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Rashawn Slater likely done for season; Joey Bosa dealing with ‘significant’ injury

Chargers offensive tackle Rashawn Slater walks next to another man.
Chargers offensive tackle Rashawn Slater walks off the field during Sunday’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Coming off one of the franchise’s ugliest defeats in recent memory, the Chargers continued losing Monday:

  • Pro Bowl left tackle Rashawn Slater is expected to be sidelined the rest of the season because of a torn biceps.
  • Pro Bowl edge rusher Joey Bosa has a groin injury that’s “significant” — coach Brandon Staley’s word — and will miss time.
  • Wide receiver Jalen Guyton, the team’s truest speed threat, also is done for the season after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament.

Slater’s loss is the most significant, coming at a time when the Chargers’ offensive line already was struggling to protect injured quarterback Justin Herbert and create space for the running game.

Chargers wide receiver Jalen Guyton (15) is helped off the field after injuring his knee against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Chargers wide receiver Jalen Guyton (15) is helped off the field after injuring his knee against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Guyton tore an ACL and is done for the season.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
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“Rashawn’s an All-Pro player,” Staley said. “He’s one of the best tackles in the game. So it’s gonna be a tough loss for us.”

Slater, a 2021 first-round pick who quickly became a standout, was hurt in the third quarter of the Chargers’ 38-10 loss to Jacksonville, a defeat linebacker Drue Tranquill termed “embarrassing.”

Against the Jaguars, the Chargers also played without Pro Bowl center Corey Linsley, who continues to deal with a knee problem.

Those absences helped Jacksonville continually pressure Herbert and limit the Chargers to 26 yards in 12 rushes.

“I thought that as a group we didn’t play well enough up front,” Staley said Monday. “I think that was clear.”

Entering Week 4, Staley said he’s “really hopeful” Linsley can return to practice after missing the last game-and-a-half. The Chargers play at winless Houston (0-2-1) on Sunday.

With the Jaguars well on their way to a blowout road win over the Chargers, Brandon Staley should have insisted star injured Justin Herbert come out of the game.

As for replacing Slater, Storm Norton filled in against the Jaguars and struggled mightily, surrendering eight pressures on 23 pass-blocking opportunities, according to Pro Football Focus. He also was called for holding twice.

The team’s starting right tackle in 2021, Norton lost that job to Trey Pipkins III before the beginning of this season.

Unless the Chargers go outside the organization to find another tackle, Norton likely will take over, allowing for the fewest number of changes along the offensive front.

Explained Staley, “We’re going to try and keep things as consistent as we can.”

Attrition isn’t the only problem the Chargers have faced up front. Even one of their healthy players, left guard Matt Feiler, has struggled coming off a solid first season with the team.

Feiler has given up 14 pressures, according to PFF, after surrendering only 25 last season.

“We have a lot of confidence in Matt Feiler,” Staley said. “We know what type of player he is. We’ve got to make sure that we don’t overreact to the beginning of the season. … Matt’s certainly proven himself for us and with us.”

Chargers linebacker Joey Bosa, middle, is checked on by trainers during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Chargers linebacker Joey Bosa, middle, is checked on by trainers during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He could miss significant time with a groin injury.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The loss of Bosa also will be influential after a game in which the Chargers did little to disrupt Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence. They failed to sack Lawrence and hit him only twice.

Bosa left late in the first quarter and immediately retreated to the locker room, walking with a noticeable limp.

Staley said he did not know if Bosa would be placed on the injured reserve list, a move that would require the four-time Pro Bowl player to miss at least four games.

In March, the Chargers traded for star edge rusher Khalil Mack in order to pair him with Bosa. That plan was effective for the first two games but now goes on hold.

Staley said Pro Bowl wide receiver Keenan Allen should return to practice this week after he suffered a hamstring injury in the season opener. Allen practiced one day last week but was unavailable against Jacksonville.

The Chargers also are hopeful that Pro Bowl cornerback J.C. Jackson is nearing a return. The team’s top free-agent signing of the offseason, Jackson missed the opener before playing in Week 2 at Kansas City.

The Chargers played so poorly Sunday in a home blowout loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars that it prompted a postgame team meeting.

He was not able to practice last week or play against the Jaguars, however, because of what Staley described as continuing issues with inflammation. Staley also said the Chargers weren’t guilty of rushing Jackson back from an August surgical procedure on his ankle.

“He was cleared to play in that game [against the Chiefs] and played well in that game,” Staley said. “But I think afterward, we just wanted to make sure that moving forward nothing serious happened long-term.”

Staley also said the hope is that Donald Parham Jr. can practice this week. The backup tight end has yet to play this season because of a hamstring injury.

Herbert decision doesn’t sit well

One day after allowing Herbert to remain in a game the Chargers were losing late by four touchdowns, Staley said he needs to do a better job communicating the circumstances to his young quarterback.

Herbert, who is playing with fractured rib cartilage, said he wanted to finish the game and not “quit” on his teammates. He was insistent about staying in and Staley obliged him.

“Our team already knows how much you care about them,” Staley said, relaying a potential conversion with Herbert. “You playing in this ballgame alone shows how much you care about them. They know the type of fight that you have. They’ve seen enough evidence here over your first three seasons.

“It’s hard for a player, right? It’s hard to get a player to understand that. … You saw Justin, like how sincere he is and how much it means to him. So, hopefully, I can do a better job moving forward in a situation like that, of getting through to him that our team respects his game and respects his competitive spirit as much or more than anyone.”

Staley also took responsibility for Herbert finishing the game.

“It was my decision to put him on the field,” he said. “But you’re talking to your players throughout the game. … When you’re in the fire like that you’re always doing things together. All the decisions that are made out there on that football field go directly through me. That’s why I’m ultimately responsible, and I take full responsibility for it.”


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