Joshua Kelley

Los Angeles Chargers
Running Back #27
Los Angeles Chargers
Running Back #27

Joshua Kelley News

Quiet in return

Kelley carried the ball two times for four yards and caught two of his three targets for 16 yards during Sunday's 25-24 win versus the Cardinals.

Analysis: Kelley made his return to action after spending the past four games on injured reserve with a sprained MCL. Kelley saw both the second most snaps and touches amongst the Los Angeles running backs, but the third-year back still had less touches and yards than he had in all but one other game he's played the entirety of. As long as Austin Ekeler remains healthy, Kelley's usage should not be expected to increase, but is still worth holding onto in case the star running back gets hurt.

Nov 29, 2022 11:10 AM EST

Returns to active roster

The Chargers activated Kelley (knee) from injured reserve Saturday.

Analysis: Kelley has missed the requisite four games on IR as a result of an MCL sprain, but his return to action was forecast Wednesday when the team designated him for return. With three practices likely under his belt this week, he at least will be an option for L.A.'s backfield behind starter Austin Ekeler with Isaiah Spiller, Sony Michel and Larry Rountree. In six appearances this season, Kelley has averaged 4.5 YPC on his 23 rushes and hauled in seven of 10 targets for 56 yards.

Nov 26, 2022 1:42 PM EST

Designated to return from IR

Kelley (knee) has been designated to return from IR by the Chargers, Aaron Wilson of reports.

Analysis: With the move, the Chargers have a 21-day window to evaluate the running back, though coach Brandon Staley indicated Wednesday that if Kelley has a good week of practice he could be activated ahead of Sunday's game against the Cardinals. Once he's back in the mix, Kelley will look to reclaim a complementary role behind top option Austin Ekeler in a Los Angeles backfield that also includes Isaiah Spiller, Sony Michel and Larry Rountree.

Nov 23, 2022 3:07 PM EST

Expected to practice this week

Coach Brandon Staley said Monday that Kelley (knee) is expected to practice this week, Daniel Popper of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: The third-year running back was placed on IR at the end of October due to a knee injury. When Kelley does return to practice, it'll open a 21-day window for the Chargers to add him to the active roster.

Nov 21, 2022 1:46 PM EST

Placed on IR

Kelley (knee) was placed on injured reserve Saturday, Daniel Popper of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: This isn't a shocking development given Kelley hadn't practice at all this week, and information following the injury Monday seemed to be relatively guarded by the Chargers. Sony Michel appears poised to take over as the team's primary backup, but rookie fourth-round Isaiah Spiller could also work his way into the rotation after being a healthy inactive to begin his career.

Oct 22, 2022 1:51 PM EST

Not playing Sunday

Kelley (knee) has been ruled out for Sunday's game versus the Seahawks, Eric Smith of the Chargers' official site reports.

Analysis: Kelley made an early departure from Monday's eventual win against the Broncos with what eventually was deemed to be a sprained MCL. He subsequently didn't practice this week and may be in line for a multi-game absence as a result of the injury. In Kelley's absence, Sony Michel and rookie fourth-round pick Isaiah Spiller will be the reserve running backs behind L.A.'s top option Austin Ekeler.

Oct 21, 2022 1:43 PM EST

DNP on Wednesday

Kelly (knee) was listed as a non-participant on the Chargers' injury report Wednesday.

Analysis: Kelley's absence from practice is no surprise, as he is expected to miss extended time after suffering an MCL sprain during Monday's win over the Broncos. The third-year running back split carries with fellow backup Sony Michel over the first six weeks of the season, recording 23 rushes for 104 yards and a touchdown and seven receptions for 56 yards. It's unclear exactly how long Kelley will be sidelined moving forward.

