As All-Pro left tackle Rashawn Slater begins his road to recovery from a biceps injury suffered last week, the Chargers turned to sixth-round rookie Jamaree Salyer to step in as Justin Herbert's blindside protector.
Salyer, a left tackle during his final two years at Georgia, initially transitioned to guard since being drafted by the Chargers. Throughout training camp and the preseason, the bulk of his reps have came from the interior alignment.
In having one week to transition back to his natural position, Salyer passed his first test with flying colors.
"He stepped in there and I felt the time that I had back in the pocket," quarterback Justin Herbert said. "For a guy to be able to step up, first NFL game, first time playing, I thought he did an incredible job.”
Salyer recorded a 90.4 pass block grade and didn’t allow a single pressure across 41 pass blocking snaps against the Texans, according to the metics of Pro Football Focus.
"Poised, strong, assignment-sound," Chargers coach Brandon Staley said when describing Salyer's performance. "Good to get him out there and experience the game with his teammates. He’s a work-in-progress. We have to make sure that we continue to work at his game and get him in that comfort zone. I thought that his teammates helped him get into a good rhythm. I felt like he finished the game playing well, giving us a chance to close that game out there on that last drive.”
In the days leading up to Salyer making the start at left tackle, he said Slater was somebody he frequently referenced throughout the week. On Monday, after reflecting on the Week 4 game, Salyer continued by saying that Slater has been a valuable resource throughout the process of getting re-acclimated back off the edge.
"Anything he could press upon me before the game, and even during the game, he was there, pretty much coaching me on the sideline," Salyer said of Slater He’s been there every step of the way. I couldn’t learn from a better person."
Salyer received a game ball from Staley in the locker room after the game. He's getting the inscription put on it by the equipment team before giving the ball to his mother.
“It was a special moment for me, obviously," Salyer said. "Just having my mom be there and having my high school coach be there. It was a very special moment for me because we talked about this a lot — that the moment will come and just being ready for it, no matter how it shows up. It just so happened to show up at left tackle.
"The thing I felt the most is just appreciative that the coaches and the people in this organization believed in me, my teammates. They expressed that to me before the game. The main thing they were saying is, ‘We believe in you. Don’t worry about it. You’re here because we believe in you.’ That meant a lot to me."
Salyer held his own – and then some – against Texans edge rusher Jerry Hughes, who entered Sunday's game with a 35.7% pass rush win rate. The rookie will look to reciprocate a similar outcome in Week 5 when the Chargers head to Cleveland and he'll be faced with the Browns duo of Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney.
“Two freakishly athletic specimens," Salyer said of Garrett and Clowney. "They have been doing it for a minute now, being special and doing what they do. I’m excited for the challenge. I’ve never shied away from any challenge, shied away from any person."
More from Charger Report
- 5 Takeaways From Chargers' 34-24 Week 4 Win Over Texans
- Chargers Secure Second Win With Bounce Back Game, Outlast Texans 34-24
- Live In-Game Updates: Chargers at Texans Week 4
- Chargers at Texans Week 4 Inactives
- Pregame Report: Chargers at Texans Week 4
Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.