The Chargers lost Pro Bowl cornerback J.C. Jackson for the season Sunday when he ruptured the patellar tendon in his right knee.
For a team that has been hit hard by injury, the Chargers can replace Jackson with a player who has started plenty for them.
Veteran Michael Davis took over after Jackson left the game against Seattle and, barring any personnel changes, will return to the starting lineup when the Chargers resume practice after their off week.
The team also has time to pursue a cornerback with the NFL trade deadline approaching Nov. 1.
Coach Brandon Staley said Monday that he and Chargers management will meet over the coming days to discuss all options for upgrading an operation that to date has produced a 4-3 record.
“If those avenues are possible,” Staley said of looking outside the organization, “we’ll definitely explore them.”
In his 10th year as general manager Tom Telesco never has made a deadline deal to acquire a player.
But, before March, Telesco also never had traded anything as high as a second-round pick for a player before making the move to add edge rusher Khalil Mack.
So, perhaps in a trade market that could be active, Telesco will make more personal history.
The Chargers also could be shopping for a wide receiver with Mike Williams suffering a high-ankle sprain Sunday against Seattle. Staley said Williams’ return “will be a matter of weeks, not days.”
The team also is dealing with the loss of Joshua Palmer, who was unavailable versus the Seahawks because he remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol.
In Week 3, the Chargers lost their speediest outside threat in Jalen Guyton, who suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Pro Bowl receiver Keenan Allen has been limited to 45 snaps this year because of a hamstring problem.
Allen returned Sunday and caught two passes for 11 yards in the first half before sitting out the remainder of the game.
Staley said Allen warmed up well but gradually lost confidence in his ability to perform at a necessary level. He said Allen did not suffer a setback against Seattle.
“As the game progressed throughout that second quarter,” Staley said, “he just didn’t feel like he could really burst the way he wanted to and didn’t want to risk anything happening to it.”
A season after having a top-five offense in yards and points, the Chargers often have sputtered in 2022. They are eighth in yards and 12th in points.
“You can’t compare one year to the next,” Staley said. “I think that that’s dangerous to say, ‘Oh, well, you’ve regressed.’ Yeah, we’ve regressed compared to what happened last season. But it’s about this season for us and are we doing everything we can to maximize this group.”
Still, the Chargers have struggled to move the ball with the sort of efficiency they did for stretches in 2021. They are 26th in rushing having produced only one game with more than 81 yards on the ground.
They are middle of the pack converting third downs at a rate of 40.6% and a less-than-pedestrian seven of 17 on fourth down. Staley noted that his offense has been inadequate, especially on third and short.
“I certainly think that the continuity or lack thereof has been a huge factor in what’s happened,” he said. “I think that’s just normal. But … we make no excuse. You go into every week and try to play the game to the best of your ability with the group that’s out there.”
The abundance of absences also has limited the Chargers in explosive-play production. Despite having Justin Herbert and his big right arm, this offense has only eight plays of 35 or more yards. The Chargers have yielded 13 such plays.
Even with the lingering issues and mounting fan unrest, Staley defended the performance of offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, praising his efforts while managing what Staley called “many significant adjustments.”
“There’s been a lot of moving parts,” Staley said. “I think he’s done a good job keeping us together. His experience is something that we lean on because he’s had to go through it as an NFL coach.
“He’s got to make improvements just like the rest of us do. But I know how hard he works. I know the level of preparation, the level of detail. … Just glad that he’s our offensive coordinator.”
The Chargers also lost Chris Rumph II on Sunday, Staley announcing the edge rusher suffered a sprained MCL. Rumph is expected to miss multiple weeks, with pass rusher being another position the Chargers could explore in trade talks.
The team is without Pro Bowl defensive end Joey Bosa, who remains out indefinitely because of a groin injury that happened in Week 3.