August is the time of emerging from "on paper" dreams to "on field" realities.
That transition has produced its annual collection of harsh realizations, largely brought on by unfortunate injuries. The Chargers met one of their own over the weekend when safety Derwin James suffered a meniscus injury during Sunday's practice that NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported is likely to cause James to miss significant time.
The Chargers are suddenly a team that, on paper and in reality, might need some help at safety, even if their coach disagrees.
"Since you guys are constantly telling me how stacked my secondary is, why the hell would I be looking anywhere else?" Chargers coach Anthony Lynn told reporters Monday, per The Athletic's Daniel Popper.
The question might not have arisen had a notable safety not recently become available, and it's not a question exclusive to the Chargers. Folks around the league, from Los Angeles to Dallas to Cleveland have all inquired similarly: Will you pursue the services of Earl Thomas?
The exercise is tried, true and most often, fruitless for those asking, but with a player with a reputation such as Thomas', such a question is essentially required. Team A has a need, and Player X could fill that need (while also generating headlines).
We've heard for a week now that teams -- emphasis on the plurality -- are interested in Thomas, who has yet to learn of his next destination. We haven't seen much clarity beyond the vague group of "teams," though, meaning these questions are likely to continue to arrive.
For Lynn, the answer is no, at least publicly, and he's clearly already annoyed by the idea. With less than two weeks before the start of the regular season, it's not exactly the best time to welcome in a needle-moving veteran. It's also not the best time to see one of your best defenders -- a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate, no less -- go down with a serious injury.