The Los Angeles Chargers made a questionable late-game decision regarding rookie wide receiver Quentin Johnston during their loss against the Baltimore Ravens. Johnston, the Chargers' first-round draft pick, was taken out of the game late in the third quarter.
Johnston Exits After Hard Hit to Ribs
Johnston went down hard after dropping a pass on 2nd and 12, clearly shaken up as he grabbed his ribs in pain. After the injury, Johnston did not return to the game at any point.
However, Chargers' head coach Brandon Staley revealed that taking Johnston out was ultimately a coaching decision rather than a medical one.
"It wasn’t that he couldn’t go back into the game, it’s just that we didn’t feel like — through the flow of the game, with where he was — that it was the right thing to go back into the game," Staley said postgame.
Alex Erickson Chosen Over Johnston in 4th Quarter
Rather than put their rookie weapon back on the field, the Chargers opted to roll with practice squad elevation Alex Erickson instead late in the game.
The decision to bench a talented offensive talent like Johnston in favor of Erickson was a questionable one from the coaching staff. It may hint at frustrations with Johnston's development or fit in the offense.
What This Means for Johnston and Staley Moving Forward
The Chargers' 4th round draft pick will now look to rebound over the final six games of the 2022 season. Building momentum heading into his sophomore year will be crucial.
For coach Staley, his seat gets hotter as questionable coaching decisions pile up during a disappointing 5-6 season so far. With six games left, Staley will need to turn things around quickly to ensure a third season in charge.