The Los Angeles Chargers just got embarrassed by the Minnesota Vikings at home. In true Chargers fashion, former Pro Bowl tackle Russell Okung also left the game injured.
Because of that fact, the team inserted Trent Scott back at left tackle in Okung’s position. The turnovers certainly hurt, but the whole vibe from the team really turned once Okung was unable to come back.
We have seen all year that the lineup of Scott-Dan Feeney–Scott Quessenberry–Michael Schofield–Sam Tevi is far from the team’s best option up front. However, a lineup where third-round pick Trey Pipkins plays at left tackle and Scott at right tackle has shown glimpses of being a much more capable group. For whatever reason, Scott is much better or at least more comfortable on the right side than left. Many fans have exclaimed that Scott is the weak link of the line but it’s actually been Tevi.
Scoop n score Vikings pic.twitter.com/SSjDztEvKH
— Billy M (@BillyM_91) December 15, 2019
Many fans were quick to point the finger at quarterback Philip Rivers here, and yes he should have protected the football, but watch Tevi here. Unfortunately plays like this have been all too common this year from the former sixth-round pick. He showed flashes of being a capable starter last season but that has not come to fruition in 2019.
The problem with all of this is that the team has weirdly benched Pipkins as a healthy scratch. That is not how you develop your tackle of the future. He NEEDS all the reps he can get.
The moment Okung went down, he should have been the one to be inserted into the lineup. It’s not just that he needs reps either when given the chance he has actually been the team’s second-best tackle.
Against the Kansas City Chiefs in Mexico, many fans blamed him for giving up too many pressures, but the film showed that he actually played very well. Context matters and giving up four pressures in your first NFL start while being left one on one all night against one of the better pass rushers in the league is actually pretty impressive.
He flashed all the tools a team would need out of its starting left tackle.
Trey Pipkins is going to be a good one. Gave up four pressures, but it's because the Chargers often left him on an island to defend one on one. They showed a lot of trust in him, and for 53/57 dropbacks, he pulled through.
Still needs development, but the potential… He's good. pic.twitter.com/pvnEg3CHwU
— Jason Balliet II (@Syntari13) November 19, 2019
Even if Okung ends up healthy enough to play this week, the team should let Pipkins get the start and move Scott to the right side. The main goal for the last two games needs to be player development.
Any young player that needs reps should be getting as many as possible. All these decisions to favor players like Tevi and Denzel Perryman need to go in the opposite direction. Let guys show what they can do, especially ones like Pipkins who are crucial to the team’s future.