If you watched the Monday Night Football matchup between the San Diego Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars, you probably noticed something rare: QB Philip Rivers was upright. Wrapping up a season in which he has been battered and bruised every week, there was Rivers standing tall in the pocket, slinging the ball around the field on the way to a 38-14 victory.
Believe it or not, the game against the Jaguars was just the second time all season Rivers wasn’t sacked.
The man protecting Rivers’ blindside? Kansas City Chiefs castoff Jared Gaither.
Gaither was released last week by the Chiefs after he committed a false start in his brief appearance in the loss to the Steelers. The six-foot-nine tackle was claimed by the Chargers, arrived in San Diego on Wednesday and was quickly placed into the starting lineup.
All the newest Charger did was get the job all night long. San Diego head coach Norv Turner had nothing but praise for Gaither saying “he did a great job getting ready” and acknowledged he will play a huge role for the Chargers down the stretch.
“Jared is the key,” Turner said after the game. “He came in and played at a high level and against a defense that had really played well.”
The former fifth-round supplemental draft pick had no problem agreeing with his coach.
“All things considered, I think I did a great job. I came here and I came here to work. I put in the time those three days — long hours — and I worked on my own, quizzing myself.”
This sounds like someone the Chiefs would be happy to have, not a guy that was unable to beat out Barry Richardson, one of the worst starting right tackles in the NFL. Yet there were Scott Pioli, Todd Haley and Bill Muir sending Gaither out to pasture in favor of untested rookie David Mims last week.
It’s hard to get too worked up over one game, but if Gaither turns out to be a solid starter he could have saved the Chiefs a draft pick considering the team will be searching for someone to plug the massive hole currently on the right side of their offensive line.