Los Angeles Chargers Training Camp Battles: The Right Tackle Position

Chargers Training Camp
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The Los Angeles Chargers have been continuing the process of building their offensive line this off-season. They already have Corey Linsley at center, and Rashawn Slater and Matt Feiler on the left side of the line. They added Zion Johnson with their first-round pick this year, and he will most likely take the right guard position. That leaves the right tackle position – which was their biggest weakness last year. Surprisingly, the Chargers have mostly opted to stick with what they already had on the roster on that front. This will lead to a competition for the right tackle spot in training camp for the Chargers. While the options may not look good on paper, at least one of them are not as bad as they appear, and there should be solid backup plans in play if the top two incumbent options flame out.

Los Angeles Chargers Training Camp Battles: Right Tackle Options

Storm Norton

Storm Norton was the starter for almost all of last season after Bryan Bulaga got injured early on and never came back. The results were generally disastrous. Pass-rushers that normally lined up on the left side of the line found they couldn’t get past Slater – so they got moved to the right side, and proceeded to wipe the floor with Norton. This was on display in the season finale against the Las Vegas Raiders, when Maxx Crosby made Norton essentially look like a turnstile.

While he is being kept around for depth – which is fine – there can be no scenario where he is the starter again, barring a massive turnaround. So essentially, the bar is to top his performance – which is currently not a high bar to top.

Trey Pipkins

Trey Pipkins originally started out as a left tackle – and struggled heavily in this capacity, to the point where it was almost surprising that he wasn’t cut after last preseason. Thus, it probably comes as a surprise to some that he is in direct competition with Norton for the right tackle job. However, when Norton got injured briefly, Pipkins stepped in and actually held his own – he wasn’t great, but he wasn’t an utter liability either.

Now, this off-season, he has been working with offensive line coach Duke Manyweather, who has also been credited with – among other things – helping Rashawn Slater come out to such a hot start in the league. And by all accounts, Pipkins has improved a lot this off-season, and may very well be ready to take on a starting role. With that said, this viewer and others may have a hard time believing it until they see it – and this is hardly set in stone yet either.

Jamaree Salyer

In the event that Pipkins does not prove to be satisfactory in training camp/preseason, there are some other options to go to. One of them is the sixth-round rookie Salyer, who was generally thought to have slid quite a bit from his expected draft position. He was drafted as a guard but is capable of playing essentially any position on the offensive line. It remains to be seen whether he will be ready to be a starter by Week 1, but if he is, putting him at right tackle is one option.

Matt Feiler

Matt Feiler plays left guard right now for the Chargers, and did a quite good job in that capacity in 2021, particularly as a run blocker. However, back when he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he played right tackle for most of his years there. Unlike some of the other options here, he would be a known and reliable quantity at right tackle.

That would leave a spot open at left guard, but that could potentially be filled by Salyer, who may be more comfortable playing guard rather than tackle anyway. It seems that the Chargers would prefer to keep Feiler at left guard, which is not unreasonable – but unless Pipkins does indeed prove to be as improved as has been promised, their hand may be forced.

In Conclusion

As of right now, Trey Pipkins seems to have the “most likely to start” tag at right tackle. However, this is not a guarantee. If Pipkins does not end up winning the starting job, then expect Matt Feiler or Jamaree Salyer to get put out there. While it may still seem a bit perplexing that the Chargers did not add a clear-cut starter in the off-season, they appear to have enough options that at the end of the day, they should be improved over last year, regardless of who wins the job in the end. But this competition will be one to watch during Chargers training camp.

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