'These aren't easy decisions' - Staley defends playing Chargers starters against Broncos

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Brandon Staley defended his decision to play his starters in the Los Angeles Chargers' Week 18 game with the Denver Broncos, insisting they managed their roster "to the best of their ability" despite wide receiver Mike Williams suffering a back injury.

Following the Baltimore Ravens' loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Chargers were locked into the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs ahead of the meeting with the Broncos.

Yet Staley kept quarterback Justin Herbert in the game until the fourth quarter as the Chargers' starters played the majority of a meaningless contest, which they lost 31-28.

Williams left the game with back spasms, though initial X-rays were negative, offering hope the problem will not impact his participation in Saturday's Wild Card round game with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

But Staley rejected criticism of how he managed the game, saying: "There's only 48 guys that you can choose from and these aren't easy decisions.

"Hindsight is perfect for everybody on the outside, but these games are not easy to manage.

"They're not, because you don't have that many players. We did it to the best of our ability.

"We were trying to compete in the game and we only have 48 guys on the team that are active for the game.

"So we wanted to make sure that they went a good ways in this football game and competed at a high level and then when we felt like it was right for them to get out of the game, then that's what we were going to do, slowly phase them out so that we could get ready for next week."