COSTA MESA — The Chargers on Friday listed linebacker Daiyan Henley and edge rusher Chris Rumph II as doubtful to play against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday because of hamstring injuries. Henley was hurt in their Aug. 25 exhibition against the San Francisco 49ers. Rumph was injured this week in practice.
Their injury report was minuscule compared to last season at certain points, when their roster was depleted by significant ailments to significant players. Henley and Rumph were listed as backups on an unofficial depth chart. Henley is third at his position on the chart and Rumph is second at his.
Rumph’s absence could leave the Chargers shorthanded at a position at which they are relatively thin beyond starters Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack, two of the best pass rushers in the NFL. Tuli Tuipulotu, a rookie from USC, is the likely backup for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins.
Coach Brandon Staley said Friday that the Chargers wouldn’t change their game plan for Sunday if Rumph is sidelined. Rumph is one of several players the Chargers count on heavily for special teams play, however, which might require some juggling on the kickoff and punt teams.
“Nothing major,” Staley said.
Henley was not present for any of the four periods reporters were permitted to observe during the week, including Bonus Monday. Rumph worked out on the sideline with a member of the athletic training staff during the past few days, appearing closer to a return to the practice field than Henley.
Three of five players who suffered season-ending injuries in 2022, including cornerback J.C. Jackson, appeared set to play Sunday. Jackson, who ruptured his right patellar tendon, might be limited on a snap count, but Staley said earlier in the week that it might be determined during the game.
Defensive lineman Austin Johnson (knee) and offensive lineman Rashawn Slater (biceps) are the others poised to return to the starting lineup. Wide receiver Jaylen Guyton (knee) and defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia (knee) will start the season on the PUP list, missing the first four games.
INJURIES (PART 2)
Miami left tackle Terron Armstead was ruled out of Sunday’s game because of injuries to his ankle, back and knee, leaving the Dolphins vulnerable at a key position to the onrushing Bosa or Mack (depending on the Chargers’ defensive alignment). Bosa said it wouldn’t change the Chargers’ approach.
“We’re going to just try to stay aggressive,” Bosa said. “I know there are going to be quick passes, which can kind of get you flustered when you’re a rusher and you’re winning rushes and you’re getting back there and the ball is out. Just staying consistent with our rushes and, most importantly, stopping the run game, which will allow us, obviously, to rush the passer.”
The passer in question is Tua Tagovailoa, a dangerous opponent.
“He is getting better every year,” Bosa said. “He has some incredible weapons, (wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle). I think the big thing is stopping the run game. We’ve, obviously, had our troubles over the years with the run game. I think that’s the biggest focus we have, is stopping the run game and then, hopefully, just putting a cover over Tua down the field and getting to him.”
CREDIT THE CHARGERS
Last season, the Chargers held Tagovailoa and the Dolphins to 219 yards in total offense during a 23-17 victory, specifically by jamming their receivers at the line of scrimmage and preventing passes over the middle of the field.
Tagovailoa told reporters in South Florida this week that “the Chargers had a great game plan for us last year. Tip your hats to their coaches. They took away a lot of things we felt comfortable running.”
The Dolphins, who ranked third in the NFL in yards per game (386.7) and second in passing offense (291.9 yards per game) through the first 12 weeks of the 2022 season, were 3 for 11 on third downs and were limited to 49 offensive snaps against the Chargers in one of their worst offensive showings of the season.
Here are the Chargers’ 5 biggest questions for this season
Chargers QB Justin Herbert the same only different going into Year 4
Chargers’ J.C. Jackson primed for return to lineup after serious knee injury
2023 Chargers defense: Position-by-position breakdown
2023 Chargers offense: Position-by-position breakdown