COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Coach Brandon Staley left open the possibility that all four players on the Los Angeles Chargers’ reserve/COVID-19 list could be available Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Defensive tackles Jerry Tillery and Christian Covington, along with linebacker Drue Tranquill tested positive while linebacker Joey Bosa went into protocols as an unvaccinated close contact. Of the three, Bosa has the best chance if he tests negative for a fifth straight day Saturday.
Getting Bosa and at least one other defensive lineman back would be important because the defensive line has been hampered by injuries. Defensive tackle Linval Joseph has not practiced all week and is doubtful due to a shoulder injury he sustained in last Sunday’s 27-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Joe Gaziano and Breiden Fehoko are expected to see extended playing time with the defensive line being short-handed. Both were signed as undrafted free agents last season.
“That’s part of the NFL but we have a lot of confidence in these guys and they’ve improved a lot,” Staley said. “I think where we were at the beginning and where we are now with all of our guys are different and so we expect them to go play well.”
The biggest area where the lack of bodies on the defensive line could affect the Chargers is run defense. They are last in the league and have to go up against Steelers’ rookie running back Najee Harris, who is sixth in the league with 646 rushing yards.
The Chargers (5-4) listed safeties Mark Webb (knee) and Alohi Gilman (quadriceps) as doubtful, and running back Justin Jackson (quadriceps) and defensive back Trey Marshall (knee) as questionable.
Quarterback Justin Herbert showed up on Thursday’s practice report with an oblique issue but has been a full participant the past two days.
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