After the season that the San Diego Chargers and their quarterback had to endure last year, something had to change. The fact that Norv Turner as the head coach/offensive guru is out and the more practical offensive minds of head coach Mike McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt are in is definitely a good start. Now the hard work of adapting the offense to actually fit the team’s personnel is underway, and that is what can take this squad from predictably average to excitingly productive in just one offseason.
The team didn’t really purge much in terms of offensive weaponry this offseason. Of all of the places where serious changes were made, the skill positions were not one of them with each receiver and running back returning from last year’s roster. There will be some reinforcements along with them in the form of draft choices and free agent pick-ups, but otherwise the most significant changes will be with scheme.
Longtime deep threat Malcom Floyd discussed those changes recently as he told U-T San Diego:
“I’m running different routes. These coaches are really working on my lateral ability, a lot of these drills this offseason, getting in and out of my breaks. It’s details like foot placement on curl routes, reprogramming my brain. I’m 10 years old in this league, but I feel a lot better than last year. I’m very excited about this upcoming year.”
Floyd’s 17.4 yards per catch average since 2008 is the third best number in the NFL over the time period among players with at least 200 receptions. While that number is impressive, it does entail quite a long wait for quarterback Philip Rivers under center for the routes to develop. Given the way the offensive line performed a year ago, allowing 49 sacks, it seems like this adaptation was at least a year overdue.
His route tree may be a little bit closer to the quarterback now, but Floyd and the rest of the Bolts receivers shouldn’t have any trouble being productive. Rivers is a quarterback that excels with his quick processing of what he sees on the field, and giving him the opportunity to operate in an offense that asks him to do just that should be ideal for the Chargers.
Quicker throws and less reliance on the deep ball should help the entire offense as a whole. When things are brought in a little closer to the line of scrimmage, the defense has to respect both the run and the pass equally rather than the disproportionate passing attack that Norv ran for the past handful of seasons. Look for these Bolts to really thrive under McCoy and Whisenhunt’s new philosophies as they try to climb back to the top of the AFC West.