Mike Williams A bit ahead of schedule
Wed, Feb 7, 2024, 12:25 PM
Williams (knee) said in January that he's "slightly ahead" of schedule in his rehab from an ACL tear, Omar Navarro of Chargers.com reports.
Analysis: Williams also mentioned that he liked playing in former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore's scheme, having caught 19 passes for 249 yards and a TD prior to suffering the ACL tear late in a Week 3 game. He'll have a more run-focused coordinator in Greg Roman if he's back with the Chargers in 2024 -- something that's far from assured given Williams' $20 million in non-guaranteed compensation for the final year of his contract. He had surgery Oct. 25, exactly one month after suffering the ACL injury, and it sounds like he anticipates being ready for Week 1 of 2024.
Quentin Johnston Expects breakout in 2024
Thu, Feb 1, 2024, 2:22 PM
Johnston recently said he has a "world of confidence" in himself and expects a "breakout" in 2024 under new Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh, ESPN.com's Kris Rhim reports.
Analysis: Johnston had a disappointing rookie season by the standards of a No. 21 overall pick, catching 38 of 67 targets (56.7 percent) for 431 yards and two touchdowns in 17 games. He had just one outing with more than six targets and none with more than seven, despite making 10 starts and playing 64.6 percent of the Chargers' offensive snaps. Johnston didn't have the best circumstances, to be fair, especially after QB Justin Herbert suffered a season-ending finger injury Week 14. The new coaching staff led by Harbaugh can't possibly be worse than what Brandon Staley and co. offered, though the change does bring about the possibility of more emphasis on the running game after four straight seasons in which Herbert averaged more than 35 pass attempts per appearance. Fellow WRs Keenan Allen and Mike Williams (ACL) also are under contract for 2024, albeit with the possibility for the Chargers to free up $20 million or more in cap space if either is traded or released.
Jaret Patterson Joins Chargers
Wed, Jan 10, 2024, 6:16 PM
The Chargers signed Patterson to a reserve/future deal Wednesday, Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston reports.
Analysis: Patterson wasn't able to make his way onto the field this season, but he'll now get a chance to compete for a spot on the Chargers' 53-man roster for 2024. He probably lacks the size to ever take on a workhorse role.
Simi Fehoko Lands deal from Chargers
Tue, Jan 9, 2024, 9:45 PM
The Chargers signed Fehoko to a reserve/future contract Tuesday, Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston reports.
Analysis: Following Mike Williams' season-ending torn ACL early in the season, Fehoko got some run on offense for the Bolts, playing in six games and catching a nine-yard touchdown on two targets. The former fifth-round pick of the Cowboys will compete for a depth job in the offseason.
Max Duggan Signs deal with Los Angeles
Tue, Jan 9, 2024, 9:43 PM
The Chargers signed Duggan to a reserve/future contract Tuesday, Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston reports.
Analysis: Selected 239th overall in the 2023 NFL Draft out of TCU, Duggan was cut ahead of Week 1 and spent the season mostly on the Chargers' practice squad. He was called up a couple times after Justin Herbert's injury but never appeared in a game. Duggan will compete for a backup job in the offseason.
Elijah Dotson Stays in Los Angeles
Tue, Jan 9, 2024, 9:41 PM
The Chargers signed Dotson to a reserve/future contract Tuesday, Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston reports.
Analysis: Undrafted out of North Colorado in 2023, Dotson landed with the Chargers and had a productive preseason, rushing for 18-146-2 to earn a spot on the active roster. Dotson played 16 offensive snaps in the regular season, rushing four times for six yards and catching two passes for 13 yards. He later was cut and joined the Chargers' practice squad.
Stone Smartt Hardly involved in loss
Mon, Jan 8, 2024, 10:38 PM
Smartt caught two of his three targets for 14 yards in the 13-12 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday.
Analysis: Smartt played 294 offensive snaps in 2023 often filling in for Donald Parham as the team's No. 2 tight end when the big-bodied target was injured. The second-year undrafted free agent hasn't done much in the NFL to date, and it's possibly his roster spot could be in jeopardy next season as the Chargers undergo a complete transformation in the front office and as a coaching staff.
Derius Davis Hardly used as receiver
Mon, Jan 8, 2024, 10:33 PM
Davis caught his only target for 18 yards in Sunday's 13-12 loss to the Chiefs. He also tallied three carries for 17 yards and recorded 69 kick-return yards.
