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Mailbag: Who Picks up the Slack with Keenan Allen Out?
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Q: Who picks up the slack for Keenan Allen?– Marco Schremper
A: First off, I want to send best wishes out to Keenan. The numbers he posted this season were unprecedented, and he suffered his injury going all out for the team. As to who fills his shoes, it really must be a group effort. Allen’s 67 catches were the third most in NFL history through the first eight games of a season, so you can’t expect one person to replicate that production. The Bolts will need everyone to step up, whether it is a 12-year pro like Malcom Floyd or young receivers like Dontrelle Inman and Javontee Herndon. That being said, I am most eager to watch Stevie Johnson. While they have different styles, including the manner they get off the line of scrimmage, they are quite similar in many ways. In his eighth season, Johnson has three 1,000-yard plus seasons under his belt so he may be most equipped to pick up most of the slack.
Q: Why was Javontee Herndon added to the active roster instead of Tyrell Williams?– Nathan Fedora
A: The Bolts are high on each player, believing both Herndon and Williams have bright futures as receivers in the NFL. I won’t speculate on why the Chargers made the choice they did, but it is reasonable to think one factor was Herndon’s ability as a returner. With the team releasing Jacoby Jones on Tuesday, the Bolts are going in a different direction on special teams. Previously, Keenan Allen handled punt return duties and Branden Oliver brought back kickoffs. However, both players were placed on IR Tuesday. The Chargers already list Herndon at the top of their depth chart at returner, so there is a good chance we see him there on Sunday. He saw time at both spots this preseason, with the highlight a 30-yard punt return.
Q: So bummed to hear about Branden Oliver. He has the heart of a lion. Please pass along our best wishes for fast healing.– Armani Burns
A: Couldn’t agree more that he has the heart of a lion. I think you put it correctly. It’s always tough news when players go on IR, like we mentioned earlier with Keenan. I also feel for Tourek Williams, who transformed himself this offseason with a renewed passion and dedication only to injure his foot in the first preseason game. He refused to let them get the best of him, and worked hard to return to practice last week. Unfortunately, his injury eventually required being placed on IR so that was tough news to swallow. As far as “BO” goes, I showed him your message and he asked me to respond with the following:
“I thank you for your prayers. I really appreciate your support. I appreciate all the fans and their support. I’m doing pretty good and in better spirits. I went to church yesterday and got my mind back right. I was just actually talking to my brother, and that helped me a lot, too. So thank you for your prayers. That is the best thing right now, and I’m going to keep working.”
Q: Philip Rivers is the brightest spot this season. Despite the tough losses, I look forward to see him out there every game as he sets new records. Are there any new ones on the line?– Rayana Warren
A: There is a reason why Head Coach Mike McCoy said once again in his Monday press conference that the only word to describe number 17 is “special.” Like Allen was at wide receiver, what Rivers is doing is also unprecedented as he’s on track to shatter franchise marks for yards, completions and attempts. With three more TDs, he will tie Joe Montana for 12th in NFL history. With 39,408 passing yards thus far, he is also on track to reach 40,000 in the fourth fewest games behind Drew Brees, Dan Marino and Peyton Manning.