After a disappointing year in which he was hindered by nagging injuries and general ineffectiveness, wide receiver Eddie Royal is focused on having a bounce-back year with the San Diego Chargers. So far, he’s gotten off to a great start.
Royal has been tearing it up in training camp so far and looks rejuvenated. However, he will need more than a solid offseason to prove his worth to the Chargers; he’ll need to have great season. Royal was the talk of last offseason too after impressing in minicamp, but that offseason success didn’t translate onto the field. Injuries during training camp and the regular season zapped any momentum that Royal built up during minicamp and caused him to disappoint with just 234 receiving yards and one touchdown.
“It’s great to be making plays, but I’m not getting ahead of myself,” Royal said. “At the end of the day you want to be doing them in games. So it’s nice to have some momentum, but you have to carry it over into the games.”
Royal’s biggest obstacle will be figuring out how to stay healthy. Royal has a history of groin and hamstring issues that have hindered his play and kept him out of games in recent seasons. With so much talent at wide receiver in San Diego, the ship could easily set sail without Royal if he were to miss any time.
In fact, some fans would prefer to see Royal be released or buried on the depth chart as it would open up the door for youngsters Vincent Brown and Keenan Allen.
However, Royal seems to be the perfect fit for this offense and a better fit than Brown and Allen in the slot. The new Chargers offense will be focusing on the short and intermediate passing game, which should play into Royal’s strengths. Royal has the quickness to make plays in space and gain yards after the catch. He also has familiarity with Mike McCoy during their days together with the Denver Broncos, which should help Royal even if he wasn’t very productive with McCoy as his offensive coordinator.
Royal also has value as a punter returner, but again, he’ll have to hold off Allen, who can return punts as well. The competition will be fierce for Royal and the rest of the team, but Royal is proving so far that he has what it takes to hang on to his job with the team.