Rarely in the NFL does a head coach get to walk to the podium on a Monday following a football game and deliver positive injury news.
But in a world filled with joint sprains, ligament tears and bone breaks, Lynn and the Chargers, for a change, got to spend time talking about someone being healed — an important component that could help balance out a pretty solid defense.
Linebacker Denzel Perryman, who has been out since the first preseason game after undergoing surgery on his left ankle, is set to take the field in two weeks when the Chargers resume their season at Jacksonville.
Heading into the team’s bye week, Lynn said he expects Perryman not only to play, but to return to the top of the depth chart.
“Denzel’s been practicing for the last couple of weeks anyway, so I have a pretty good idea where he’s at,” Lynn said. “But I think it’s safe to say he could slide right back in and start.”
Perryman is eligible to come off the injured reserve list this week, though the transaction could wait until after the Chargers return from the break Monday. The team won’t practice at all during its bye week.
“I just want them to get away and recharge. It’s something Mike Holmgren used to do with his team, with the Packers. He had one of the best bye-week records in the league at the time. I thought about that,” Lynn said. “And I just thought about the season we’ve had so far. It’s been a grind. … And I need some time just to spend with the coaches with the players out of the building as well.”
The Chargers will examine how best to use Perryman, a developing leader at middle linebacker in his third season. He should bolster their struggling run defense, which has improved in the last three weeks, and give them desperately needed depth at their thinnest defensive position.
“It’s going to be great having him back, just his energy level and what he brings to the defense. He’s very well-respected,” Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “I think a lot of the players, when they saw him start to practice and getting in some reps, they were excited about that. So I think, with the linebacker situation, I’m anticipating him starting, coming and doing that. But just the rotations, now we’re trying to move some guys in and out, and hopefully in the coming week we’ll see him practice and kind of solidify that part of it.”
Injuries less of an issue
In the past, the Chargers would have a string of good luck with injuries, knock on wood, and probably break a hand or something.
But so far this season, the team has flipped the narrative on the injury front, avoiding disasters through the season’s first eight weeks.
In addition to Perryman’s preseason injury, the Chargers lost rookie lineman Forrest Lamp and cornerback Jason Verrett to knee injuries and lineman Matt Slauson to a biceps tear. But other than those three, the team has been relatively healthy.
First-round draft pick Mike Williams has recovered from back problems, avoiding surgery to work his way back onto the field. Running back Melvin Gordon has been banged up but hasn’t missed a start. Starting right tackle Joe Barksdale has been dealing with turf toe.
“I think, overall, this team has been pretty healthy the first half of the season,” Lynn said. “That was one of our goals going into the offseason, to do some things differently in our offseason program and our training room. I think the guys have done a pretty good job of that.”
- Williams saw his snaps increase Sunday in New England, playing a season-high 22. Safety Jahleel Addae was the only Charger to play all 86 snaps on defense.
- Lynn said he plans to attend Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
- Though the players won’t be back until Monday, Chargers coaches will continue to work, looking back on the first eight weeks while readying for Jacksonville in Week 10.
- Lynn said rookie Dan Feeney, who replaced Slauson at left guard, played well in his first start Sunday against the Patriots.
Woike writes for the Los Angeles Times.
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