What we saw from Stevie Johnson in Saturday night's exhibition against the Seattle Seahawks, the connection with Rivers that the Chargers hope to see so much this season, was borne in May and June and rekindled in August.
On the Chargers’ first possession, Johnson suddenly darted left, pulling away from the safety covering him in the slot to make a 34-yard reception-and-run that converted a third down. Before leaving with the rest of the first-team offense at halftime, Johnson had two more third-down conversions and finished with four receptions for 64 yards.
That is what replacing Eddie Royal looks like.
There is great potential in the marrying of Johnson’s ability to separate combined with Rivers’ ability to throw receivers open. When Rivers develops a rapport with a target, he anticipates where that receiver will be and makes connections that seemingly should never happen.
From 2010 to 2012, Johnson was one of the most consistent receivers in football, posting at least 76 catches, 1,004 yards and six touchdowns in three straight seasons. In PPR formats, he was the #10, #16 and #18 receiver in those seasons. The Chargers lost Eddie Royal, so there are targets to be had, especially with TE Antonio Gates suspended for the first four games. Johnson is having a good camp, so it appears that he’ll play ahead of retiring wideout Malcom Floyd.