COSTA MESA, Calif. — While the Los Angeles Chargers did not have the season they wanted or expected in 2019, head coach Anthony Lynn discovered one thing from a handful of meaningless games at the end of the season.
Derwin James is healthy and back as a playmaking safety.
“I thought DJ has played well every game he has been back, to be honest with you,” Lynn said. “I love his motor, his demeanor, and it doesn’t matter what the score is. He is taking it one play at a time and he is giving it everything he’s got.”
James suffered a Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal of his right foot during a joint practice against the New Orleans Saints on Aug. 15. The injury was a refracture of an initial stress fracture he suffered heading into his sophomore season at Florida State.
Foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson performed surgery to repair the issue on Aug. 22 in Green Bay. The Chargers placed James on injured reserve to start the season, forcing him to miss the first 11 games.
James returned after the team’s bye week, totaling 33 combined tackles and a pass breakup in five games played. More importantly, James came through the end of the season healthy and should be good to go during the offseason in preparing for next season.
“There is a lot of growth [potential] for him because I think he’s created a standard,” Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “As he keeps going, that standard will increase. There are areas that he is driven not to be satisfied where he is, and nor are we.
“He’s playing multiple positions for us now. He’s playing defensive end, he has played linebacker, so we have a lot on his plate. I think that, as we look at him more and more — we had quite a bit going into the season. We’ve calmed that down now, but I could see us getting back to more of that, especially in the offseason.”