On Monday, the Los Angeles Chargers received the unfortunate news that left tackle Rashawn Slater had a torn bicep and would likely be out for the season. Given that Storm Norton was the player who came in relief of Slater on Sunday when the latter first got hurt, that opened a lot of questions – and some fan panic – as to whether Norton would be the starter going forward – a prospect that would likely have been disastrous. However, fans can exhale a little, as Brandon Staley has announced that – at least for Week 4, but presumably going forward barring very poor play – Jamaree Salyer will be the starter at left tackle.
Plan is for Jamaree Salyer to start at LT on Sunday, per Brandon Staley.
— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) September 28, 2022
Jamaree Salyer Will Be the New Starter at Left Tackle for Los Angeles Chargers
Rookie Called to Action
Assuming that the Chargers hadn’t brought any new offensive tackles in (which was unlikely), the other assumed option besides Norton seemed to be to move Trey Pipkins back to left tackle; that would’ve required some more shuffling around of the offensive line, but Pipkins at least had experience there. However, they instead chose to go with the rookie guard Salyer – which, among other things, will mean that the Chargers do not have to shuffle anyone else around.
Salyer was drafted in the sixth round, but he shouldn’t be underestimated. He was expected to be drafted higher – as high as the third round. However, he may have slipped due to his injury history. Those who are not familiar with Salyer might wonder why a guard is starting at left tackle, but Salyer actually played left tackle in his junior and most of his senior year when he was at Georgia – and he finished Second-Team All-SEC in 2021.
Jamaree Salyer as a Charger
This was actually one of the main attracting factors about Salyer – he is capable of playing any spot on the offensive line, even center (though that was the one he wanted to improve at). The Chargers drafted him to play guard, and he likely would’ve been the first guy in line if either Matt Feiler or Zion Johnson had gotten hurt. However, he will instead be protecting Justin Herbert’s blindside.
Admittedly, Salyer is not likely to be a world-beater in the early goings. There’s a reason that he didn’t get a starting role right away. He will get beat sometimes. But, at minimum, he should be able to do better than Storm Norton would have in that role. That may not be a tall order, but it’s reason enough to be a little relieved. They needed to put the best option they had there, especially with Herbert playing hurt – and that would not have been Norton. Salyer may or may not prove to be the best-case scenario either, but it does at minimum prevent further shuffling around of the offensive line, and will give us an early look at a versatile lineman that the Chargers seem to have high hopes for.
The Chargers play the Houston Texans in Week 4, who gave them a nasty shock last year when nearly half the starters were out with Covid. Compared to some of the edge rushers that the Chargers have to deal with in the first three weeks, the Texans are a bit of a relative breather – Jonathan Greenard and Jerry Hughes are not as problematic as Maxx Crosby, Frank Clark or Josh Allen. So this should be a good place for Salyer to get his first reps without being thrown to the wolves right away against some more top-tier pass-rushers.
The news of who is starting at left tackle for a team following an injury normally should not be particularly big, but when it seemed like at first they might be going with an option that would’ve definitely led to an already injured Herbert getting throttled, it makes the news of an admittedly raw but more promising prospect being the starter bring a slight harbinger of hope. Much of the Chargers fanbase was desperately in need of that following a rough Sunday and start to the week.
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