The protection of San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers’ blind side is beginning to look a little thin. First, Marcus McNeill is a no-show at Chargers training camp because of a contract dispute, and then his recently acquired backup, Tra Thomas, is sidelined with knee trouble.
According to reports from NFL.com, and The San Diego Union-Tribune, Thomas underwent arthroscopic knee surgery that will sideline the left tackle for the next two weeks.
The surgery was more of a "housekeeping procedure" and not to due to an injury sustained during training camp.
Thomas, 35, was signed over the summer as an added insurance policy should McNeill's holdout continue through the start of the regular season.
With Thomas' knee surgery coming so close to the start of training camp, many would wonder if he will be ready for the start of the regular season or if the surgically repaired knee will keep him competitive over the length of a full season schedule.
However, the Chargers aren't completely lost.
They have an ace in the hole: second-year man, Brandyn Dombrowski.
Dombrowski, who saw plenty of action last year, replaced an injured Louis Vasquez at right guard during the Chargers' season opener in Oakland. He made the next two starts at that position.
He would then step in to fill the shoes of right tackle Jeromey Clary after he went down with an ankle injury. Dombrowski would start the next eight games (including a postseason start) at right tackle, helping the Chargers' offensive line close out the regular season with eleven straight wins.
Dombrowski has spent a majority of training camp working with the first team offense at left tackle and has taken a few lumps in this new learning experience. He was beaten by linebacker Larry English for what would have been two sacks during Monday morning's practice, but he was much improved in the afternoon practice session.
Brandyn Dombrowski may not be the Chargers' long-term answer for replacing Marcus McNeill at left tackle, but I know in the end he can definitely handle the job.