Philip Rivers is probably sitting back at his house with his 7 kids, and his beautiful wife, just beaming about the amount of wide receiver talent that will be at his disposal this year. Tom Telesco has done a great job leaving no stone unturned in his search for outstanding talent with an emphasis on great character. Right now we are going to take a look at all of the weapons at the wide receiver position that we can look forward to seeing suit up for the San Diego Chargers during the 2014 NFL season. Before I get into this evaluation, I only expect there to be 5 wide receivers on the Bolts this year.
Eddie Royal jumped out to a very fast start in the 2013 season by scoring 5+ touchdowns in the first handful of games last year. He used his great physical tools to make catches and create yards after said receptions. Additionally, he displayed a gritty toughness despite missing practice most of the year with a foot injury and still managed to play in 15 of the 16 regular season games. Look for a healthy Royal to continue to make an impact on this offense.
Malcom Floyd is an imposing figure at the WR position standing 6’5″. As most of the diehard Charger fans know, Malcom missed 14 of the 16 regular season games after suffering a horrific neck injury that left most fans fearing that we had seen the last of M-80 in a Chargers uniform. For the record, I was an advocate of his comeback from the very beginning. I had no doubt that he was going to rehab harder than anyone could imagine to get back on the field and go out of the game of football on his terms. Unfortunately for M-80, health has been a major concern for his entire career; only playing a full 16 games 1 time in his 11 year career. There is no denying his ability when he is on the football field. He can out-jump most defensive backs. Floyd is a true deep threat. I’m hoping that he will stay healthy all season long and terrorize defenses until they have trouble sleeping at night.
After almost quitting the NFL, an injury gave Allen the chance that he needed and he took the opportunity and ran with it. Keenan outperformed every single receiver that was taken in the NFL draft last year leaving the other general managers not named Tom Telesco in a state of self-evaluation. Keenan quickly formed a great rapport with quarterback Philip Rivers and became his favorite target throughout the course of the 2013 season. This offseason, Keenan dedicated his time to improving his speed, which adds another element to his all-around game. Allen is the number 1 receiver on this team. Fans should look for big numbers from him this year.
The reason that Seyi Ajirotutu is going to be on this ball club this year is because he has more than one facet of his game to offer to this team. Not only is he great friends with Philip Rivers, he also is a stand out performer on special teams. Most of you will remember the fantastic touchdown catch that Ajirotutu made last year in the 4th quarter to win the game against the Chiefs. That ended up being one of the highlight reel plays for the Chargers last season. I don’t foresee him on the field too often as a receiver this season, but more of a special teamer.
Dontrelle Inman is going to be on this football team. He’s gone out there in training camp and earned his position. A CFL football player last season, signed by Tom Telesco after an open tryout last December, Inman has worked his tail off during this offseason and his work has been noticed by the coaches. I expect him to make an impact for this team this year. He has the prototypical wide receiver body at 6’3″ and 198 pounds.
I like Vincent Brown a lot. I thought he had a lot of talent but health never allowed him to put it all together. As of now, he seems to be headed towards the PUP (Physically unable to perform) list alongside guard Jeromey Clary. I liked what I’ve seen out of Javonte Herndon in the preseason, seems to have good speed and good hands a potential practice squad member. I also believe that Rookie 7th round pick Tevin Reese is headed for the practice squad. He started off training camp on a good note, but has since declined showing a lack of knowledge of the routes and unreliable hands. I would like to thank you all for taking the time to read my very first article for Boltblitz.com and I hope you enjoyed it.
With the first day of Training Camp in San Diego having been completed, I would like to address some competitions I find interesting that will take place as well as a few players I am looking forward to watching grow.
The biggest position battle on defense, and maybe for our entire team, is who will be placed next to Eric Weddle at strong safety. As an undrafted rookie, Jahleel Addae was more than respectable. He brought the type of aggression San Diego has been looking for since Rodney Harrison and could get from Bob Sanders. His competition is Marcus Gilchrist, who obviously has been in the league longer than Addae but does not have that much more experience at safety than Jahleel. Gilchrist was moved to safety last season to fill a hole in the defense. But as the season went on Addae was able to find himself some playing time as well. I favor Addae to win this due to him being able to better defend the run and would also give Marcus the opportunity to serve as not only a backup safety, but depth at the cornerback position which can come in handy in sub packages.
Another battle I look forward to is the WR corps, particularly the #2 receiver. Malcom Floyd was the hot topic of spring training as it is reported that he looks like his old self, he will be “duke it out” with Vincent Brown who was disappointingly quiet in a year where he was supposed to be the go to guy with Floyd and Danario Alexander out and a rookie WR as the only other viable wideout. With Keenan Allen locked in as #1 and Eddie Royal almost certainly our slot losing this battle could prove costly for one of these receivers, throw in a rising TE in Ladarius Green and I do not see many targets for the odd man out in this situation.
I, as well as most Charger fans, am always excited to see how our incoming rookies will fare in training camp and beyond, and while I am very fond to see what Jerry Attaochu can bring, I will talk about some other players that I cannot wait to see.
Manti Te’o is a guy I expect to make leaps and bounds this year as he will have the opportunity to come into OTAs healthy and no distractions. While he struggled to get on the field (whether it was from his foot sprain that kept him out from Week 2 of the preseason to week 4 of the regular season, or just his number not being called) he managed to get accustomed to the NFL game and has something to build on for this year.
Lastly, another Charger primed for production is Ladarius Green, with Antonio Gates getting up there in age, nobody can argue San Diego preparing themselves and looking for his successor and Green is the guy. He showed what he is capable of last year but I will stave off calling it breaking out because I believe that was only a sampling of the type of things he will do for us in San Diego. Green has the build of the new era of TEs such as Jordan Cameron and Jordan Reed, that combine speed and catching ability with their strength.
This all goes to say, I am ready for another Chargers Training Camp and thoroughly excited to see what player(s) develops in the process.