Keenan Allen, Joey Bosa challenge Chargers teammates to make plays

COSTA MESA – Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen knows the importance of surpassing Hall of Famer Charlie Joiner for second place on the all-time team leaderboard for receptions.

Allen aspires to be one of the greatest Chargers of all time, but Monday afternoon was not the time to think about his latest achievement.

“It’s dope,” said an uninterested Allen of Joiner’s 586 receptions overshadowed. “Let me know I’m doing my job, I’m consistent.”

With 589 catches, Allen has done his job for the Chargers for the past eight seasons, but he’s tired of losing. He is frustrated with missed opportunities and sick of undisciplined mistakes.

Allen was not brief when talking about the Chargers’ latest maddening defeat. They were outplayed by the Miami Dolphins in all three stages last week, and the special team’s slow performance caught the eye of the star wide receiver.

“Jumping offside on the field goal is undisciplined,” Allen said of Quenton Meeks’ penalty that allowed the Dolphins to return to the field and score a touchdown. “You want to get the block, but at the same time you can’t give them a scoop.”

Allen rarely calls teammates. He’s more of a leader who leads by example, with 589 career receptions and three consecutive Pro Bowl appearances.

Joey Bosa’s defensive ending is the same way, but he too was frustrated by the latest defeat. Bosa, who was sidelined with a concussion, saw his defending teammates drop three possible interceptions against the Dolphins. The Chargers only have eight takeaways this season, tied for 28th place in the NFL.

“You could say that we should prepare this and that better, but at the end of the day, if we get a chance to turn the ball around, play a little, then we should,” said Bosa, “and that begins. “I’m coming back this week. I have to do better to go for the ball at the quarterback.”

Bosa and Allen are not team captains, but they are two of the best Chargers players there will be in the years to come. The star players have a long-term commitment to the Chargers when they signed lucrative renewals this summer.

With the playoffs likely not being an option, Bosa and Allen are looking for teammates who want to play for pride for the rest of the season and build a winning culture for future seasons. The Chargers (2-7) have lost seven of their past eight games.

“I’m not asking you to do a cartwheel and then do a back flip and pluck it with one arm between your legs and then go into the end zone,” Bosa said. ‘When the ball is thrown at you, you have to play. I’m not pointing fingers, but if you want to win and you want to be a great team, you have to call it out and tell it how it is.

“And I always want to say it starts with me, because I’m just as big a culprit as anyone.”

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn had no problems with his star players calling on teammates to make plays.

“There’s nothing wrong with that,” Lynn said Friday. “I like peer-to-peer accountability, so yes, we definitely need more people doing plays. … Both guys, they normally lead by example, but it wouldn’t hurt me if they spoke a little more. ”

Bosa returns to the field against the New York Jets on Sunday to help his teammates capitalize on opportunities. He was cleared of the concussion protocol on Wednesday and had a full week of practice.

Allen will continue to play as he chases Antonio Gates for first place on the team’s list of all receptions. Gates, who retired last season, is leading by a wide margin with 955 catches.

“We still have a lot to fight for,” Allen said. ‘We have pride, last name on our back and then our own legacy. As we talked about before, I’m still after Gates, so I still have a lot to play for myself. I keep showing up. Hopefully the guys will see that and continue. ”

The theme of The Chargers this season is the same as the past decade: bloated leads and loss of one score.

Allen and Bosa have suffered most of those frustrating losses.

“It’s been like this since I’ve been here,” Allen said. “We have lost a lot of close games for almost the past eight years. When we are in charge, we still lose. We have to find a way to get out of that groove. ”

Allen and Bosa were paid decent this summer, but they also re-signed a contract to give the franchise its first Super Bowl title.

This season could be lost, but if other players like Bosa and Allen want to get paid, they’ll have to cash in on their chances and make groundbreaking moves in the last seven games of the season.

“Who knows what will happen if we win,” said Bosa. “We’re going 9-7. Crazier things have happened. Whether it’s playoffs or not there is a lot of pride in this dressing room and they watch the movie whether you win or lose. ”


Long snapper Cole Mazza was on the list for Sunday after not exercising for the past two days due to illness.

Lynn said he will decide between fullback Gabe Nabers and offensive tackle Trey Pipkins to tackle the position if Mazza is unavailable.

“Those guys always worked on it during training camp,” said Lynn. “Hopefully Cole can go, but if not, those guys will do well. … Both guys were backup snappers in college, but no, they don’t have much experience. ”

Lynn said he could promote linebackers BJ Bello and Cole Christiansen from the exhibition squad to play special teams against the Jets. Lynn said he wanted to shake up the unity after last week’s shoddy performance in Miami.


Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor returned to training on Friday after missing two days due to a rib injury. He is listed as questionable of the Jets.

Taylor, the former starter, broke his ribs in the season-opening win against the Cincinnati Bengals. He reportedly had his lung punctured the following week after a medical trainer mishandled a pain-relieving injection for the injured ribs. Taylor missed six games because of the injuries.

“He didn’t deteriorate,” Lynn said of Taylor. ‘He’s doing fine. He just wanted to have something checked. Once he checks that out … he’s confident he can play in the game and be fine.