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Justin Herbert, Derwin James among Chargers who won’t play any preseason games

Peter King chats with Derwin James about his past injuries, the 2021 season and what bringing Brandon Staley to the Los Angeles Chargers has meant to the team so far.

Some coaches want their best players to get at least a few snaps in during the preseason.

Apparently, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley is not one of them.

Staley said on Thursday, per multiple reporters, that quarterback Justin Herbert and safety Derwin James are among Los Angeles’ players who won’t take a preseason snap.

According to Fernando Ramirez of, Staley also mentioned running back Austin Ekeler, center Corey Linsley, right tackle Bryan Bulaga, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, and tight end Jared Cook will have preseason games off.

Staley is in his first season with the Chargers, but the club has a long history of dealing with significant preseason injuries — including with James. After becoming an All-Pro and Pro Bowler in his first season of 2018, James suffered a foot injury that kept him out for the majority of the 2019 season. Then he missed all of 2020 after suffering a knee injury. So it makes sense that L.A. would want to keep him on the shelf until Week One.

As for Herbert, the quarterback won offensive rookie of the year in 2020 without the benefit of preseason games. And Staley coached under Sean McVay, who has rarely played his starting quarterback in the preseason. McVay said recently that he’d never play Matthew Stafford in a preseason game.

The Chargers will start their preseason slate on Saturday with a matchup against the cross-town Rams at their shared SoFi Stadium.