Suddenly Deep Receiving Corps Quiets Critics
WR Vincent Jackson (Streeter Lecka/Getty)
WR Vincent Jackson (Streeter Lecka/Getty)

Posted May 30, 2008

In years past the Chargers have gone into the summer with question marks surrounding their wide receiving corps. No more. What was once a weak link in an explosive offense deserves spotlight all its own. It's transformed from being a potential liability to a real team strength.

The Chargers will trot out Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson as their top two wideouts, and when was the last time that position had so much talent?

The veteran Chambers was a great pickup last year at the trading deadline, escaping the woeful Dolphins to give the Chargers' passing game a spark. He finished with 66 catches for 970 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

The young Jackson, in his third year, was among the benefactors of Chambers' arrival. Defense no longer could focus on him on the deep routes, with the reliable Chambers lining up on the other side.

Jackson had 41 catches for 623 yards and three scores.

The Chargers not only have two solid starters, but depth as well.

The coaches were relatively encouraged with the development of Buster Davis, a first-round pick last year. They expect him to become more consistent and enjoy that normal bounce good players have going from Year 1 to Year 2.

And don't overlook the versatile Legedu Naanee, who can line up in various spots in Norv Turner's offense. Many predict he will be a starting wide receiver at some point in his career.

There's also the possible return of Eric Parker, who missed all of last season with a toe injury. Before Parker was hurt, he had the best hands among the Chargers' wideouts. The three seasons before his injury he had at least 47 catches and 650 receiving yards in each of those years.

Someone left on the outside looking in with this deep group is Kassim Osgood. The two-time AFC Pro Bowl special teams player has squawked that he doesn't get a shot as a receiver -- the position he played in college.

Osgood is skipping some of the voluntary workouts and has asked to be traded. General manager A.J. Smith has declined that request.

Instead of catching on elsewhere, Osgood will have to watch others catch passes in San Diego.

And for Malcom Floyd, his time might have run out to be a contributor in the passing game.

But for quarterback Philip Rivers, his options have never looked better.


UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
--RB Tyronne Gross (not tendered as ERFA).
--OT L.J. Shelton: FA Dolphins; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--LB Derek Smith: FA 49ers; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--OT Jeromey Clary: ERFA; terms unknown.
--WR Malcom Floyd: ERFA; terms unknown.
--CB Cletis Gordon: ERFA; terms unknown.
--CB Steve Gregory: ERFA; terms unknown.
--LB Marques Harris: RFA; tendered at $1.47M; terms unknown.
--DT Brandon McKinney: ERFA; terms unknown.
--G Scott Mruczkowski: Potential RFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
--QB Billy Volek: UFA; $9M/3 yrs, $3M SB.
--CB Drayton Florence: UFA Jaguars; $36M/6 yrs, $12M SB.
--S Marlon McCree (released).
--FB Lorenzo Neal (released).
--OT Shane Olivea (released).
--K Dave Rayner: Not tendered as RFA/Dolphins; terms unknown.
--RB Michael Turner: UFA Falcons; $34.5M/6 yrs, $15M guaranteed.

Related Stories
Breaking Down the Bolts: Special Teams
 -by  May 30, 2008
Playbook Profile: Goal-line Misdirection
 -by  Jun 1, 2008
Breaking Down the Bolts: Wide Receivers
 -by  Jun 3, 2008

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WR Chris Chambers (profile)
WR Buster Davis (profile)
WR Malcom Floyd (profile)
WR Vincent Jackson (profile)
WR Legedu Naanee (profile)
WR Kassim Osgood (profile)
WR Eric Parker (profile)
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