The San Diego Chargers have placed second-year defenders Melvin Ingram and Brandon Taylor on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Both players are attempting to come back from torn ACLs and should be key players on the Bolts defense once they get healthy.
Ingram’s placement on the list isn’t a surprise. He tore his ACL on the second day of OTAs back in May and could be out for the year. Ingram will likely start the season on the PUP, but the team is still holding onto the hope that he could make a late-season return. The Bolts will be relying heavily on Dwight Freeney and Larry English in place of Ingram, who was expected to break out in 2013.
Joining Ingram on the list is strong safety Brandon Taylor, who tore his ACL late in December. The news doesn’t come as a surprise, but is a little disappointing as many hoped he would be ready for the start of training camp. In his place, converted cornerback Marcus Gilchrist will take snaps with the first-time defense at strong safety. Taylor better get healthy soon as Gilchrist will definitely get a head start and become the clear frontrunner if he performs well. Darrell Stuckey could also get a shot to compete for the starting job.
Players can be activated from the PUP at any time, so not all hope is lost for Taylor to practice in training camp, which began today.
Interestingly, linebacker D.J. Smith, who is recovering from a torn ACL as well, wasn’t placed on the PUP list. Smith suffered the injury back in October while with the Green Bay Packers and was released and claimed off waivers by the Bolts in April. Smith’s injury happened much earlier than Taylor’s and Ingram’s, but due to his release by the Packers, some believed his rehab wasn’t going as smoothly as it should. Smith will be competing with Manti Te’o and Jonas Mouton for playing time next to Donald Butler.
All three recovering players are 24-years-old or younger and have bright futures with the team. None of these players should be rushed back onto the field if they truly aren’t ready, but there’s no doubt the team will be better with them contributing on the field than watching from the sidelines.