COSTA MESA, Calif. — The Chargers offense received a boost this offseason when Rashawn Slater lined up again to protect quarterback Justin Herbert’s blindside.
Slater received no shortage of accolades after his rookie season; Second-team All-Pro, Pro Bowler, and PFWA All-Rookie Team.
He suffered a torn bicep three games into the 2022 season where much was expected from him. He could have returned if the Chargers had beaten the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
He is now healthy and ready for the season.
“I think I’ve improved as a player since then, just in the way that I see the game and in my technique,” Slater said. “I definitely think there was a lot to improve upon that year. I don’t anticipate taking any steps back, that’s for sure.”
Things on the offense have changed a bit since he was last the starter. He will now lineup next to second-year guard Zion Johnson, who had an impressive rookie year.
“I cannot wait just to get rolling,” Slater explained. “Zion is a freak athlete. Naturally, any double-team we have; it just happens like that, I feel. Very explosive, very smart.”
The offense missed Slater, even though Jamaree Salyer was serviceable in his absence. The running game suffered due to him not playing as well as the pass protection.
They should be a lethal combination, especially with the direction that the offense will be taking this year. They will be an offense that, even though they will be pushing the ball down the field, will need to run the ball better than they have in the past.
“I think we’re coming out and, as an O-line, we’re setting that tone, for sure,” Slater said. “I think we’ve done that these first few days, and it’s only going to get better.”
As Slater returns from injury, he will get up to speed quickly especially having to face edge rushers Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa in practice.
“Every training camp, it’s like, if you have just one little mistake in your technique here, they’re going to find a way to exploit that,” Slater explained. “They really keep you honest. The margin for error is so small, I think it really teaches you quickly what you’re doing wrong and what you need to fix because once they see something, it’s over.”
The offense will face some tough pass rushers to start the season in Dolphins Jaelan Phillips, Cowboys Micah Parsons, and Raiders Max Crosby, to name a few.
That means Slater will need all the help he can get, so he picks the brains of Bosa and Mack any chance he gets to improve his game.
“We spend a lot of time, especially in the afternoon walkthrough when we have a little more time in between plays, we’ll have little conversations about hand placement, timing, stuff like that,” Slater said. “I think we get a lot out of it on the field and in our conversations.”
The Pro Bowl left tackle will protect their recently extended $262.5 million quarterback.
Even though he only has one season and change under his belt, Slater feels he can pick up where he left off.
“I definitely want to be the best version of myself,” Slater said.
Nuts N’ Bolts
- Josh Palmer had a great one handed grab, a la Antonio Cromartie, on cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. Palmer will be pushing to be the number three receiver the rest of camp.
- Cornerback J.C. Jackson continues to work himself back into practice. He was able to practice yet again on Tuesday morning.
- Right tackle Trey Pipkins was in street clothes during practice.