Matt Slauson out for the season: what does it mean for the O-line?

The Chargers announced that left guard Matt Slauson will miss the rest of the season with a biceps injury. It's another blow to a Chargers offensive line that has been inconsistent at best. Rookie Dan Feeney will slide into the starting lineup to replace him. So, what will this mean for the Chargers moving forward?

The good news for the Chargers is that Feeney, a third rounder from Indiana, doesn't exactly have the biggest shoes to fill. Slauson has been mediocre at times, and horrific at others. He doesn't do anything particularly well and if you agree with Pro Football Focus' rankings, he's been one of the worst interior linemen in the league.  

The place where Slauson's absence will be most felt is in veteran leadership. He's the oldest member of the line and a captain on the team. Other than that, there's not likely to be much of a downgrade from Slauson to Feeney in terms of on-field play.

Feeney struggled a bit during the preseason, and was at least partially responsible for the Broncos blocking Younghoe Koo's field goal attempt in the closing seconds of the season opener. Since then he's shown a lot of improvement, playing well in limited offensive snaps. He was a first-team all Big 10 and third-team All-American during his senior season at Indiana in which he didn't allow a single sack. He's reasonably quick and can do everything that's expected of a guard. He may struggle at first to get acclimated, but should be able to be at least average as the season goes on.

Here's an example why Slauson isn't as big of a loss as some people may think. On this play below Slauson (#68), pulls out from the left guard spot to pick up the pass rush coming from the right. He fails to even get a hand on the blitzing linebacker, who blows right by him and launches himself into Philip Rivers, who is forced to throw it away as a result. If Slauson can slow him down by even half a second, Rivers would've been able to find Antonio Gates for a big gain who was just starting to break open.

Plays like this happened much too frequently this season. And it's why, despite his loss being a blow to the Chargers' depth, his absence won't effect their offense too much. Next man up.


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