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What Options Do the Chargers Have at Left Tackle With Rashawn Slater Out For the Season?

The Chargers are tasked with finding a new starting left tackle with Rashawn Slater set to miss the remainder of the season.

The Chargers have moved to a 1-2 record following Sunday's 38-10 blowout loss against the Jaguars. It was a gut check game for the Chargers, who showed encouraging signs the first two weeks, before losing by four touchdowns in their latest showing.

But more devastating than the Week 3 loss itself, was the season-ending injury to standout left tackle Rashawn Slater. 

In the third quarter, Slater tore his biceps when getting out of his stance and engaging a block on Jaguars defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris on a first-and-goal try from the Jacksonville 10-yard line.

After the game, Slater was in the locker room with his left arm in a sling. On Monday, he underwent tests on his biceps and the results confirmed the worry of the Chargers – that Slater is expected to be sidelined the rest of the way in 2022.

“Rashawn is an All-Pro player. He is one of the best tackles in the game," Staley said. "It’s going to be a tough loss for us, but we’re going to make sure, over the next couple of days, that we put good contingencies in place, that we put a group out there that can really play together, give us a chance to be the offense that we’re capable of being. We’re going to have to get to work over the next couple of days in order to get that done.”

Slater, already one of the game's top left tackles in just his second NFL season, will be impossible to replace. His value to the offensive line entails going one-on-one with any edge player in the league, providing high-end protection for Justin Herbert in the process of doing so.

When Slater left the game, the Chargers turned to Storm Norton at left tackle. Across the 23 pass-blocking snaps Norton played in Slater's absence, he allowed eight pressures, according to the metics of Pro Football Focus. Norton allowed more pressures than any other Chargers offensive lineman in Week 3 and he played nearly half the snaps.

So where do the Chargers go from here at left tackle?

While Norton caused reasons to be concerned with how he fared during the final two quarters against the Jaguars, he still remains an option at left tackle for the outlook of this season.

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Sixth-round pick Jamaree Salyer, who spent training camp and the preseason primarily working at guard, could be another option worth trying at left tackle. Salyer served as Georgia's blind side protector on their National Championship team last season, making 20 starts at the position over his final two years in the college ranks.

The Chargers could also move Trey Pipkins to the left side and insert Norton at right tackle. Though, when asked Monday if Pipkins could encounter a positional change, Staley indicated that's probably more unlikely than it is a reality.

“We’re going to look through that over the next couple of days. We do have those options that you mentioned," Staley said regarding Pipkins or Salyer at left tackle. "That’s what we’re going to try and determine, moving forward, is not trying to make too many moves where there is going to be a lot of moving pieces, where guys could potentially be doing a lot of new things. 

"We’re going to try and keep things as consistent as we can. What you can bank on is us putting the five guys out there that we feel like give us the best offensive line to be successful. That’s going to be our approach over the next couple of days, finding that right combination of five.”

In terms of the options to be explored externally, the crop of free agent left tackles aren’t great.

I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of an addition to the team, but even if a player is brought in, it could be to fill the swing tackle role as things point towards Norton or Salyer as the starting left tackle moving forward.


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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.