A few teams have announced hold outs for key starters in this year’s preseason openers, but the Chargers have taken that strategy one step further.
On Friday, the Los Angeles head coach Brandon Staley said stars Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen and Derwin James will not play throughout the entirety of the 2021 preseason, per ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter.
Chargers’ HC Brandon Staley said today that his team will not play Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen and Derwin James at all this preseason.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 13, 2021
This cautious approach could stem from the fact that the Chargers’ cross-town rival Rams lost starting running back Cam Akers with a devastating training camp Achilles injury earlier this year. With that in the back of their minds, the LA front office will look to keep their offensive weapons healthy heading into Week 1.
After claiming the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, Herbert has already solidified himself as the Chargers’ quarterback of the future. Ekeler, the team’s returning running back starter, is coming off a season riddled with injuries in 2020. Heading into his eighth NFL season, Allen has little to prove as a four-time Pro Bowl veteran.
James is the only defensive player on this preseason hold-out list. The former first-round pick burst onto the NFL scene in 2018 with an outstanding rookie season, logging a First-Team All-Pro and Pro-Bowl season from the free safety position. Unfortunately, after playing just five games in the 2019 season, James suffered a stress fracture on his right foot. Just days before the 2020 season, the star safety suffered a season-ending torn meniscus.
Week 1 will be James’ first snap in nearly two years.
Los Angeles will kickoff their preseason schedule tomorrow against the Rams.