Saturday, August 15, 2009

San Diego Chargers Receivers Starting 2009: B+

The Chargers have a strong, talented and experienced receiving core going into 2009. The two starting wideouts, Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers both know how to get open and have great hands. My biggest knock on both of these guys is their lack of consistent Yards after Catch (YAC). This may be a function of Norv's offense. Notice how many sideline and curl routes Chambers makes? Jackson gets huge chunks on some long bombs, but seems so intent on catching the ball (which is a GOOD thing) that he virtually stops after many catches, getting tackled. I'd like to see a bit more aggressiveness from both guys in terms of breaking that first tackle and getting down field.

The Chargers have also yet to develop a consistent slot reciever (think Wes Welker for the Patriots). Buster Davis, a high draft pick two years ago, was supposed to fill that role, but has been injured for pretty much his whole Charger career. I'd like to see Legedu Naanee get the ball thrown his way much more this year. He seems to have an uncommon burst, toughness and desire to get to the end zone every time he touches the ball. Part of the "problem" here might be that Antonio Gates is such a strong receiving tight end that he gets a lot of catches that might go to the slot on other teams.

Malcolm Floyd at 6'5 is another beast of a tall receiver like Vincent Jackson who can just out "body" and out jump small DB's. ,These guys give us a chance against talented and well coached defenses like the Patriots. Bill Belichick can put his little corner backs in all the right places, but it won't help if Jackson or Floyd simply jumps over them for the ball.

Look for all these guys to have good years as Philip Rivers masters his position. My biggest concern for this squad is the health of the aging Chris Chambers, who battled injury much of last season. Despite all the talent of the other guys, he provides that veteran go-to-guy type of experience when you really need a first down.

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