Dan Feeney to start at LG with Slauson (biceps) out for the season
By Matt Pagels
The Los Angeles Chargers have announced that left guard Matt Slauson will miss the remainder of the 2017 season after suffering a torn biceps in Sunday’s win over the Broncos.
The Chargers won their third game in a row when they shut out the Broncos 21-0 Sunday. Unfortunately, some bad news came with the good.
Starting left guard Matt Slauson exited Sunday’s game with an injury. After undergoing an MRI Monday, it was revealed that Slauson tore his biceps. The 31-year-old veteran will be out the rest of the year, according to head coach Anthony Lynn and the Chargers.
Slauson is a passionate competitor, but his move to left guard has received mixed reviews. Last year’s starting center, Slauson was the Chargers’ top graded lineman (81.2) in 2016, per Pro Football Focus. He ranked in the top 10 in run blocking a year ago, but when you watch the tape from this season, he hasn’t really performed well in that category at all (which could easily be said for majority of the team’s linemen). Slauson ends his season with a 43.1 overall grade, viewed as poor for PFF’s standards.
With Slauson out for the year, 2017 third-round pick Dan Feeney will step in as starter. Feeney struggled in the preseason and was the one who let Broncos’ Shelby Harris get by him for the blocked kick in Week 1’s loss, but he has really turned it around in limited snaps on offense since then. And the coaches have taken notice due to the fact that his snaps have continued to increase every week, per Pro Football Reference.
One play that stood out was when he filled in for Kenny Wiggins at right guard in the red zone against the Raiders in Week 6. On a screen play to the left for RB Melvin Gordon, Feeney pulled, quickly got to the second level and made a diving block in front to help allow Gordon reach the end zone without being touched. Feeney is quicker and more athletic than Slauson, so fans shouldn’t view him as a downgrade. In fact, the Indiana product could potentially be an upgrade.
Still, losing Slauson, who brings a ton of leadership to the Bolts, hurts the Chargers in terms of depth. The offensive line, which has played fairly well compared to the last few seasons, is now very thin and cannot avoid another injury. Second-round rookie OL Forrest Lamp was lost for the year after tearing his ACL in training camp.
Receiver Dontrelle Inman has been a healthy scratch the past two weeks. Perhaps the Chargers could look to make a trade with a receiver-needy team.