NFL PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
My NFL Performance Of The Week (Week 4) was an absolute no-brainer. Rookie Offensive Lineman Jamaree Salyer of the Los Angeles Chargers put on an unimaginable performance to most football fans before Sunday. When All-Pro Left Tackle Rashawn Slater went out with a season ending bicep tear, questions arose as to who would step in and fill that presumed massive void. A number of different suggestions, both internal & external, were presented. At the end of the day, Salyer (who played LT at UGA) was tabbed as the man for the job.
To properly paint the picture, we need to go back to a year. Jamaree Salyer, in my opinion, was not only a top two best tackle in college football last year, but he was also a top 3 OL overall for me. Not only was he an All-SEC performer, Salyer was named to multiple All-American teams. If you’d turned in the tape, he stood out immediately. He played RT, LT & LG during his time at UGA. Versatility, power & unique athleticism for a man that size were in full display. He rose to popularity after his dominant performance against the number 2 overall pick & Michigan All-American Aidan Hutchinson in the Orange Bowl.
You may ask yourself, how does a guy like this fall to the 6th round? Your guess is as good as mine. Allegedly, medical issues were of concern during the pre-draft process. Also, there were allegedly concerns about what position he would project best as a pro. Oddly, size concerns as well. Whatever the concerns may have been, they were never worth NOT taking the risk on a player like Salyer. This is the classic case of coaches and scouts overthinking it. Trust the tape, it was right in front of our eyes the entire
Now, for the performance. Replacing Rashawn Slater is no small ask. Starting at left tackle in your first start after playing guard all camp is almost an impossible ask as well. Just how good was Salyer? In 41 pass protection reps, Slayer didn’t allow a single sack, QB hit OR pressure. This would be considered a career day for nearly anyone. When you consider it was his first start in the NFL and that he was exclusively playing guard since he arrived in May, it’s a truly astounding feat. He also showed real athleticism & finishing ability in the run game, specifically on a zone run where he got up to the 2nd level & finished Kamu Grugier-Hill.
So, where do we go from here? That remains to be seen. As excited as I am about him as a player, I want to be very responsible. We can’t hail him as the next great thing overnight. He is young and still learning. He will have much tougher tests going forward. For that reason, let’s hold off on any grand declarations. Allow him room to properly grow & adjust. He’ll either continue excelling at a rapid pace or he’ll grow into a damn good player. Either way, let’s give him the opportunity to do so without unfair expectation. Jamaree Salyer, take a bow.
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