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Chargers Name Trey Pipkins III as Starting Right Tackle

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Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley met with media members Tuesday after the Bolts announced their initial 53-man roster.

Here are five takeaways from Staley:

1. Pipkins wins starting RT job

The Bolts have named a starter at right tackle.

Trey Pipkins III has earned the job, Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley announced Tuesday afternoon.

Pipkins battled with Storm Norton throughout the offseason and into training camp and the preseason, with the 2019 third-round pick doing enough to win the job.

"Trey Pipkins will be the starting right tackle for us. I told you that I will tell you when that expressed itself," Staley said. "Trey had a very quality camp, as did Storm. It was a really good competition for our football team. Trey definitely earned that position."

Pipkins started the first preseason game at right tackle, with Norton getting the start in the second game. In the preseason finale, however, Pipkins started at right tackle while Norton manned the left tackle spot against the Saints.

Staley later expanded on the progression of Pipkins, who started twice in 2021, over the past year:

"I'm really proud of Trey. He's come a long way since one year ago, today," Staley said. "It's what the NFL means to me. That's why you stick with players. You don't ever stop. You don't give up on anybody, you stay with them. You keep at it and you keep competing together.

"Trey deserves full credit because he's the one that invested so much in his game," Staley added. "His coaches, his teammates on the O-line, have really helped him get to where he's at today. Really proud of him."

Staley also expressed appreciation for Norton, a former undrafted free agent, who started 15 games at right tackle in 2021.

"Storm is going to be a guy that we lean on heavily," Staley said. "We feel like the offensive line, as you guys covered throughout the league, it's tough to field a deep, quality offensive line.

"We feel like we're much closer to being that, as a football team, and Storm's gonna be a big part of it," Staley added. "We know that we've won a lot of football games here and played a lot of high-caliber offensive football with him starting for us, so we're going to need them both."

2. Staley on the QB room

The Chargers kept three quarterbacks — Chase Daniel, Justin Herbert and Easton Stick — on their initial 53-man roster, just as they did a year ago.

Staley acknowledged that not every team will keep that many quarterbacks, but it fits the mold of the Bolts current roster.

"I think it's just what your team's makeup is. I think every team is different, what you would do with that spot for somebody else, whether it's position players, a special teams player," Staley said. "But, I ultimately think it's about the value that that person brings to the team, and that's where it starts for us.

"We feel like we have three quarterbacks that bring an awful lot of value to our team, and that the dynamics of this team really fit three quarterbacks," Staley added.

And while this group centers around Herbert, Staley said the Bolts feel like they have a quarterback room that match any other in the NFL.

"We're happy to have all three. We feel like we have a very healthy quarterback situation," Staley said. "I think if you talk to the other 31 teams, or any of the teams that are in football, regardless of the level, when you can have a quarterback situation like ours, I think you would take it, to feel this strongly about it. I'm glad we have all three, for sure."

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3. WRs offer different skillsets

The five wide receivers that made the initial 53-man roster are about as good a group as you'll find in the league.

Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are proven veterans who make up a dynamic 1-2 punch, while Josh Palmer has grown by leaps and bounds over the past year. Jalen Guyton flashed in preseason play, and DeAndre Carter turned heads in camp as a receiver … and hasn't been able to showcase his return ability yet.

Overall, Staley said there were some tough roster decisions made, but added that he couldn't be happier to have this group of wide receivers on the initial 53-man roster.

"But we felt like, the five that we kept, those were the right guys to keep," Staley said. "I feel like all five of them had really quality training camps. I think that was the thing that really stood out to us, you guys who have been here. All five of those guys are improving."

Staley then highlighted each of the five players and what skillset they bring to the Bolts.

"Mike and Keenan are leading the way for us. I think that Keenan is in great shape. He's a tough of a cover as you can imagine. I feel like he's just getting younger," Staley said. "Mike has had improvement in all phases. I'm really excited about his game and where he's at, where he was a year ago to where he is now. I'm very excited about him.

"Then, you guys have seen the improvement that Josh has made in one year's time, becoming a complete receiver," Staley continued. "I thought Jalen was really having a tremendous camp. I thought that he did a lot of good things for us. I think in that New Orleans game, he had that nine route [deep fly route] against [Saints CB Bradley] Roby, a former first-round pick, a starting corner for New Orleans. He drew a penalty and had a really nice red[-zone] catchi, so he's coming on. Then, his improvement in special teams.

"Then, Dre, as you guys know, you guys wrote a lot about him during camp because he was worthy of all that print and all that TV time because he had a really good camp," Staley added.

"We feel like those guys are good players for us. They give us a lot of different options, and then contributions in the kicking game."

4. Flexibility on the edge

The count of the Chargers initial 53-man roster was nine total linebackers, only three of whom are classified as outside linebackers.

That group consists of Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa and Chris Rumph II, with the first two names there obviously being the headliners.

Kyle Van Noy, it should be noted, was listed as a linebacker, but has position versatility and can play inside and outside.

Staley gave a great look inside how that overall linebacker group was put together, noting that the entire defense will have a hand in that area of the field.

"We feel good about the players that we have that can play in those positions, that maybe not are not in EDGE position group," Staley said, "I think we can borrow from a couple of other positions to fill in that spot.

"The reality is, my experience with premium edge players, is that they play over 80 percent of the time. If you take a look at any of the historically good tandems, they're playing well over 80 percent, more like closer to 90 than 80, if you're as good as Joey and Khalil," Staley continued. "We'll make sure that we're deep enough around them, but we plan on those guys playing a ton. Then, what we have to do in the meantime, is just make sure that for practice purposes and building a team for a whole season, they're built to be there at the end of the season.

"That's what we're going to do," Staley added. "The way our roster is now. we're going to have to utilize a couple of different places in order to make that happen."

5. The roster could be in flux

While the Chargers reduced their own roster to 53 players Tuesday, so too, did 31 other NFL teams.

As a result, there were more than 800 players who were let go across the league.

That's why the Chargers 53-man roster is referred to as the 'initial' one Tuesday, as it could change in the coming days.

Staley said as much in his Tuesday press conference.

"I'm excited to get to practice today," Staley said. "Today is the beginning; there's still a lot that's going on right now.

"This is not the end at all, for us," Staley added. "We still have work to do, but at least we get to get back out here at practice and take advantage of this bonus week to make sure that we kind of set the course for next week."

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