San Diego fans may look at Vincent Jackson’s’ departure as another failure to sign by A.J (AJ),Smith. However with the acquisition of Wide Receiver (WR), Robert Meacham and Eddie Royal this past week, Smith has provided Quarterback Phillip Rivers with viable deep threats.
Meacham will fit right in here in San Diego. He averages nearly one touchdown catch for every six receptions—Fantasy leagues are taking note already. Some might consider his career in New Orleans a bust, however with Quarterback Drew Brees throwing the ball all over the yard to multiple targets(remember Rivers targeting 17 Receivers in 2010?), Meacham’s lack of a 50 plus reception year is deceiving. Moreover Meacham averages nearly 17 yards per catch.
Since having knee surgery and missing his rookie year in 2007, Meacham is three years younger than Jackson and in the prime of his career, without a lot of miles. The Chargers would have gladly taken Meacham’s numbers over true Draft Bust, Buster Davis.
With Eddie Royal, the Chargers are receiving instant locker room credibility: “I’m just happy to be with a great organization,” Said Royal, speaking to The Associated Press. “I’ve always had a lot of respect for the San Diego Chargers. Whenever we had to play them, we knew it was going to be a tough game, a hard-fought game, a high-scoring game, one that would come down to the fourth quarter. We knew they would be a well-coached, tough football team to play. When I got the opportunity to join them, I knew that I really had to give them a serious look.”
Royal is no Devin Hester, but the Bolts are not the Bears. Royal’s near 12 yard per punt return average will put the fully capable SD offense in good field position. The Chargers pitiful special teams of the past few years know Royal well: in ’09 Royal returned both a punt and kickoff for TD’s against San Diego. If you can’t beat them have them join you. Last year—punt returns were abominable. Royal is also a decent possession type receiver who will replace soon to be departed Patrick Crayton.
Speaking of new direction, these signings indicate a new attitude in the Clubhouse more than anything else. In that spirit, I would be remiss without taking a few parting shots at Vincent Jackson (VJ). Statistically speaking, Jackson has never put up big numbers. Never catching more than 69 passes, or catching more than 9 TD passes. Nothing on or off the field warranted AJ signing VJ to a big deal.
A former basketball player, just like Charger great-Antonio Gates VJ never embraced being a Charger. Jackson drove without a license and was detained by San Diego’s finest, before a playoff against the Jets, playoffs?(yes the Chargers used to win the AFC West every year). This incident was inexcusable and showed up on the field when he was bested by Darrelle Revis that day. During these often difficult times VJ has boycotted the media rather than be accountable.
Going to a team like Tampa Bay is where WR Diva’s go to do what Diva’s do—that is, sign big deals with non-contenders. Perhaps VJ didn’t consult with Tampa’s single season receiving record holder— Keyshawn Johnson. Johnson was let go without much ado by the dysfunctional Bucs after a falling out with Jon Gruden. In any event, at least Johnson wanted the damn ball.
At times last year VJ had the look of a Deer in the Stadium lights: none more than the during the TNF game against Oakland. Seemingly giving up on the play , losing the ball in the night sky, and then not even making an effort to tackle the intercepting player was in on the field debacle, which may have cast VJ’s fate.
AJ takes a lot of heat in the Charger Community, rightfully so in a lot of cases. The past week AJ has done well, making all the right moves at the Wide out position.. While I seriously wish the best to VJ(who has provided excitement), I don’t think this will be a case of instant departure remorse, say like a Michael Turner.