Half of the preseason is gone, and luckily there hasn’t been too many injuries on offense for the San Diego Chargers. The loss of rookie Donovan Clark will be huge for the offensive line though. The Chargers will need to find a replacement for him.
I think it’s safe to say the offense will score enough points, and the defense has improved enough to hold a lead. With this in mind let’s take a look at the depth of the Chargers’ receiving core.
It doesn’t take a genius or an expert to figure out that it all starts with Keenan Allen. When Keenan Allen is on, he is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. The problem with Allen is that sometimes he lacks the necessary consistency that superstar wideouts show week in and week out.
During the joint practices with the Arizona Cardinals, Keenan lit up the Cardinals DB’s including all world CB Patrick Peterson. He should be in store for a breakout year similar to what he was doing last season before being injured in Baltimore. In 2015 Allen was on pace for career highs in all categories. He will look to build on that and be Rivers’ #1 target down field.
In order to keep defenses honest, newcomer Travis Benjamin needs to take “the top off the defense” for the Bolts. The former Miami Hurricane has world-class speed and if Benjamin runs effective deep routes that will greatly benefit the team. Keenan Allen will have the middle of the field open to run crossing routes with Benjamin luring safeties deep into coverage.
The Chargers picked up former Packers WR James Jones to replace the injured Steven Johnson. Johnson went down with a knee injury early in camp but the Bolts were lucky to find a very suitable replacement. Jones is a veteran. He is a solid addition to the team as he is very crafty down field.
Though Jones is not very fast, he always finds a way to create separation. The one thing that worries me about him is that he has only played well in Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers. When he moved to Oakland, he struggled mightily. But I think he can produce well with Phillip Rivers as long as the two can develop a quality relationship.
Dontrelle Inman is the teams third receiver right now, he’s not flashy and he’s not a burner by any means. He is a solid possession receiver and when it’s 3rd down he becomes a very reliable target for Philip Rivers.
Tyrell Williams is quickly emerging and could push Inman for playing time this season. The undrafted wide out from Western Oregon is a big target reminiscent of Malcom Floyd and he could be a breakout candidate this season for the Bolts.
So that leaves two or maybe three roster spots for the rest of the likes of Deandre Reed, Javonte Herndon, Torrence Allen, and some of the other receivers battling in camp for the last roster spots.
To me this is a very interesting group, because they are talented and sure handed. Rivers will have plenty of options. This group will also be helped by having the great Antonio Gates at TE. He will mentor rookie Hunter Henry and also groom the young receivers. Having Gates on the team is great because he can help Rivers communicate with this young group.
If the offensive line can give Phillip Rivers enough time, I think the Chargers can have a top 15 offense this season. The wide receivers and their health will be a big factor for the team. Rivers needs the time but he also needs to have talented receivers downfield who get open. Stay tuned Chargers fans, football is right around the corner. Bolt Up!