid [Sunday]," Staley said. "He's versatile, he knows our system well and gave us a really solid performance yesterday."

In other injury news, Chargers linebacker Tanner Muse suffered a knee sprain against Green Bay and is also likely headed to IR.

"He is headed in a similar direction to Joey Bosa," Staley said of Muse.

Browse through live action photos of the Bolts Week 11 matchup against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field

2. Stay mentally tough

There are currently 18 teams who are .500 or better across the NFL.

That Chargers, of course, are not one of them.

But the Bolts are perhaps a play here or a bounce there from being in that group, as five of their losses have been by three points or less.

The Chargers lost to Miami by two points in the season opener and have fallen to the Titans, Cowboys, Lions and Packers by three points.

That's five losses by 14 combined points, something Staley said is the byproduct of too much inconsistency in all three phases.

"You've seen us play at a high level in spurts and stretches, but we haven't had that complete performance consistently enough," Staley said. "When every game that we lost is so tight, you're going to go back to a few plays in all three phases of your team and you're going to magnify all of those little mistakes.

"When you lose really, really close games, you're going to magnify all of those mistakes," Staley added.

Staley noted that the Bolts focus in the coming weeks is to focus on themselves and not necessarily on their opponent.

And while there was frustration in the Bolts postgame locker room Sunday at Lambeau Field, Staley said it's because everyone on the roster puts all they have into their work each and every week.

"The disappointment in all of the losses is the same," Staley said. "With this group, there's a lot of pride, we expect to win every one that we play. I think when you lose some close ones like we have, especially two in a row, there's going to be that impact.

"We lost two really tough ones in a row, but I think our guys, any frustration that you may have seen is because I think our guys really believe in each other, they believe in what they're seeing throughout the week, and they know throughout the game that you see a team that is really capable," Staley added. "I think it's frustrating when you don't get that bottom line, but what this team has done consistently is come back the next week and prepare, hang tough and be ready for the next one. That's what I expect this week."

Take a look back at the Chargers Week 11 game against the Packers in monochrome

3. Competition in the secondary

The Chargers pass defense struggled with inconsistent play again Sunday, and Staley said Monday that the Bolts are weighing some potential changes to the lineup going forward.

"We're trying to find the right combination of guys that will allow us to play more consistently," Staley said. "We want it to be competitive. That's where we're at right now with that personnel."

He later added: "It's fair to say there's going to be a lot of competition in the secondary."

One player who won't be in the mix is safety JT Woods, who remains on the Non-Football Illness List. Staley said Monday that the second-year player isn't ready to return just yet.

But everyone else will compete for spots, Staley said.

One change that we could see going forward was something the Bolts deployed in Green Bay when safety Derwin James, Jr. played a season-high 31 snaps in the slot, according to Pro Football Focus.

"That's fair to say we like that direction," Staley said. "I thought that he played an outstanding game yesterday."

Staley said the thinking behind this is to get James — whose versatility means he can play multiple positions on the field — closer to the line of scrimmage.

"We felt like this really gets Derwin in a position to impact the game more, make our front stronger in three-receiver groupings," Staley said. "The strength right now of our team is our front seven … make our front even stronger.

"Then get Derwin in a position where it can unlock even more flexibility within those five-DB groupings," Staley added. "I like what I saw [Sunday] in that role."

4. Support for Johnston

Chargers rookie wide receiver Quentin Johnston took ownership of his rough game Sunday, saying in the postgame locker room that dropped passes were squarely on him and that he has to be better.

Johnston's most notable drop came on the Chargers final possession as he was unable to haul in a long pass from Justin Herbert that would have put the Bolts in possible field goal range.

Staley voiced his support for the first-round pick Monday.

"He's going to have plenty more of these opportunities to knock them down and when you're a young player, there's going to be some things that happen to you that you're going to learn a lot from," Staley said. "The only way he's going to improve is by being in that situation. You go through some tough moments as a young player is so valuable for you, no matter what position you play.

"The more opportunities that he gets, the more comfortable he's going to be in those moments," Staley continued. "You just got to continue to prepare and improve. He's got the ability."

He later added: "He didn't lose us that football game, we lost that game as a team. We're going to keep coming back to him and that's a fact."

5. Time to go on a run

The Bolts are on the outside looking in for the AFC playoff picture at the moment.

But remember that they were in a similar spot in 2022 before getting hot down the stretch and clinching a spot in the dance.

Does Staley believe his team could do it again?

"Of course, yeah. It's wide open," Staley said.

To do that, the Chargers will surely need to go on a run. And they are in a position to do so as their final seven regular-season games are against AFC opponents, beginning with a Week 12 tilt with the Ravens on Sunday Night Football.

Staley was asked about his mindset over the final two months of the regular season.

"I feel the same every time I've ever coached a game in the NFL," Staley said. "I feel that this is the biggest game of my life, which is how I've approached every game that I've ever competed in my whole life.

"That's the approach I've brought my whole life, that's the approach I brought here and I expect us to come and compete at a high level this week," Staley added.

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