With projected starting receiver Danario Alexander out for the year with a torn ACL and Vincent Brown expected to miss the preseason opener with a hamstring injury, the cupboard is quickly getting bare for Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.
Coach Mike McCoy expects the supplies to be re-stocked from within.
“They’re buying into what we’re doing and so it’s an opportunity for someone else to step up and that’s what this game is about,” coach Mike McCoy said regarding the wideouts, via quotes distributed by the team. “There’s injuries unfortunately, it’s a long season, you lose guys from time to time, the severity is always different, but that’s why we have to look for the best 53 here to help us win and there are some younger players who are going to get a great opportunity now, and it’s a matter of them stepping up. There are some big shoes to fill. . . .
“The next man has got to step up. That’s the attitude we’re going to take the entire year, if someone misses a game at any position, it’s the football team. The next guy has got to step up. That’s why what we do out here is so important. So guys buy into what we’re doing and as an organization we’ve got confidence in not just the starters, but the starters and the starters in the waiting. Someone’s going to come out of the game. Someone’s got to go in there. We can’t skip a beat.”
For that reason, the opening depth chart doesn’t matter, especially at the receiver position.
“The depth chart is a piece of paper right now,” McCoy said. “And we told the football team that. I had to put something down. . . . [I]n the next month it’s going to play itself out. Obviously, you lose Danario yesterday, so the depth chart changes. You never know when that’s going to be. Someone’s going to step up tomorrow night, and we’re going to think about OK, let’s move this guy up or let’s move this guy back. So it’s going to be changing constantly and we’re going to try to find the best 53 come the opener and we’ll set the depth chart in concrete when we play the first game. And that might change after the first game. There’s going to be an injury somewhere in the season, it’s going to change. The depth chart right now is a piece of paper and that’s just a starting point. Players are going to create their own role on this football team over the next month.”
The players seem to understand it, including Robert Meachem, the guy who was signed to be a No. 1 receiver but who has had to tell the man in the mirror that he sucked last year.
“It’s on you to change the depth chart,” Meachem said. “If you want to be a number one guy then you have to do what a number one guy does and that’s making plays.”
For now, the No. 1 guy is veteran Malcom Floyd. Beyond that, it’s Brown and Eddie Royal and Meachem and rookie Keenan Allen.
And lurking at the bottom (for now) is undrafted rookie Luke Tasker. If he’s anything like his father, Steve, Tasker will find a way to work his way onto the final 53-man roster.