The Chargers will have to get past the Jaguars without Mike Williams.
The team announced on Friday that Williams will remain in Los Angeles to undergo further treatment for the back injury he suffered in Week 18 against the Broncos. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero later reported that further testing revealed a fracture in Williams’ back that will sideline him for multiple weeks.
It’s a poor look for Brandon Staley and the Chargers. Williams was injured in a game where LA had nothing to play for: they were already locked into the five seed by virtue of a Ravens loss earlier in the day. Then, on Monday, Staley said in his weekly press conference that Williams would practice at least once, with the expectation that he would play on Saturday. After three straight DNPs from the receiver, Staley said Thursday that rest was more important than practice reps and that Williams would be questionable. Less than 24 hours later, Williams has been ruled out.
Back injuries have a notoriously variable recovery timeline, so perhaps Staley was optimistic about Williams’ chances heading into a playoff game. But this is a pattern of behavior regarding inconsistent messaging from the Chargers’ head coach, and it will cost LA one of their most valuable players on offense.
Without Williams, LA will turn to Josh Palmer, who has 72 catches for 769 yards and 3 TDs on the season, to start opposite of Keenan Allen.
The team also announced they elevated running back Larry Rountree III and defensive tackle David Moa from the practice squad for Saturday’s contest.