The Los Angeles Chargers have weathered a number of storms while rattling off six consecutive victories, none greater than the season-long absence of Pro Bowl DE Joey Bosa with a left foot injury.
Now, the 7-2 Chargers are welcoming Bosa back to practice for the first time since he suffered the injury in practice leading up to Week 1, head coach Anthony Lynn confirmed Wednesday. Bosa's potential return to the NFL's 14th-ranked 'D' (10th in scoring) would mark arguably as big of an in-season boon for any true contender.
Moreover, the Chargers reportedly haven't ruled out the possibility of TE Hunter Henry, who's been on injured reserve since tearing his ACL in May, rejoining the fray in 2018.
Lynn's club has performed yeoman's work not only in the absences of Bosa and Henry but those of starting CB Jason Verrett and RG Dan Feeney. The Bolts are ranked third in the NFL in yards per play, with Philip Rivers enjoying perhaps the finest — and most underrated — season of his career. They've overcome both seemingly annual injury misfortunes and kicker woes, with undrafted rookie Michael Badgley recently taking over for struggling offseason signee veteran Caleb Sturgis.
Melvin Ingram, Desmond King and Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Derwin James are among the Chargers who have picked up Bosa's slack on one of the NFL's most dangerous defenses, ranked 10th in sack percentage and sixth in interception rate. On offense, Rivers' brilliance has been buoyed by an improved O-line, Melvin Gordon and a balanced WR corps with Tyrell Williams and Mike Williams lightening Keenan Allen's load.
Is it possible too many people are sleeping on the Chargers, who reside in the same division as the 9-1 Chiefs and same state as the 9-1 Rams? Absolutely. Sure, the Chiefs could get a boost from Eric Berry, who's yet to play this season after rupturing his Achilles in last year's opener; and the Rams could soon return Aqib Talib to a pass 'D' in dire need of his services.
But as impressive as Andy Reid's Chiefs and Sean McVay's Rams — the only two clubs to beat the Bolts, in Weeks 1 and 3, respectively — have been, neither has a 23-year-old Defensive MVP-caliber game wrecker and mismatch tight end perhaps readying to join an already legit Super Bowl contender.