The Chargers have the same quarterback that they’ve had for several years, but their passing game is going to look very different this season.
Vincent Jackson is gone and the team signed four veteran wide receivers this offseason. Roscoe Parrish and Micheal Spurlock will need to fight for snaps, but Robert Meachem will likely start and Eddie Royal is also ticketed for a major role. Charger coach Norv Turner didn’t hold anything back when sharing his thoughts about Royal.
“He’s a real smooth receiver,” Turner said, via Tom Sheridan of the North County Times. “He reminds me of Charlie Joiner, and reminds me of Henry Ellard, guys that I’ve been around. He’s very deceptive. And sometimes he doesn’t look like he’s going that fast, and he’s hauling.”
Pretty good company for a player who has 201 catches over the first four years of his career. Joiner’s exploits with the Chargers led him to the Hall of Fame and Ellard ranks ninth on the NFL’s all-time receiving yards list, with both men posting career averages of more than 16 yards a catch at a time that saw less prolific passing attacks around the league. Royal is just a shade over 10 in that metric, although Joiner and Ellard both have similar builds to Royal.
Sheridan reports that Royal “could become the safety valve” that Philip Rivers missed with Darren Sproles’ departure. That would be a welcome development for the Chargers offense, although it would take a bit more than that for Royal to reach the level of Joiner and Ellard.