Who will Chargers put at right tackle to help Justin Herbert?

Early Monday afternoon, trainer Brandon Staley said the Chargers were “closer to a decision on a starting right tackle.”

A short time later, Trey Pipkins III took over as all first-team practice reps.

Pipkins and Storm Norton had equally shared snaps throughout training camp and the first two preseason games.

Pipkins, entering his fourth year, is considered a likely frontrunner throughout the summer. The Chargers are not required to announce their starters before their Sept. 11 season opener against Las Vegas.

“It’s been great for both guys to be able to compete and come to practice every day with a really healthy contest,” Staley said ahead of the Chargers’ practice session. “There is a healthy respect for each other.

“I think there’s the respect they have for them as well that we didn’t have to go outside of our team to get our tackle right because we think both of those guys are quality players.”

The Chargers signed 12 free agents in deals totaling up to $151 million to rebuild their roster. They also traded for edge russer Khalil Mack and drafted Zion Johnson as a right guard starter.

The only position they didn’t touch was right tackle, where Norton started 15 games last season after Bryan Bulaga’s season-ending injury.

Norton is entering his third year with the Chargers after joining the team as a free agent in 2020. Before that, he had last played in the XFL.

Pipkins was a third-round pick from Sioux Falls in 2019, and the Chargers drafted him as a longer-term project. He has started 10 games in his three NFL seasons, including two in 2021.

Staley said that since both players are at “similar turning points” in their careers, he believed the Chargers could make a more accurate assessment of how the two are compared.

“I think with these two guys we will be able to make an accurate decision,” he said. “Then we will be able to know that this person deserves it. All we want is for that person to be able to go out there and reach their full potential, get together with the other four guys he’s going to be with and really build that strong chemistry…

“Whoever wins the starting job will be our starter. There will be no rotation or anything like that. Whoever wins this race will be the guy out there. I want to make sure everyone knows that.”

Pipkins started the preseason opener and Norton started the second game. Both played 20 snaps against Dallas on Saturday.

JC Jackson injured

Chargers cornerback JC Jackson stretches to make a catch June 1 in practice.

Chargers cornerback JC Jackson stretches to make a catch June 1 in practice.

(Alex Gallardo/Associated Press)

Cornerback JC Jackson was absent from the practice field Monday due to an undisclosed injury.

Because Staley was made available to the media prior to practice, he was not asked about Jackson. The Chargers declined to reveal any further details afterwards.

Jackson was the #1 free agent on the team and agreed to a five-year contract worth up to $82.5 million, of which $40 million is guaranteed.

Arriving undrafted from Maryland in 2018, he spent his first four seasons with New England, where he made his first Pro Bowl trip last season. Jackson’s 25 interceptions since entering the league lead the NFL.

Joshua Palmer is struggling with a concussion

Chargers wide receiver Joshua Palmer suffered a concussion against the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday.

Chargers wide receiver Joshua Palmer suffered a concussion against the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday.

(Ashley Landis/Associated Press)

Joshua Palmer is on concussion protocol after being injured against the Cowboys, Staley said.

Heading into his second season, Palmer established himself as the Chargers’ #3 wide receiver this summer. He had three catches for 75 yards and a touchdown on Saturday.

Rookie running back Isaiah Spiller suffered an ankle injury against Dallas and is “kind of a week-to-week,” Staley said. Staley added that Spiller may not be ready for the start of the regular season.

Spiller has competed with Joshua Kelley and Larry Rountree III to be Austin Ekeler’s primary backup.

Kenneth Murray Jr activated

Inside linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. was removed from the physically unable list and trained for the first time since last season. In April he underwent ankle surgery.

Staley said he believes Murray can still start the season on time.

“I think he may be ready for Week 1,” Staley said, “but to what extent and how much? I think that remains to be seen. But we’re really excited. I know he worked really hard to come back.”

Murray had 17 tackles in his first two games in 2021 but was down to 14 for the rest of the season as he missed a lot of time through injury.

His return opens up the possibility of the Chargers playing Kyle Van Noy as both a linebacker and an edge rusher, which he has done in the past. In Murray’s absence, Van Noy played exclusively indoors.

Etc.

Staley said safeties Alohi Gilman (undisclosed) and Mark Webb Jr. (wade) and cornerback Deane Leonard (hamstring) are unlikely to play in Friday’s Chargers preseason finale in New Orleans.

Tight end Donald Parham Jr. (hamstring), edge rusher Ty Shelby (leg) and cornerback Tevaughn Campbell (knee) are also absent.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/chargers/story/2022-08-22/chargers-right-tackle-job-justin-herbert-nfl Who will Chargers put at right tackle to help Justin Herbert?

Emma Bowman

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