Analysis: Despite all the injuries to Chargers wideouts, the 2023 fourth-round pick was merely a gadget option, as Davis had nearly as many receptions (15) as carries (14) in his pro debut. The speedy target might have been unceremoniously passed over on the depth chart by castoff receivers such as Alex Erickson, Keelan Doss and Jalen Guyton, but Davis did prove to be an effective return man, combining for 760 return yards to go along with one touchdown. Los Angeles' receiving corps could undergo a massive overhaul due to cap woes, which would leave Davis and fellow TCU target Quentin Johnston as one of the last few pass catchers standing entering the 2024 campaign.
Keelan Doss Only one catch in finale
Mon, Jan 8, 2024, 10:27 PM
Doss caught one of his five targets for eight yards in the 13-12 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday.
Analysis: Doss had been on the Chargers' practice squad for a few years and the 27-year-old finally got a chance to play thanks to injuries to Mike Williams (knee), Joshua Palmer (knee) and Keenan Allen (heel). It's entirely possible the wideout, who first played in 2019, could see a similar circumstance occur as he enters the offseason an unrestricted free agent.
Alex Erickson Two more catches in loss
Mon, Jan 8, 2024, 10:12 PM
Erickson caught two of his five targets for 29 yards in the 13-12 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday.
Analysis: The 31-year-old joined the active roster Week 11 and, after injuries to Joshua Palmer (knee) and Keenan Allen (heel), somewhat miraculously emerged as the team's top target. finishing with 16 receptions for 232 yards, both of them higher figures than his past three seasons combined. It's safe to say the veteran won't be a highly sought-after free agent despite the positive small sample size, but it's possible Erickson could at least make a preseason roster given his special teams acumen.
Joshua Kelley Roster spot uncertain for '24
Mon, Jan 8, 2024, 9:46 PM
Kelley tallied two carries for one yard in Sunday's 13-12 loss to the Chiefs. He finished the season with 107 carries for 405 yards and two touchdowns to go along with an additional eight receptions for 32 yards.
Analysis: Kelley played 18 offensive snaps Sunday, his most playing time since Week 13. It's unclear why he suddenly jumped over Isaiah Spiller, who was a healthy inactive despite three straight weeks of relief play, but neither backup running back really did much when Austin Ekeler was healthy. Kelley finished the 2023 season with a career-high 405 rushing yards in large part due to a four-week stretch to begin the season where he operated as the starter with the aforementioned Ekeler sidelined, but he averaged just 3.6 yards per carry across 57 carries. The 26-year-old enters the offseason an unrestricted free agent and might not be a candidate to return to Los Angeles given an entire coaching and front office upheaval.
Joshua Palmer Season marred by injuries
Mon, Jan 8, 2024, 9:31 PM
Palmer, who left the 13-12 loss Sunday to the Chiefs early with a knee injury, tallied 38 receptions for 581 receiving yards and two touchdowns across 10 games during the 2023 season.
Analysis: When Palmer was healthy, the third-year receiver seamlessly stepped up in the absence of Mike Williams (knee) and established himself quickly as a reliable target opposite Keenan Allen for quarterback Justin Herbert. The 24-year-old had at least seven targets in four straight games prior to leaving the Week 8 contest against the Bears due to a knee sprain that drew an injured-reserve stint. With cap woes possibly impacting the return of both Allen and Williams, Palmer could see a significant role in 2024 alongside first-round pick Quentin Johnston in an offense that figures to see major changes from a coaching perspective.
Gerald Everett Ho-hum season as pass catcher
Mon, Jan 8, 2024, 9:17 PM
Everett, who was forced out of the 13-12 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday due to a knee injury, finished the 2023 campaign with 51 catches for 411 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Analysis: The Chargers haven't released any official information regarding the severity of Everett's injury, so it's fair to assume the veteran should be healthy following the offseason. The 29-year-old wrapped up his seventh year in the NFL with solid figures given his role essentially as a safety blanket for Justin Herbert, as he never recorded more than 50 yards receiving in a single game despite seven contests with at least four receptions. Everett enters the offseason as an unrestricted free agent that will likely draw some suitors given his constant reliability.
