The Los Angeles Chargers will be without star left tackle Rashawn Slater for the rest of the season after he ruptured his left biceps tendon in Sunday’s 38-10 home loss to Jacksonville.
Slater, a Northwestern product who the Chargers selected with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, was a starter in his first Pro-Bowl appearance as a rookie last year.
Slater left the game against the Jaguars in the third quarter and was replaced by backup OT Storm Norton. L.A. was also without Pro Bowl center Corey Linsley (knee) in Sunday’s loss.
The absences of Linsley and Slater in the fourth quarter make the decision by L.A. head coach Brandon Staley to keep star QB Justin Herbert in the game even more egregious.
Herbert suffered fractured rib cartilage in a Week 2 loss at Kansas City. Whether he would play against Jacksonville or not seemed to be a coin-flip decision all week long.
Jacksonville took a 31-10 lead with 1:15 remaining in the third quarter. After the Chargers were stopped on downs with 14:10 left in the fourth quarter, Staley undoubtedly should’ve informed his franchise QB that he was done for the day.
Then when Jacksonville ate up more than nine minutes of clock and scored another TD to make it a four-possession game with merely 4:54 left, it became an absolute given that Herbert should not touch the field again.
Nevertheless, Staley trotted Herbert back out on the field in a game that was completely decided despite dealing with an extremely painful injury. On the ensuing drive, Staley called 14 passing plays and only one run, putting Herbert in harm’s way 14 more times without his two best offensive linemen.
The Chargers fell to 1-2 going into a road game at Houston. They play at Cleveland the following week before returning home to face Denver and Seattle on Oct. 9 and Oct. 17, respectively.
L.A. also faced Jacksonville without star WR Keenan Allen, who is coping with a hamstring issue. CB J.C. Jackson missed his second game of the year as he continues to recover from ankle surgery.
Finally, Pro Bowl edge rusher Joey Bosa left the loss to Jacksonville in the first quarter with a groin injury and didn’t return. In other words, yesterday couldn’t have possibly gone any worse for the Chargers unless Herbert suffered another injury.
Although that didn’t happen, it wasn’t because Staley used any common sense to prevent the possibility of such an occurrence.