The Los Angeles Chargers have a full-blown fiasco on their hands.
Head coach Anthony Lynn addressed the situation again Wednesday, this time with the public aware of exactly what happened to quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
News broke Wednesday morning with a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter the team doctor punctured Taylor’s lung with a pain management injection prior Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Taylor was a late scratch with what was described as a chest injury, and Lynn revealed postgame that he had to be hospitalized. NFL Network reported on Monday that that “chest injury” was actually a result of complications from a pregame injection. Now we know that injection damaged one of Taylor’s lungs.
Lynn throws support behind doctor
Lynn confirmed the report with reporters on Wednesday and also shared his thoughts on the team doctor.
“I’m not angry at all,” Lynn said, per NFL Network. ... “No one’s perfect. ... The doctor is a good man. It’s just unfortunate.”
Lynn is in the position of navigating a minefield here through no fault of his own. Beyond the obvious and immediate concerns around Taylor’s health, Lynn is left to manage what is all of a sudden a very precarious quarterback situation with legal implications and the long-term trajectory of the team in play.
Herbert to start Sunday vs. Panthers
Rookie quarterback and presumed future of the franchise Justin Herbert dazzled in his unexpected debut in Taylor’s absence Sunday. He looks ready to take the reins. And he’ll start again on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
Lynn confirmed the expected on Wednesday, announcing Herbert as the starter this week with Taylor not ready to go. Lynn told reporters that the team isn’t planning to place Taylor on injured reserve and reiterated his stance that Taylor will remain the starter once he’s cleared to play.
“You never wanna see a guy lose his job this way,” Lynn said.
It’s a different tone than Lynn took when managing the information prior to the news about Taylor’s punctured lung went public. On Monday, Lynn put his stance on keeping Taylor as the starter on Herbert not being ready, flying in the face of what was obvious to everyone who watched Sunday’s game.
“There's a lot we didn't get done with Justin on the field yesterday,” Lynn said on Monday “He's a backup for a reason.
“It’s not like we won the damn game yesterday. We lost.”
Taylor a leader in Chargers locker room
Taylor, a team captain, is obviously well-liked in the Chargers locker room and has the respect of Lynn and his teammates. Lynn said that Taylor played in Week 1 with the rib injury that required the Week 2 pain injection without complaint and has been working with Herbert to get him ready to start this week.
“He’s been real professional about it,” Lynn said.
All that makes this even more difficult for Lynn.
Would Lynn really bench a successful Herbert?
Lynn’s right. You don’t ever want to see a guy lose his job like this. But if Herbert expands on the promise he showed in Sunday’s game against the Chiefs next week and beyond, what’s Lynn going to do? Put a star rookie quarterback back on the bench?
Taylor, a 31-year-old journeyman, was never the answer here. Herbert is the guy. He’s the quarterback with the first-round pedigree expected to be the long-term replacement for Philip Rivers. Once the Chargers drafted Herbert, Taylor’s role became that of a placeholder.
At the same time, what happened to Taylor’s health and potentially his career because of medical negligence is unfortunate.
These two conflicting realities exist in the same space. Lynn for now is publicly backing a well-liked quarterback put in a terrible situation. But at some point, this scenario’s going to require a painful decision one way or the other.
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