San Diego Fanfest spectators wondered why speedy newcomer Travis Benjamin sat out all drills, and why Keenan Allen, the No. 1 receiver, sat on the bench with a shoe off as trainer James Collins checked on both players.
HC Mike McCoy said Allen was limited to solo drills, due to having his foot stepped on Friday. “He’s fine,” the coach said.
McCoy didn’t specify Benjamin’s situation but said generally that he’ll rest players on certain days.
So once again, it was Tyrell Williams getting to take advantage. Williams had a 28-yard catch which QB Philip Rivers described as the top highlight for the first team offense. Williams is having a good camp and could be in line for more playing time with Stevie Johnson's injury. The story said Williams is of the Michael Floyd mold.
They worked so well together the first time that Ken Whisenhunt returning to the San Diego Chargers was a no-brainer for head coach Mike McCoy.
One of the reasons McCoy brought him back is how well Philip Rivers performed during Whisenhunt's one-year stint as San Diego's offensive coordinator in 2013.
After an uneven stretch of his career in which he threw a combined 48 interceptions from 2010 to 2012, Rivers experienced a rebirth under Whisenhunt, finishing in the top five in completion percentage (69.5 percent), yards per pass (8.23), passing yards (4,478), passing touchdowns (32) and passer rating (105.5) during the 2013 season. Rivers comes into this season ranked ninth on our list and should be a nice, ninth-round option. Stevie Johnson will be lost for a while but the team signed Travis Benjamin in the offseason to pair with Keenan Allen. The team signed James Jones today and TE Antonio Gates is back so Rivers has plenty of weapons.
They settled on James Jones.
Rapoport reported earlier that the Chargers were hosting Jones and former Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline on Tuesday, per sources. In addition, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported former Lions receiver Lance Moore would also work out for the team.
It's clear the 32-year-old has lost a step, won't get much separation from corners and will rely on timing with the quarterback to earn any production in his 10th NFL season, the story said. With Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin look like they will start, so the Chargers might be comfortable using Jones as a veteran replacement in a limited role in 2016. However as we reported several times, it's not out of the question Allen gets time in the slot with Jones on the outside.
Williams also worked heavily with the ones when a hamstring injury limited Travis Benjamin this spring. Benjamin seems back to full strength this training camp, running at full speed opposite Keenan Allen.
This falls right in line with news items we had yesterday right after Johnson went down. Williams is a bit of an unknown but has been taking advantage of injuries as far back as spring. The story also mentioned Dontrelle Inman as seeing plenty of wide-receiver reps in the early going of camp.
Right now it's unclear if Johnson will miss the entire season. Johnson went down in practice on Sunday. We just posted a news item today from the San Diego Union-Tribune talking about what the Chargers may have to do if Johnson is out for an extended time, which certainly seems to be the case. This particular beat writer pointed to Tyrell Williams as a possible replacement on the outside with free agent Travis Benjamin opposite of him. That would move Keenan Allen to the slot - and the Chargers do play a lot of three-WR sets. Javontee Herndon is another possible replacement for the slot which would allow Allen to stay on the outside. Dontrelle Inman is also on the roster.
Our own sports physical therapist Russell Manalastas weighed in on Johnson's injury: With any torn meniscus the important thing to consider is the size and location of the tear. The meniscus is a cartilage that lacks adequate blood flow so location of the tear is really important. One option would be to do a menisectomy where they just take the portion that is torn out to prevent the knee from catching, lacking, or buckling on him. The other option would be a meniscal repair, where they stitch the torn area back down to preserve the meniscus and preserve the knee from degenerative changes later on. With this being the NFL and how things are always expedited, my guess would be that if they can, they'd clean up the area that was torn, shave it down so there are clean edges, and then start the rehab process. Menisectomy timetables are significantly shorter in terms of recovery (4-6 weeks, depending on pain tolerance, strength and other factors), whereas meniscal repairs are a much longer recovery (4 months or longer, and that's being optimistic). Once we find out what type of surgery Johnson has, then we can figure out what the expectation should be.
If the knee injury Stevie Johnson sustained Sunday sidelines Johnson for an extended period, Williams could see a bigger role.
The story said Williams could play on the outside with Keenan Allen moving to the slot if Johnson would miss time if the injury is serious. Javontee Herndon, who was sidelined Sunday, has the shiftiness that can play up in the slot if the tricky mental nuances are mastered, the story said. If Herndon can play the slot at some point, that would allow Allen back to the outside, but it all depends on the seriousness of Johnson's injury. Over the last couple of years, the team has tried to move Allen around which seemed to help last year. The Chargers use a lot of three-WR sets.
The Chargers rely heavily on three-receiver formations and, like most NFL offenses, skew toward the pass.
Both approaches bear fruit, but the wideouts take the brunt of the workload. Hey, someone has to pay a steeper price for all the offense the NFL craves and fosters, and in San Diego's offense, it's the receivers.
The story talks about how injuries to WRs could be from using them too much. If the WRs survived the injuries, performances have dipped deeper into the season. The author feels running the ball and using two-TE sets could help save the WRs, but the team has struggled to run the ball in recent years. Unfortunately for the Bolts, WR Stevie Johnson went down on Sunday and the team is still waiting results of an MRI.
Chargers wide receiver Steve Johnson was carried off the field Sunday with a right knee injury after going down in a pass drill.
Johnson, who applied no pressure to his right leg as he was carried off, was examined by trainers for several minutes before he was taken inside.
The injury occurred on an pass from Philip Rivers.
