Charg­ers ready for opener

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Sports - By BRIAN GOLDEN Val­ley Press Staff Writer

It’s deja foot, all over again. The Charg­ers open their 60th an­niver­sary season Sun­day against the In­di­anapo­lis Colts at newly-named ROKit Field at Dig­nity Health Sports Park, and darned if there isn’t an­other in­jured foot to stum­ble over. Der­win James, a rookie sen­sa­tion at strong safety, will miss the first half of the season af­ter surgery to re­pair a hair­line frac­ture of the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot.

CAR­SON — It’s deja foot, all over again.

The Los An­ge­les Charg­ers open their 60th an­niver­sary season Sun­day against the In­di­anapo­lis Colts at newly-named ROKit Field at Dig­nity Health Sports Park, and darned if there isn’t an­other in­jured foot to stum­ble over.

Der­win James, a rookie sen­sa­tion at strong safety, will miss the first half of the season af­ter surgery to re­pair a hair­line frac­ture of the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot.

It was Joey Bosa whose trou­ble­some foot kept him out for the first nine weeks of the season in 2018.

“We’re def­i­nitely go­ing to miss Der­win,” Bosa said. “But he’ll be back.

“Last year I had to miss half the season, and we still ended up 12-6. We’re all ex­cited how far we can go this year.”

The Charg­ers beat the Chiefs in Kansas City, tied them for the AFC West cham­pi­onship, and went on the road to Bal­ti­more and pounded out an im­pres­sive vic­tory over the Bal­ti­more Ravens. then the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots told them how far they were from their goal.

“We came a long way last year, but it was un­fin­ished busi­ness,” said third-year Charg­ers head coach An­thony Lynn. “No one is sat­is­fied with how last season ended.

“We start this year as a bet­ter foot­ball team.”

The ad­di­tion of peren­nial for­mer Carolina Pan­thers Pro Bowl line­backer Thomas Davis Sr. — whom his team­mates voted de­fen­sive cap­tain — strength­ens what was al­ready a solid de­fense.

Hold­out run­ning back Melvin Gordon re­mains a noshow.

So Austin Ekeler and Justin Jack­son move up to han­dle the bulk of the run­ning game, be­hind a re­tooled of­fen­sive line cov­er­ing for the loss of left tackle Rus­sell Okung.

Okung is re­cov­er­ing from a pul­monary em­bolism suf­fered in June.

Trent Scott, who has one start in his ca­reer, moves in at left tackle, with sec­ond-year tackle Sam Tevi on the right side.

“This team has al­ways op­er­ated on the next-man-up phi­los­o­phy,” Lynn said. “We ex­pect noth­ing less from our of­fen­sive line.”

In­di­anapo­lis be­gins the season with Ja­coby Bris­sett at quar­ter­back, af­ter the sud­den re­tire­ment of An­drew Luck. Vet­eran Brian Hoyer was signed as a backup.

Mar­lon Mack re­turns af­ter a sur­prise 900-yard, nine-touch­down season at tail­back. Dar­ius Leonard is the leader of the de­fense af­ter an all-pro rookie season at line­backer.

“They’ve got huge of­fen­sive line, they’ve got mul­ti­ple backs who can run the ball, and they won 10 games and then a play­off fame on the road (at Hous­ton) last year,” said Charg­ers de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Gus Bradley. “We’ve got our hands full right out of the gate.”

As­so­ci­ated Press

HURT — Los An­ge­les Charg­ers free safety Der­win James ( 33) dur­ing the first half of an NFL pre­sea­son foot­ball game against the Ari­zona Car­di­nals on Aug. 8 in Glen­dale, Ariz.

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