Chargers HC Brandon Staley comfortable with calling on LB Nick Niemann

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On Saturday, the primary storyline was the ankle injury to linebacker Kenneth Murray, which forced him to be carted off the practice field.

According to The Athletic’s Daniel Popper, Murray re-injured the same ankle that knocked him out of the Cowboys game briefly in Week 2.

Even though he is questionable for Monday night’s game against the Raiders, the severity of the injury is still up in the air, and there’s a chance that he could be sidelined for it.

If so, Kyzir White and Drue Tranquill will likely receive the bulk of the workload. However, rookie Nick Niemann could find his way into the linebacker rotation this week.

Following practice, head coach Brandon Staley was asked how Niemann has been coming along with his development, and if he felt the former Iowa product could be counted on with some defensive snaps.

“What he’s done a nice job of doing is carving out a four-core role on special teams,” Staley said. “I just feel that he’s been an impactful player in that way, and on defense, you’re able to see him go against a premium offense every day and see that type of athleticism.

This guy just sees the game. He is a gym rat. He is long and he’s there’s still so much development in his body. I think one year from now his body is going to look a lot different. But he’s working hard at his game and we really like coaching him. I would have no problem putting him in a game.”

While Murray, White, and Tranquill spent nearly all of the three-game preseason slate out of the action, it was Niemann who took advantage of his extended playing time.

Niemann showed the tackling ability and instincts to impact the run game and the athleticism to show up in coverage. As a result, he finished with the most tackles (28) in the NFL in preseason play.

We should know more about Murray’s status in the coming day. But if he’s unable to go, the coaches are confident that Niemann could play a role in his absence.