Johnson was poised to be the slot guy with Keenan Allen and newly signed Travis Benjamin on the outside. It was shaping up to be the deepest the Chargers WRs have been in a few years. It's obviously not a good sign he couldn't put pressure on the injury but it could have been out of caution. We'll continue to monitor the situation. Dontrelle Inman is next up on the depth chart.
But after a slow start, Gordon picked up the pace during mandatory minicamp and is expected to be full-go at the start of training camp.
The author said he wouldn't be shocked if the Chargers take a slow approach with Gordon, and maybe even start him on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list just to make sure he is fully healthy. Once on the field, how decisive Gordon runs and how well he holds on to the football after working out with mentor Adrian Peterson in Houston during the offseason will be points of evaluation during preseason play and training camp.
“There’s still such a suddenness there, even at the age of 36,” Rivers said. “He still looks fast. He’s sharp.”
Gates should still put up decent numbers this season.
After missing the first four games of last season due to a suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, Gates limped through the second half of 2015 following an MCL knee sprain in a Week 6 loss against the Green Bay Packers. Despite the suspension and being slowed by injury, he finished the season with 56 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns.
The Chargers drafted Hunter Henry in the second round of this year’s NFL draft to be Gates’ eventual replacement for a reason. Gates is near the end of a remarkable NFL career. Still, Gates is 12th on our TE list making him a low-end TE1 option. We project him for a 60-685-6.8 line this season making him a solid, late-round option. Buyers should probably have a backup plan, however.
The Chargers will report to training camp Friday and hold their first practice Saturday morning. Their spring ended with a scare, Danny Woodhead suffering an ankle sprain that could’ve been far more severe. He walked off the field under his own power. This week, he will sprint back onto it.
More than six weeks separated the end of minicamp and start of training camp. That gave ample time to recover for Woodhead, who will participate in the ninth training camp of his NFL career and fourth in San Diego. He is ready for it.
“It took a couple weeks, but now I’m as healthy as I’ve been in a long time,” Woodhead said. “I feel great going into the season.”
Woodhead is ranked 16th in PPR and is one of those backs to target in our Zero-RB draft strategy this year. Woodhead finished #12 in standard formats and #3 in PPR in 2015. He’ll have a new offensive coordinator, Ken Whisenhunt, who returns to the Chargers after coordinating the offense back in 2013. In that season, Woodhead averaged 9.3 FP (standard) and 13.8 FP (PPR) in 18 games, including the postseason. Those are solid RB2 (standard) and RB1 (PPR) numbers, respectively. Worries about the potential emergence of Melvin Gordon will depress Woodhead’s ADP, which is currently residing in the 7th round of early standard drafts (5th in PPR).
Monday, July 25, 2016, 9:11am
As Adrian Peterson prepares for his 10th NFL season, he's coming off his third rushing title in large part because of the unyielding work ethic that still has him training for three to four hours a day at his gym in Houston.
He's working to stay ahead of a young generation of running backs who were raised on Peterson highlights. And in the case of Melvin Gordon -- the San Diego Chargers back who finished second in the 2014 Heisman Trophy voting and was selected 15th in last year's draft -- Peterson has a protege who has come to Houston this summer in the hopes of adopting some of the four-time All-Pro's tenacity.
Gordon, who ran for 641 yards, fumbled six times and missed two games because of a microfracture in his left knee during a trying rookie season. He contacted Peterson in February about training with him this offseason, the story said. Gordon has gone through some of the same drills, designed to improve his balance and proprioception after his injury.
HC Mike McCoy on RB Melvin Gordon, who is recovering from microfracture surgery.
“Melvin has worked extremely hard this offseason,” he said “If you had seen him last Thursday do the conditioning part of the program in the offseason, you would have never known he was injured last year. He has worked extremely hard with (Head Trainer) James (Collins’) staff, (and we’re) very pleased with where he is at. He is getting more and more comfortable every day. (He’s) cutting certain ways, doing certain things and each day he has gotten better. I’m really looking forward to him having an outstanding year this year.”
Gordon missed the final two games, but through the first 15 weeks, he was the #44 RB in PPR formats. When Ken Whisenhunt was the offensive coordinator in 2013, Ryan Mathews was the #17 RB (PPR), so there is definitely potential in this offense if Gordon remains healthy and the team can sort out its offensive line. We believe that Danny Woodhead will finish as the top Charger running back in both formats, but Gordon is the wild card in San Diego.
Melvin Gordon took part in several individual and team drills. It was a busy day for the running back who had microfracture knee surgery January 5.
Gordon isn't scheduled to be at 100 percent at this stage of the offseason. And, he's not.
Gordon is coming off of a disappointing rookie season and microfracture surgery. We'd rather have Danny Woodhead in this backfield, though the team isn't going to give up on Gordon.
Keenan Allen got open fast and snatched passes, seven months after a lacerated kidney ended his season. If health allows, the 24-year-old looks on the verge of commanding a huge contract.
Allen racked up 67 catches for 725 yards and four touchdowns in eight games, so he was on pace for a 134-1550-8 season prior to lacerating his kidney. At the halfway mark, he was the #7 receiver in standard formats and #4 in PPR. He garnered 11.1 targets per game, but that number could decline a bit since Antonio Gates sat out four of those games. However, Allen saw 30 targets in three games with Gates, and in the third game (five targets), he only played 60% of the snaps due to the injured kidney. Given his usage, the fourth-year receiver a threat to finish as a WR1 in 2016.