Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
While Keenan Allen and Eddie Royal had surprisingly productive seasons last year, the Chargers’ receiving corps still has plenty of room for improvement.
Since Malcolm Floyd has been cleared for full contact and practicing for some time now, we can begin speculating what to expect from the 32 year old veteran wide receiver in the upcoming season. What kind of impact will he have? Can he really stretch the field without Vincent Jackson opposite him? Will he be willing to attempt his signature acrobatic catches or will the neck injury prevent him from leaving his feet? Will he hit the turf prematurely after each reception to avoid contact (a la LaDainian Tomlinson’s frustrating later years)? After all, could we even blame him for doing so given the severity of his neck injury?
A reader recently speculated that most fans are delusional if they expect the former number two wide receiver to have a major impact on the Chargers’ offense. I disagree. I believe, when looking at the numbers, it would be delusional not to expect Malcolm Floyd to have a significant positive impact with him in the lineup (assuming he can stay healthy, which is a big assumption), and here’s why: From 2008-2012 the 6 foot 5-inch WR averaged less than 17.2 yards per catch just once. That year was 2012, the season after the Chargers let Vincent Jackson walk in Free Agency. It was also one year before Keenan Allen joined the Chargers. Malcolm Floyd was the number one receiver and ran more intermediate routes. This was due to the lack of options for Philip Rivers. When the Chargers acquired Danario Alexander prior to game six, he became the go-to deep threat for Philip Rivers. This contributed to a 14.5 YPC average, almost 3 yards shy of his career average, but eerily similar to Keenan Allen’s 14.7 per catch average in 2013.
Now, presuming a starting lineup of Malcolm Floyd, Keenan Allen, and Eddie Royal, the Chargers have a receiving corps that can stretch the field (Floyd), work the middle to intermediate routes with efficiency (Allen), and turn short routes into long plays (Royal). While Malcolm isn’t the most formidable deep threat out there, I believe his presence will provide a significant positive effect and further balance out this offense – if at all possible.
Welcome back, Malcolm, and good health to you.