Some things in this world happen naturally. The planet rotates on a 24-hour schedule. The sun rises and then sets, separating day and night. And members of the San Diego Chargers break down and are placed on the Injured Reserve (IR) list. Some things are just meant to happen on a consistent basis. A sad fact for Chargers’ fans.
On Dec. 14, Brandon Flowers became the 18th member of the Chargers to be placed on the IR list. Flowers suffered a concussion during Week 10 against the Miami Dolphins. Entering Week 15, he still hasn’t been cleared to return to game action. His absence puts another dent in the team’s already thin secondary.
Other players added to the IR:
Keenan Allen tore his ACL during the second quarter of the Chargers’ Week 1 game at Kansas City. Allen’s injury was a non-contact injury. The team’s No. 1 receiver was expected to have a productive season. His absence this season has been noticed.
Steven Johnson and Sean Lissemore never saw playing time during the regular season. Johnson was placed on the IR after suffering a knee injury (again) on Aug. 15. Lissemore, a 303-pound nose tackle, was placed on the IR for a shoulder injury the same day.
Branden Oliver, who was supposed to be listed as the No. 3 running back on the depth chart, was placed on the IR on Aug. 30 after tearing his achilles. While he’s only 5’8″, Oliver has shown himself to be another effective weapon out of the backfield for quarterback Philip Rivers.
Speaking of weapons out of the backfield, No. 2 running back Danny Woodhead was placed on the IR on Sept. 19 after suffering a torn ACL during the Chargers’ Week 2 game against Jacksonville. Woodhead is said to be well-liked by both fans and his fellow teammates. The same as Allen, Woodhead’s absence has been a blow to the offense this season.
After losing Woodhead, the team signed Dexter McCluster. McCluster played in a handful of games before being placed on the Reserve Non-Football Injury list for a broken forearm. It was ruled as a non-football injury because he suffered the forearm fracture while moving luggage in his home.
Starting cornerback and pro-bowler Jason Verrett was added to the IR on Oct. 5 for a torn ACL. The team was optimistic about the secondary this season with Verrett returning, the addition of Casey Hayward from Green Bay, and Flowers’ perceived improvement in preseason. Verrett missed more than half the season and Flowers returned to form. However, Hayward has been valuable in the secondary, sharing the NFL lead in interceptions with seven.
The team started the season with significant depth at the linebacker position, which was a good sign that the team would be competitive in the talent-heavy AFC West. However, that depth has dwindled over the course of the season. Manti Te’o was placed on the IR on Sept. 28 for a torn achilles. While he isn’t comparable to, say, Justin Houston or Von Miller, he was one of the starting inside linebackers. Jeremiah Attaochu is another linebacker added to the IR. His addition to the list came after the team’s 21-13 win at Houston on Nov. 27. He suffered a broken foot during the game. He struggled with staying healthy throughout the season as well.
Brandon Mebane was placed on the IR on Nov. 14 for a torn biceps. Mebane’s absence from the roster meant the team lost another defensive lineman.
The Chargers have stayed with the trend of entering a season with optimism, only to watch that optimism winnow away when key players go down with season-ending injuries.
What gives? It would be nice if anyone could answer that and come up with a solution.