Although the injury issue with San Diego Chargers’ left tackle Jared Gaither was listed as a groin on the weekly injury report, it is now being reported that he again aggravated a back ailment that forced him to miss time in the preseason and early weeks of the regular season. What that means for the Bolts’ offensive line is more upheaval as rookie Mike Harris will likely make his fifth start of the season on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Gaither is expected to give it a go in pre-game warm-ups, but most expect that he will be unable to play. Harris has been alright in relief of Gaither, but his pass protection and blitz pick-up skills leave a lot to be desired. Of course he is a rookie thrown in at arguably the most difficult position to adjust to in the NFL, but the Chargers are at a turning point in their season and cannot afford any more setbacks.
On offense, the Bolts have had an up and down season already and in Gaither’s absence so far it has been mostly down. Not only does he keep Philip Rivers clean in the pocket, but his presence seems to bring the entire line together as a cohesive unit and pave the way for better running lanes with running back Ryan Mathews as well.
He may just be one player on a line of five, but if Gaither is unable to go as anticipated against the Bucs, the Bolts will have an uphill battle to keep up on offense. This will literally be a game-time decision so it will come down to the wire, but things don’t look good for a cohesive offensive front in Tampa.
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