Danario Alexander: San Diego Chargers’ Not-So-Secret Weapon Entering 2013
No one expected much from Danario Alexander when he signed with the San Diego Chargers midway through October last season. The former member of the St. Louis Rams was let go following the previous by the team that drafted him due to a rash of knee injuries that seemingly pegged him as damaged goods in the eyes of the NFL. San Diego’s gamble turned out to be one of the few bright spots from the 2013 season.
At 6’5” 217lbs. Alexander has the look of former Bolts pass catcher Vincent Jackson in a big-bodied target that is capable of stretching defenses and creating mismatches all over the field. After losing that threat last offseason, quarterback Philip Rivers was mired in a serious slump early in the 2012 campaign. His fortunes turned around shortly after DX arrived as he told ESPN:
“Honestly, I didn’t give him much of a thought right away. But that changed quickly. It went from ‘Who is this guy’ to ‘How did we even get a chance to get him?’ I couldn’t believe he came off the street. He should have been on a roster already. I thought he was an emergency guy, then it was ‘Holy smokes, we need this guy. We got to get him on the field.’”
Still just 25 years of age once training camp gets into full swing, there is plenty of upside left for DX to attain. His impact was seen quickly after being inserted into the lineup with 37 catches for 658 yards at a field-stretching 17.8 yards per catch average and seven touchdowns in just 10 games. When extrapolated over a full 16-game schedule, Alexander’s numbers would have easily eclipsed 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns which are the general benchmarks for a very impressive campaign as a wide receiver.
Even though he career began its revitalization under the previous Norv Turner regime, new head coach Mike McCoy believes DX is capable of similar things in the coming season. He said:
“He showed the same thing this spring that we saw on tape when we took over. He has big-play capability. He has worked hard, and he has taken advantage of his opportunity here.”
While his past is filled with hard luck and unfortunate circumstances with injuries, the Bolts hope the future continues to hold positive things for the still very young receiver. He is under contract as a restricted free agent this coming season so the team can see if his previous knee problems remain non-issues during a full 16-game slate.
If that is indeed the case, don’t be surprised if Alexander stays in lightning bolts for the foreseeable future.