The first game of the 2021 season hadn’t even finished yet before Storm Norton was forced into action against one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL. Four games later and he’s still starting in place of the injured Bryan Bulaga.
While he did experience a rough outing against the Cowboys’ Micah Parsons in week two, he’s responded better than any of us could have imagined over the team’s last three games in which he’s played well enough to help the Bolts to a 4-1 record.
In a recent piece over at ESPN, the site’s pool of NFL beat writers each picked a player from their respective teams to be named the club’s most-improved player in 2021. For the Chargers, beat writer Shelley Smith highlighted Norton as the player worthy of the accolade.
Here’s what she had to say:
“Norton was previously in the XFL but now is the Chargers’ starting right tackle because of an injury to Bryan Bulaga. Norton stumbled in his first start but has risen up the ranks, as he is currently the Chargers’ No. 2-ranked offensive lineman per Pro Football Focus. He was given a game ball by Chargers coach Brandon Staley after Sunday’s win over the Browns. Staley believes in the 6-foot-8, 308-pound Norton, as does Justin Herbert, who saw Norton standing up Cleveland’s Myles Garrett. He wasn’t perfect, giving up a sack to the NFL’s sack leader, but he has proved to be reliable.”
(Note: Smith claimed Norton as the team’s second-highest graded lineman in general, but he was just the second-highest against the Browns. He is currently the team’s lowest-graded lineman of the season.)
Can you imagine a more hectic two-day span than having the birth of your child followed by a football game where you get to try and block Myles Garrett? Holy smokes. Respect, Storm.
Do you all agree with Smith? Is there another player that you would have put up as the most improved? Let us know.
And now for today’s links.
Mike Williams was mic’d up against the Browns (Chargers.com)
Tom Telesco made an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show (Chargers.com)
The Chargers’ next step towards AFC superiority is a win over the Ravens (Chargers Wire)
Are the Chargers the team to beat in the AFC West? (Bolt Beat)
The Eagles placed Dallas Goedert on the COVID-19 list (ESPN)
Trey Lance suffered a knee sprain during his first start (ESPN)
Who are the top-five candidates to replace Jon Gruden? (CBS Sports)
Jon Gruden’s words undermine the NFL’s push for diversity (NFL.com)
Winners and losers following week six (NFL.com)
Week 6 power rankings (Pro Football Talk)