After a disappointing loss to the Texans, the Chargers need to bounce back against the Broncos this Sunday.
Derwin James, who was cleared to play, is a pivotal player who should boost the Bolts’ chances to come out on top and stay alive in the playoff race.
James has been dealing with a hamstring injury that kept him out of Week 14 against the Giants, limited him in the Week 15 matchup against the Chiefs early, and miss last weekend’s contest against Houston.
Earlier this week, defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill spoke on the importance of James’ presence.
“It’s definitely hard to replace when Derwin’s not out there,” Hill said. “He’s obviously the vocal leader, as well as the alpha guy in the huddle. His presence was definitely missed last week. When that happens, you’re so used to going through the whole season and having him there, it’s kind of like, ‘Who’s the next guy to step up and take that on?’
It’s hard to replace a guy like that. That’s what he brings. He brings that presence. He’s that vocal leader. I think he has a good sense of when things aren’t going right and when he does need to pick those guys up. It definitely expresses itself when he’s in there and it is definitely felt when he’s not in there.”
Los Angeles has struggled to find competency on the defensive side of the ball in prior weeks, and one of the primary factors is that they didn’t have the do-it-all defender, making plays in coverage, against the run, and as a pass rusher.
Along with James, the Chargers will have Chris Harris Jr., Michael Davis, Nasir Adderley, and Alohi Gilman available, as they were removed from the COVID-19 list.
In 13 games, James, who was named to the Pro Bowl, has 103 tackles, five tackles for loss, five passes defended, two sacks, and a pair of interceptions.