Oct 19, 2022 8:19 PM EST

Likely out multiple weeks

Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said Tuesday that Kelley suffered an MCL sprain during Monday's win over the Broncos and will be sidelined for multiple weeks, Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Analysis: Kelley was riding the stationary bike after leaving Monday's contest, so the issue didn't initially appear to be too serious. However, Staley's comments suggest otherwise. It's possible Kelley winds up on IR to open up another roster spot, but in his absence, Sony Michel figures to operate as the top backup behind Austin Ekeler.

Oct 18, 2022 2:10 PM EST

Hurts knee on MNF

Kelley (knee) is questionable to return to Monday's game against the Broncos.

Analysis: Kelley went to the blue medical tent along the sideline, then exited the tent and began riding the stationary bike along the sideline. While his injury doesn't appear to be too serious based on that series of events, it remains to be seen whether Kelley can return Monday. Sony Michel will be an option to spell Austin Ekeler while Kelley's sidelined.

Oct 17, 2022 6:15 PM EST

First TD of year

Kelley carried the ball 10 times for 49 yards and a touchdown in the 30-28 win over the Browns on Sunday. He also caught both of his targets for 33 yards.

Analysis: Kelley actually tallied the second most receiving yards on the team Sunday in what amounted to a heavy attack on the ground. It's entirely possible head coach Brandon Staley and company simply chose to ride the hot hand, but it's worth pointing out Kelley tallied 10 carries to Sony Michel's one, a possible sign the platoon backup backfield situation could be seeing a new hierarchy taking place. In any case, the third-year back still remains firmly behind Austin Ekeler who set a career high in rushing yards Sunday and also scored two touchdowns.

Oct 9, 2022 3:31 PM EST

Does little in win

Kelley carried the ball four times for 15 yards and didn't catch either of his two targets in Sunday's 34-24 win over the Texans.

Analysis: Kelley has routinely seen the larger snap share of backup platoon with Sony Michel, but it was the veteran who ultimately outsnapped Kelley 17 to 14 in a game in which the Chargers rode a comfortable lead for much of the contest. Kelley has been the more explosive of the backup backs in terms of yards per carry, but he's seen nine fewer carries with Michel seemingly locked in as the between-the-tackles ballcarrier.

Oct 3, 2022 6:58 PM EST

Operates as No. 2 back

Kelley attempted four carries for 22 yards in Thursday's 27-24 loss to the Chiefs. He also caught one of his two targets for three yards.

Analysis: Kelley played 19 offensive snaps compared to Sony Michel's nine, but the tandem ultimately saw the same amount of touches in a game in which the Chargers could never solidify a dominant lead. Expect the third-year back to continue operating in a timeshare as the backup to Austin Ekeler.

Sep 16, 2022 8:18 AM EST

Splits time as backup

Kelley tallied four carries for 21 yards and also snared two receptions for 14 yards in Sunday's 24-19 win over the Raiders.

Analysis: Both Kelley and newly signed Sony Michel worked in tandem to spell nominal starter Austin Ekeler as the duo combined for 34 offensive snaps compared to Ekeler's 33. Kelley outsnapped the new veteran 18 to 16 and produced significantly more in terms of yardage (35 total yards to Michel's 12), but the lack of carries (four) could complicate an already muddy backup backfield situation if Ekeler were to get injured.

Sep 13, 2022 8:02 AM EST

Even with Rountree after preseason

Kelley rushed six times for 40 yards and caught his only target for one yard in Friday's 27-10 preseason loss to the Saints.

Analysis: Kelley and Larry Rountree split the early reps at running back. The former looked more explosive, but the latter found the end zone despite mustering just 12 rushing yards on six attempts. Both Kelley and Rountree figure to mix in behind Austin Ekeler early in the season while rookie fourth-round pick Isaiah Spiller works his way back from an ankle injury, but Spiller could wind up being the No. 2 running back later in the season unless one of Kelley or Rountree shows substantial improvement compared to previous years.

