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Chargers WR Mike Williams’ ACL injury speeds up Quentin Johnston development plan

The Los Angeles Chargers ready this offseason for the potential of injury to one in every of their star receivers.

Just three weeks into the common season, head coach Brandon Staley must break glass and use first-round choice Quentin Johnston extra usually after the information that big-bodied receiver Mike Williams suffered a torn ACL in his left knee on Sunday, ending his season.

It’s the newest setback for what has been an injury-plagued profession for the proficient Clemson product. Williams missed 4 video games final season with a high-ankle sprain, and in addition was out for L.A.’s postseason loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars due to a again challenge.

Williams, who turns 29 in October, is within the second yr of a three-year, $60 million contract he signed in March 2022.

The Chargers drafted Johnston as insurance coverage in case starters Williams or Keenan Allen have been out for an prolonged interval. L.A.’s third receiver, Josh Palmer, has confirmed he is able to deal with extra of a workload, with eight catches for 83 yards and a rating by means of three video games.

In Johnston, the Chargers have a receiver with the same ability set to Williams. At 6-foot-4 and 215 kilos with a large wingspan, Johnston can win contested catches deep down the sphere. He’s additionally blessed with the suddenness and run-after-catch capability to make issues occur within the fast recreation. Johnston has not obtained a lot workload by means of the primary a part of the common season. 

“He’s going to proceed to enhance as we go on,” Staley mentioned about Johnston. “He’ll earn increasingly more taking part in time the extra that he continues to point out up on the apply subject and within the video games, getting right into a rhythm. I like the place he has progressed.”

Johnston has simply 5 catches for 26 yards on eight targets and has performed a complete of 48 offensive snaps by means of three video games. Because of Johnston’s distinctive capability as an enormous man with quickness, the Chargers might use the TCU product extra on performs close to the road of scrimmage like slants, bubble screens and jet sweeps to get the ball in his palms rapidly. 

“He goes to make a bunch of performs,” Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore mentioned about Johnston. “He goes to make a pair that he needs again. He’s going to make a few, perhaps, alignment errors. But that occurs whenever you’re a younger man, the primary time on the market.” 

David Helman recaps Chargers’ 28-24 win over Vikings with FOX crew

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At 1-2, the Chargers are scratching and clawing to stay within the AFC playoff dialog. Having a proficient participant like Johnston already at their disposal ought to assist quarterback Justin Herbert and the remainder of L.A.’s offense, so they don’t miss a beat with Williams out. 

Allen, 31, stays L.A.’s No. 1 receiver and Herbert’s prime goal. The Cal product leads the Chargers in receptions (32), receiving yards (402) and targets (39) by means of three video games. On Sunday towards the Vikings, Allen had 18 catches, tying for the third-most in a regular-season recreation in NFL historical past, for 215 yards.

The Chargers are No. 4 within the NFL in passing yards, averaging 308.7 yards per recreation. Next week they host the Raiders, who’re permitting a 74.8% completion proportion, thirtieth within the league.

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for greater than a decade, masking the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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