The Chargers’ offensive line was dealt a massive blow during yesterday’s loss. Left tackle Rashawn Slater suffered a torn biceps tendon, and will likely miss the remainder of the season, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter).
It was already known that the 23-year-old was eyeing a lengthy absence in the aftermath of the team’s game against the Jaguars. This represents the worst-case scenario after today’s testing, though, and could be a crippling loss for Los Angeles’ offensive front.
The No. 13 overall pick last year, Slater was an immediate full-time starter on the blindside as a rookie. He entered the league with questions about whether he would be better suited on the inside at least to begin his career. He answered those rather definitively, earning Pro Bowl and Second-Team All-Pro honors.
The Northwestern alum generated a PFF grade of 83.6 last year, and his play led to similar ratings so far this season. The Chargers have taken significant steps in recent years to protect quarterback Justin Herbert, including the selection of Slater and signing of center Corey Linsley last offseason. The team invested another first-round pick in Zion Johnson this April to man the right guard spot.
With those two in place, Los Angeles should be better-equipped to handle a loss like this than in years past. Still, replacing Slater with, in all likelihood, Storm Norton, will notably weaken the team’s o-line. This news also marks another unfortunate update on the injury front early in the campaign.
Reserve tackle Andrew Trainer is on IR. More significantly, cornerback J.C. Jackson has only played in one contest so far, after undergoing offseason ankle surgery. Herbert is currently dealing with the rib cartilage injury he suffered last week, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Yesterday, four-time Pro Bowler Joey Bosa suffered a groin injury which will necessitate further tests (Twitter link via Pelissero’s colleague Ian Rapoport). Regardless of the length of the pass rusher’s absence, the Chargers’ 2022 prospects have taken a major hit.