Quentin Johnston Minimal production on five targets
Sun, Jan 7, 2024, 8:31 PM
Johnston recorded two receptions on five targets for 17 yards in Sunday's 13-12 loss to the Chiefs.
Analysis: Even in the absence of Keenan Allen (heel), Johnston has struggled to consistently command targets. That continued Sunday, as he tied for fourth on the team with five targets, and he's failed to top that mark in three of the four games that Allen has been sidelined. Johnston closes his rookie campaign with a disappointing 38 receptions for 431 yards and two touchdowns across 17 games.
Donald Parham Big performance in Week 18
Sun, Jan 7, 2024, 8:19 PM
Parham recorded five receptions on six targets for 83 yards in Sunday's 13-12 loss to the Chiefs.
Analysis: Parham had been inactive for the last three games, initially due to a shoulder injury but then as a healthy scratch. However, he had plenty of opportunity with the Chargers' receiving corps beat up -- both Gerald Everett (knee) and Joshua Palmer (knee) left the game -- and he delivered a career-best yardage performance as a result. He accounted for three catches of more than 15 yards and proved to be one of the team's better offensive threats on the day. Parham is under contract in Los Angeles for the 2024 season, but he has a minimal cap hit, so he will likely have to compete for his roster spot.
Easton Stick Underwhelming in season finale
Sun, Jan 7, 2024, 8:08 PM
Stick completed 28 of 47 passes for 258 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions in Sunday's 13-12 loss to the Chiefs. He rushed the ball 13 times for 77 yards and also lost a fumble.
Analysis: Stick drew his fourth consecutive start with Justin Herbert (finger) sidelined. Despite taking to the air 47 times, he put up a relatively modest yardage total while averaging just 5.5 yards per attempt. He did show plenty of playmaking ability as a rusher, but the end result was still an uninspiring effort for the Chargers' offense as they mustered only four field goals. In five games this season, Stick accounted for only four touchdowns while turning the ball over five times. He's set to hit free agency and will hope to remain the backup in Los Angeles or land a second-string job elsewhere around the league.
Austin Ekeler Disappointing close to season
Sun, Jan 7, 2024, 7:41 PM
Ekeler rushed the ball 10 times for 11 yards in Sunday's 13-12 loss to the Chiefs. He added seven receptions on eight targets for 38 yards.
Analysis: The Chargers ran 80 offensive plays in the loss, with Easton Stick taking to the air 47 times. As a result, Ekeler saw limited opportunity on the ground and was held to under 15 rushing yards for the second time in his last four games. He did manage to salvage his day as a receiver by matching his highest reception total of the season. It was a fitting close to a disappointing season for the Chargers overall as well as Ekeler individually, though he did still manage 1,064 yards from scrimmage with six total scores. He'll enter free agency this offseason, leaving his potential role and team in 2024 unclear.
Joshua Palmer Hurts knee in Week 18
Sun, Jan 7, 2024, 5:41 PM
Palmer exited Sunday's season finale against the Chiefs with a knee injury.
Analysis: Prior to his departure from the contest, Palmer caught six of his 10 targets for 44 yards. With Keenan Allen (heel) already out, the Chargers' available wide receivers in Palmer's absence are Quentin Johnston, Alex Erickson, Keelan Doss and Derius Davis.
Gerald Everett Injures knee Sunday
Sun, Jan 7, 2024, 3:47 PM
Everett was forced out of Sunday's game against the Chiefs with a knee injury.
Analysis: Prior to his exit from the contest, Everett caught his only target for four yards. In his absence, Stone Smartt, Nick Vannett and Donald Parham are available to handle the Chargers' TE reps in Week 18.
Jalen Guyton Won't play in Week 18
Sun, Jan 7, 2024, 2:15 PM
Guyton (coach's decision) is inactive for Sunday's game against the Chiefs.
Analysis: Guyton didn't play the first eight weeks of the season while on the PUP list with a knee injury. He returned and didn't log any catches Week 9 but then turned some heads the following week when he caught four passes for 41 yards and a touchdown. It's been a rough time for Guyton since then, however, as he's failed to record more than two receptions or 19 yards in any of his subsequent six games even with the team's top wideout, Keenan Allen (heel), missing half of those matchups. It remains to be seen where Guyton fits into the team's future plans, but he'll finished his fifth NFL campaign with disappointing totals of 10 catches on 21 targets for 89 yards and a touchdown.