Offensive line struggles and the LA Chargers have been synonymous with each other in recent years. While the offensive line looks great heading into 2023, that has not always been the case for Justin Herbert (and mostly) Philip Rivers.
One of the improvements that the Chargers made this past offseason was simply getting rid of Storm Norton. Norton struggled more than any other Chargers offensive lineman in recent years as he was tasked with replacing an injured Bryan Bulaga at right tackle in 2021.
After coming in for an injured Rashawn Slater mid-game in Week 3 of the 2022 season, the Chargers coaching staff decided it had enough. Brandon Staley entrusted a rookie sixth-round pick who was drafted to be a guard instead of Norton. Jamaree Salyer put together a great year while Norton's future with the team was written in stone.
Norton had a homecoming of sorts on Sunday evening as the New Orleans Saints were in town to play the Chargers. This brought closure for Chargers fans as Norton continued struggling just like he did when he was on the opposite sideline. Even the broadcast crew got in on it.
Storm Norton isn't the only offensive lineman that brought Chargers fans closure.
Norton was the only former Charger offensive lineman on the Saints' offensive line but he was one of two tackles to bring closure to the Chargers. The other was Trevor Penning, who the Saints selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
There was a lot of speculation about the Chargers potentially selecting Penning in the 2022 draft. He was mocked to the Bolts more than any other player and despite him being available for the team, they instead drafted guard Zion Johnson.
Penning also didn't have a great game for the Saints. The second-year tackle, who only played six games in his rookie season, got absolutely fooled by Chargers second-round pick Tuli Tuipulotu on a huge tackle for loss in the first quarter.
It was not all bad for Penning, as he put together a great rep on a Kendre Miller touchdown run in the first half. But that rep against Tuipulotu was really bad and showed fans that the Chargers probably made the right choice (in both 2022 and 2023).
It doesn't happen often but it looks like the Chargers were truly on the right side of two separate offensive line decisions. Sunday was a reminder of that.