This week it was announced that the San Diego Chargers put both wide receiver Malcolm Floyd and linebacker Dwight Freeney on the injured reserve. This means that for the rest of the season, both players will be unable to play. This news is a major change for the Chargers because both players had a significant role on the team. Going forward, both the offense and the defense will have to adjust in order to keep competitive.
After Danario Alexander went on the injured reserve in preseason, Floyd was expected to step up as the number one receiver for the Bolts. While not being the best candidate for a number one receiver role, it still seemed as if Floyd would be sufficient. In week one, Floyd racked up over 100 receiving yards. Then in the second game of the season, Floyd sustained a neck injury and hasn’t played since. On paper, the season ending injuries of the original number one and two receivers should be detrimental to the Chargers offense.
However, the Chargers passing game has been absolutely extraordinary this season without the two players. Phillip Rivers has the second most passing touchdowns of any quarterback and the team is ranked 6th in passing yards per game. Without Alexander and Floyd, Rivers has been distributing the ball very effectively to his other options. Antonio Gates and Eddie Royal are having seasons comparable to the prime of their careers and young receivers Kennan Allen and Vincent Brown are starting to live up to the potential experts have associated with them. While it would be helpful to have Floyd as another option, the Chargers’ offense will be fine.
Dwight Freeney was brought in this offseason to step up in the injured Melvin Ingram’s position at outside linebacker. His role was going to be to put pressure on quarterbacks and assist the young and developing defensive line the Chargers have. His injury now leaves a hole in a defense that was already way too thin in terms of depth. Aside from the void in the linebacker corps, the San Diego defense has already been struggling this season. The defense is the third worst in the NFL in yards per game and has struggled against both the pass and the run.
Despite all this, Freeney’s injury is not a huge problem for the Bolts. While it is useful to have a veteran that can sack the quarterback and make plays, Freeney wasn’t contributing much to the defense. In the four games he started, he only made two combined tackles and deflected one pass. The statistics not only are worse than what was expected of Freeney,but they are also worse that what is expected of any starting linebacker. If the Chargers only need someone to offer the same level of play as Freeney, it won’t be hard to find.