It’s been a bumpy ride for the San Diego Chargers on the injury front this offseason. From Melvin Ingram’s torn ACL during minicamp to the torn ACL of Danario Alexander just last week and linebacker Jonas Mouton suffering the same fate just before that, the Bolts have been dumbfounded by their lack of luck.
That ill-fated offseason continued on Monday as the team’s longest tenured receiver, Malcom Floyd, had to be taken from the practice field on a cart after a collision during one-on-one drills. Head coach Mike McCoy commented to USA TODAY about the injury after Floyd was diagnosed with a strained knee saying:
“You never know in situations when guys go down like that. A lot of times, guys get scared. Everyone reacts different to it. I never had one of those injuries so I can’t tell you what it is or how it happened exactly on this one, or any that we’ve had this year. It’s just one of those deals.”
While a knee strain is hopefully just a mild issue that can be worked out before the opening week, the Chargers still need to undergo a serious examination of their depth at receiver. Coming into the year the position seemed to be a real strength, but now injuries have transformed that strength into a serious question mark.
Robert Meachem has, by all accounts, looked absolutely awful during drills in camp. He may not offer much to the receiving corps at all and could actually be released if he can’t step it up. Eddie Royal is pretty much limited to a slot role given his lack of size, and Vincent Brown is nearly two years removed from his last regular season action. Keenan Allen has plenty of potential, but he is just a rookie and can’t be considered a serious contender to start.
That leaves the Bolts to ponder a free agent crop that still has some possibilities available. The top option remains Brandon Lloyd who has been a serviceable receiver during his NFL career. At just 6-foot 188 pounds, however, Lloyd really is more of a slot guy himself which would overlap the personnel already present on the roster.
Perhaps the top potential option is Laurent Robinson who was recently cleared by a concussion clinic after having issues with that all of last season. He hauled in 11 touchdowns with the Dallas Cowboys in 2011 so he has serious red-zone value. At 6-foot-2 194 pounds, he certainly offers more in the way of size and physicality than the Bolts possess without Floyd in the mix.
While there isn’t an ideal option available, this really highlights the main problem in San Diego over the past half-decade. The team lost so many top notch, homegrown free agents due to previous general manager A.J. Smith’s unwillingness to pay up for their services (Vincent Jackson, anyone?). A team that once had trees disguised as wide receivers with nearly every target 6-foot-3 or taller is now middling in the 6-foot-1 range at best. It’s no wonder quarterback Philip Rivers has struggled in recent years with no big-bodied receivers to help bail him out.
While the hope has to remain that Floyd can get back to full strength before the regular season kicks off, the Chargers need to weigh their options and consider making a free agent addition should the unforeseen happen once again. The way the injury bug has been biting the Bolts already this season, it could be a long year for the team’s training staff.