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Without Danario Alexander, Chargers Receiving Corps Need to Step Up
The news saddened the Chargers locker room when it came down Tuesday that Danario Alexander tore his right ACL in practice.
A popular figure among his teammates and coaches, Alexander’s injury was a big disappointment to the entire team.
“It’s an unfortunate deal,” said Head Coach Mike McCoy. “He’s worked so hard to get where he is and coming back from the other one and the season he had last year. (He was) working extremely hard in the offseason to get in great shape. He was in great shape coming into camp. It’s the bad part of the game. I feel so bad for him because some players in this business just have bad luck. (He has had injuries to his left ACL in the past) and it’s one of those deals where he tore the other one yesterday and you just feel so bad for him.”
Still, injuries are unavoidable in the NFL as each team suffers their unfortunate share over the course of the season. While players understandably feel bad for their fallen comrades, they can’t afford to wallow too long. The game goes on.
So, while the news of his injury hit the team hard, the Chargers returned to the practice field Wednesday determined not to miss a beat, in order to replicate the production they were relying on Alexander to provide.
“That’s the good thing about the football team we have,” said McCoy. “It’s a good group of receivers we have. (Wide Receivers Coach) Fred (Graves) and (Offensive Quality Control Coach) Nick (Sirianni) have done a great job of coaching them, and they’re buying into what we’re doing so it’s an opportunity for someone else to step up. That’s what this game’s about. There are injuries unfortunately. It’s a long season and you lose guys from time to time. The severity is always different but that’s why we’ve got to look for the best 53 to be here to help us win. There are some younger players getting a great opportunity now. So it’s a matter of them stepping up, and there are some big shoes to fill.”
Arguably the player most affected by the loss of Alexander is Philip Rivers, yet the quarterback has confidence in his other wideouts stepping up to the plate.
“It’s a disappointing loss for our offensive unit and for Danario,” he said. “You feel for him individually. It’s the unfortunate thing about this league that injuries like this happen. But one thing that I know will happen is guys will step up. We do have depth to that receiving corps, but all those guys will have to kick it up a notch.”
According to the wide receivers, they are up to the task even though their hearts are heavy following Alexander’s tough-luck injury.
“We have a lot of depth at receiver, but it’s a devastating blow,” said Malcom Floyd. “He was a playmaker for us. We’re going to miss him, but we’ll hold down the fort. He did his best to take care of his body and you can’t control anything other than that. It was tough luck. It happens. It’s part of the game and part of being an athlete. But as a group, we have to come together and pick up the slack.”
Robert Meachem echoed the same sentiments as Floyd.
“It’s next man up,” he said. “That’s how we have to look at it. We have no other way. It’s a tough thing to see that happen because he worked so hard and he’s such a good guy. But for us as wide receivers, we’ve got to work even harder because he had a lot of big time production last year. So we’ve got to make up for it.”
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