Chargers avoid major COVID-19 disruption as they prepare for Broncos

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn stands with players before a game against the Kansas City Chiefs in September.
Chargers coach Anthony Lynn stands with players before a game against the Kansas City Chiefs in September. Lynn credits his players for making sure the coronavirus hasn’t spread through the Chargers’ locker room.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
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The Chargers returned to practice Friday and remain on schedule to play Sunday at Denver following offensive lineman Ryan Groy‘s positive test for COVID-19.

After Groy’s results came back around midnight Wednesday, coach Anthony Lynn decided to cancel practice Thursday. The players who already were at the team’s facility were sent home.

Groy, who also suffered a biceps injury last weekend against Jacksonville, was placed on both the COVID-19 reserve list and injured reserve. He’ll miss at least three games.


Offensive lineman Trey Pipkins also was added to the COVID-19 reserve list Friday because of his close contact with Groy. Lynn said there’s still a chance Pipkins could be activated and play against the Broncos.

Beyond that, the Chargers appear to have escaped their first in-season experience with COVID-19 without a more significant disruption.

Chargers placed guard Ryan Groy on the reserve COVID-19 list but are not sure if anyone else is infected. They could be short-handed on offensive line vs. Broncos.

Oct. 29, 2020

“That’s a credit to the guys,” Lynn said. “They’ve done the right things for the most part with these protocols — here and away from the facility. That’s why it wasn’t any worse than it was.”

In Denver, the Broncos are dealing with a similar situation as starting right guard Graham Glasgow tested positive, a result that led coach Vic Fangio to cancel practice Friday.

Two of Fangio’s assistants also missed time recently for COVID-19-related reasons.

“We’ve said it since day one,” Lynn said. “There’s just a lot of things we’re going to have to overcome. That’s what we’re doing — the whole NFL.”

The Chargers re-entered their training center in Costa Mesa with a renewed emphasis on safety. Even on the field, players were wearing masks. All meetings were conducted virtually.

Left tackle Sam Tevi said some players experimented Friday with face shields on their helmets.

“Just felt sorry for him,” Tevi said of Groy. “You don’t wish that on nobody. But good thing we have our protocols that we’ve been following. We’re back in the building and handling our business.”


Groy began the season as a backup but started the last three games at right guard in place of Trai Turner, who has a groin injury and remains out.

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Oct. 30, 2020

Veteran Scott Quessenberry finished the game against the Jaguars after Groy hurt his biceps and figures to start Sunday. Lynn also mentioned Cole Toner as an option.

Pipkins has been starting at right tackle for the injured Bryan Bulaga, who is questionable for Sunday because of a back problem. Also questionable is Storm Norton, who is dealing with a knee injury. If Pipkins, Bulaga and Norton can’t play against the Broncos, Tyree St. Louis will start, Lynn said.

All the uncertainty up front comes as the Chargers are about to face an AFC West division rival with a defense ranked among the NFL’s top 10. The Broncos have 18 sacks through six games.

“We’ve been doing this the last couple years,” Tevi said of the lineup shuffling. “This is nothing new. We’re ready for it. We’re ready to throw whoever in there and get the ball rolling.”

Big play Guyton

Jalen Guyton has more receiving yards than Mecole Hardman, T.Y. Hilton and Sammy Watkins;. And Guyton has caught only eight passes. He has been targeted just 13 times. Teammate Keenan Allen had 13 targets and 10 receptions Sunday.

Guyton has 258 yards, a total boosted by 70- and 72-yard scores from the big-armed Justin Herbert, who, against Jacksonville, became the first quarterback this season to throw three touchdown passes of 20-plus air yards in one game.

Former NFL quarterback standout Rich Gannon sees the physical abilities of Chargers’ Justin Herbert, but believes the rookie’s ability to think quickly is a difference-maker.

Oct. 28, 2020

Guyton’s 32.3-yard per catch average easily would lead the league if he had enough receptions to qualify.

Then again, Guyton doesn’t even lead the Chargers in per-catch average. Teammate Tyron Johnson’s only reception is a 53-yard touchdown.

“I like being on the field playing ball,” said Guyton, an undrafted free agent out of North Texas. “I love being out there working, winning football games.”

Just as surprising as Guyton’s standing league-wide is that he leads the Chargers with three touchdown catches, another nod to a receiver making the most of his limited opportunities.


R.I.P Herb Adderley

Herb Adderley won six championships during his Hall of Fame career as a cornerback. Adderley, a cousin to Chargers safety Nasir Adderley, died Friday at age 81.

“Truly an unique soul who has had such an incredible influence on my life,” Nasir wrote on social media. “I’m going to stay strong because I know that’s what you would want, but I’m going to miss you so much.”


Veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor (ribs) is questionable for Sunday. If he can’t play, Easton Stick will remain Herbert’s backup. Stick and starting left guard Forrest Lamp also were deemed to be “close contacts” with Groy but both were cleared.