Aug 26, 2022 8:04 PM EST

Logs seven carries Saturday

Kelley rushed seven times for 18 yards and failed to bring in his only target in the Chargers' 32-18 preseason loss to the Cowboys on Saturday night.

Analysis: Kelley was the first running back into the game and logged the first offensive touch for Los Angeles, and he paced the Chargers ground game in carries overall. Recent reports had Kelley leading the competition for the No. 2 running back job, and with Isaiah Spiller (ankle) having suffered an injury Saturday, competition may be an even more clear-cut proposition going into the exhibition finale.

Aug 20, 2022 10:16 PM EST

Leading RB2 competition

Kelley has seen more first-team work than Isiah Spiller and Larry Rountree at training camp, Daniel Popper of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Kelley, Spiller and Rountree are competing for the No. 2 RB job behind Austin Ekeler, who is coming off a career year in which he played 60-66 percent of the team's offensive snaps on each of first, second and third down (in his 16 active games). Kelley, Rountree and Justin Jackson all had shots to spell Ekeler last year, rotating through the No. 2 role without much success. The highlight for the group was Week 16 when Jackson went for 162 total yards and two TDs in a fill-in start, but he's now with the Lions, replaced by fourth-round rookie Spiller. Kelley was a fourth-rounder himself back in 2020, and while he's averaged only 3.2 YPC and 6.6 YPR on 144 career carries and 28 catches, he did start the preseason strong with six touches for 44 yards in a loss to the Rams this past Saturday. Between that and his work in camp, Kelley seems to have an early lead for the No. 2 spot, though Spiller remains the upside fantasy play of the bunch.

Aug 17, 2022 7:51 AM EST

Compiles 44 total yards in opener

Kelley rushed three times for 16 yards and secured all three targets for 28 yards in the Chargers' 29-22 preseason loss to the Rams on Saturday night.

Analysis: Kelley opened the game as the starter with Austin Ekeler inactive and logged the first two rushing touches for the Chargers. The 2020 fourth-round pick's production was impressive on a per-touch basis, and he'll continue his battle with rookie Isaiah Spiller and Larry Rountree for the No. 2 running back job in next Saturday night's preseason home matchup against the Cowboys.

Aug 13, 2022 10:26 PM EST

Mundane second season

Kelley tallied 33 carries for 102 yards and five catches for 38 yards across the 2021 campaign.

Analysis: The 2020 fourth-round pick took a dramatic step back after a disappointing rookie campaign, often waffling between the No. 3 and No. 4 back throughout 2021. At this point it's not even certain whether Kelley will be retained following back-to-back seasons under 3.5 yards-per-carry, but the Chargers lack of depth behind stalwart Austin Ekeler might give the UCLA product enough wiggle room to compete for a depth role come next season.

Jan 26, 2022 9:23 AM EST

Does little with six touches

Kelley had five carries for seven yards and caught his lone target for 14 yards during Sunday's 41-29 loss to Houston.

Analysis: Kelley played 27 percent of the offensive snaps and did little with his opportunities in the absence of Austin Ekeler (COVID-19 protocols), while Justin Jackson totaled 162 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. Ekeler is back and should reclaim the every-down role for the final two weeks of the season, but it's clear Kelley is entrenched as the No. 3 tailback with Jackson serving as the top backup option.

Dec 28, 2021 6:38 PM EST

Critical fumble in loss

Kelley carried the ball seven times for 21 yards to go along with one fumble in Thursday's 34-28 overtime loss to the Chiefs.

Analysis: Kelley's fumble could have long-term ramifications considering the goal-line gaffe was simply an egregious mistake in a pivotal situation. While the second-year back has seen 17 carries over the past two weeks with the Chargers carefully managing Austin Ekeler's ankle injury, Kelley has predictably struggled with the usage averaging close to three yards per carry. It's entirely possible Larry Rountree, who was a healthy inactive Thursday, could push for additional playing time in light of Kelley's latest miscue.

Dec 17, 2021 7:04 AM EST

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