Crying ‘woe is me’ over injuries is never a solution to the overall problem at hand. During the course of an NFL season, players are inevitably going to get hurt and some of those injuries are going to be serious ones. Nevertheless, the injuries that the San Diego Chargers have had to deal with at the wide receiver position already this year have been monumental.
Perhaps it was because yours truly felt the receiver spot would be a position of strength for the team coming into the season. Regardless of what karmic payback the Bolts are enduring right now, the laundry list of guys on the mend got even lengthier on Saturday when Eddie Royal went down with a bruised lung and a concussion.
After landing on his back following an attempted catch during practice, Royal had trouble catching his breath and was taken to the hospital via ambulance. According to USA TODAY, following practice quarterback Philip Rivers told reporters:
“When a guy gets carried off in an ambulance, you just want him to be healthy, be okay, all football aside. And hopefully that’s the report we’ll get back soon on Eddie.”
That wide receiver corps once believed to be a strength has gotten thinner by the hour in San Diego. Danario Alexander’s torn ACL started the trek to the infirmary for the Bolts and Malcom Floyd’s strained knee scare is still of huge concern to the team. Now a player listed as fourth on the receiver hierarchy on the sidelines leaves the team with just one of its top four projected pass catchers coming into the year.
Vincent Brown went down with a season-ending injury last year in the preseason, but he is now the projected top target after nearly two full years away from the field. Rookie Keenan Allen also figures to be thrust into a prominent role if Royal is forced to miss significant time. Royal is the projected top return man, and his absence would force Allen into that role as he has taken the backup reps to this point in the preseason. Much more would be expected of the increasingly disappointing Robert Meachem who could have been given a one-way ticket out of town had it not been for this rash of injuries.
With all of the receivers going down this early, the emphasis on the running game is likely to be even more prevalent in the upcoming season. New head coach Mike McCoy was already facing some serious adversity taking over a team that has not made the postseason in three years in his first season in charge, and now the task just got even more challenging.