Slauson Gets First Crack At Center Position

Former Bears Guard Settles In With Chargers

Danny Woodhead broke off a big run around the right side and headed for the end-zone. Once there, he was greeted by his new center, Matt Slauson, who had bolted ahead of his teammates and promptly lifted Woodhead up off the ground to celebrate the touchdown.

That’s a sequence Chargers fans would love to see a few more times this year. 

Especially after seeing only four total rushing touchdowns during San Diego’s entire 2015 season.

Now to put this in perspective, Woodhead’s touchdown came during the Chargers scheduled organized team activities (OTAs). During OTAs there is no tackling and the players are not wearing full pads like they do on Sundays.

But at the moment, Slauson is the one taking snaps with the first team and hiking the ball to Philip Rivers.

After last year’s 4-12 disaster, the rushing attack must make improvements. Maybe this new man in the middle is exactly what the Chargers need.

It’s hard to miss Slauson when you see him. The former Bears offensive lineman stands a robust 6’ 5” and his listed weight on the team’s website is 320 pounds.

Slauson primarily played guard during his 3 years in Chicago. Before that he spent four years with the franchise that drafted him – the New York Jets.  

He was selected in the 6th round of the 2009 draft after playing at Nebraska and within a year, he was New York’s starting left guard. 

He has also played center in the past and so far, it looks like that is where the Chargers want him – and need him – to help out.

“It’s been good, this line really makes it easy,” said Slauson. “Having Philip (Rivers) in the backfield making calls and everything has really made it smooth. I’ve been coming in and trying to be a pro and catch up as fast as I can.”

“Everybody has really welcomed me. It felt really nice getting to know all the guys. Philip has been really great and of course I got my guy (Danny) Woodhead and Kellen (Clemens) - really good friends of mine.”

Slauson may appear to be an intense guy on the gridiron, but he admitted it was not always that way when he was younger.

“That was something I had to always learn because I’ve always been a big guy and as a big kid growing up, your parents teach you that you have to play differently with smaller kids and it wasn’t actually until college that I flipped the switch and started playing mean. It’s something you have to have in this (NFL) game.”

The Chargers desperately need someone to stabilize the center position and help fortify the offensive line.

Other standouts on Tuesday came from the defensive side of the ball.

Cornerback Richard Crawford made a good impression when he intercepted Zach Mettenberger on a deep ball over the middle. 

Crawford hails from Oceanside and is a graduate of El Camino high school. The 5'11" SMU product spent time on the Chargers practice squad back in 2014 and is hoping to catch on again with his hometown team.

Crawford was originally a 2012 7th round draft pick by the Washington Redskins.

Practically the whole defense started jumping up and down on the sidelines when defensive back Larry Scott picked off quarterback Mike Bercovici.

Scott was a ballhawk in the secondary during 7-on-7’s and had a nice breakup in the end-zone as well. 

Scott is a 5'11" undrafted rookie corner from Oregon State.

Only 100 more days until the NFL season kicks off on Thursday, September 8th with the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos hosting the Carolina Panthers on NBC7.

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