Welcome to Part 2 of our 2022 positional recaps, a series that will run through the next few weeks and highlight all 10 Chargers position groups. We'll focus on key stats, big moments and look ahead to the 2023 season.
This position group produced at a high level again in 2022, even as they saw plenty of shuffling in and out of the lineup.
Only one wide receiver — DeAndre Carter — played in all 17 regular-season games. Joshua Palmer missed one game and played in 16 contests.
Injuries took a toll on the rest of the group as Mike Williams (13 games played) and Keenan Allen (10) dealt with injuries in the regular season.
Jalen Guyton suffered an ACL injury in Week 3 and was lost for the season. Michael Bandy appeared in 10 games while Joe Moore played six games for the Bolts.
The constant movement led to some inconsistencies and a lack of explosive plays through the air as the Chargers had only seven passing plays of 40-plus yards.
It's worth noting that three of the teams still playing (Chiefs, Eagles and Bengals) all had at least 10 plays that went for at least 40 yards. The 49ers, who used three different quarterbacks this season, had six such plays.
Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco said last week that adding some punch on offense is a key goal for the 2023 season.
"It's definitely something that we need to add to our repertoire, as far as being able to get down the field just a little bit more," Telesco said. "It doesn't have to be 40, 50-yard throws, it can be the intermediate 15-to-18-yard crossing routes."
Continuity could be a helpful factor next season, as Williams, Allen and Palmer are all under contract. Carter and Guyton are set to be free agents.
Take a look back at the best photos of Keenan Allen's 2022 campaign
The Bolts had six players that had at least 500 receiving yards and three touchdown catches — the most players to do so on the same team in a single season in NFL history. Four of those players were wide receivers in Allen, Carter, Palmer and Williams.
Williams had a penchant for the big play in 2022, but his 35-yard catch against Tennessee in Week 15 was perhaps his best of the year.
With the game tied at 17 and roughly 30 seconds left, Williams outdueled a Titans cornerback down the right sideline for an acrobatic catch that moved the Bolts into field goal range.
"Having a big target like Mike, knowing that he is going to the sideline, and you can really put it anywhere around the defender, he's going to go up and get it," said quarterback Justin Herbert.
The Week 15 win over Tennessee helped the Chargers eventually secure a playoff spot.
Recorded 63 catches for 895 yards (14.2 average) and four touchdowns on 93 targets; made 13 starts and played 703 offensive snaps (60 percent)
Recorded 66 catches for 752 yards (11.4 average) and four touchdowns on 89 targets; made 10 starts and played 515 offensive snaps (43.2 percent)
Recorded 72 catches for 769 yards (10.7 average) and three touchdowns on 107 targets; made 11 starts and played 898 offensive snaps (75.4 percent)
Recorded 46 catches for 538 yards (11.7 average) and three touchdowns on 65 targets; made seven starts and played 698 offensive snaps (58.6 percent)
Recorded 10 catches for 89 yards (8.9 average) on 21 targets; made two starts and played 205 offensive snaps (17.2 percent)
Recorded two catches for 64 yards (32.0 average) on four targets; appeared in three games and played 29 offensive snaps (2.4 percent)
Recorded one catch for five yards (5.0 average) on two targets; appeared in six games and played 54 offensive snaps (4.5 percent)
2 Questions for 2023
1. How does this group bounce back?
When healthy, the tandem of Williams and Allen are among the game's best wide receiver duos. Add in Palmer and that is perhaps as strong a trio across the league.
But with that group ravaged by injuries in 2022, the position room could never quite reach its full potential.
The Chargers will have a new offensive coordinator in 2023 and that could lead to more explosive passing plays down the field. Better luck should help the overall offensive numbers, too, as the Bolts still have plenty of talent at this position.
2. Does the team add a wide receiver in the draft?
Mock draft season is here, and wide receiver is already among the positions being projected to the Chargers with the 21st overall pick.
The 2023 NFL Draft is still three months away, meaning a lot could change before now and then.
There certainly feels like a scenario where the Chargers could add another playmaker for Herbert to help enhance the offense as a whole.
But we're still a ways out from seeing if that happens or not.
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