WR Tyrell Williams become only the 15th Charger to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.
Those who visited Chargers.com on May 6 last offseason saw an article on a young wideout wondering not only how he fit into the team's plan, but what it would take in order to simply make the roster.
It almost seems laughable that question was being asked after the year Williams just posted, but it showcases the gigantic leap forward the 24-year old took in his sophomore campaign.
Just how great was it?
Williams became only the 15th player in Chargers history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards. Remarkably, it's a feat he never accomplished in high school or college.
When all was said and done, Williams finished with 69 receptions for 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 15.3 yards per catch. His six catches over 40 yards were tied for the most in the NFL and his 13 over 25 yards ranked fifth. Dangerous with the ball in his hands, Williams' 468 yards after the catch ranked sixth among wide receivers.
However, if you think Williams is satisfied, think again. If anything, he's focused on his shortcomings and what he needs to do to take his game to even greater heights in 2017. For starters, that includes fighting for the ball in the air; something he is still learning to do and acknowledges remains a work in progress.
"Jump balls and those types of passes I need (to get better at)," he said. "In high school and college I was never given the opportunity to have a jump ball. I was never really taught it and never had to do it. I think that will come with more repetition."
Even with his success, Williams has heard the criticism that he hasn't fought hard enough for 50/50 balls. It's a critique he agrees with.
"They are right. I see the same thing. I need to get better at fighting for those balls. That is (a focus this offseason). When I see the ball up there, I need to make sure if I can't catch it to at least make sure it isn't intercepted. But I think that comes with more experience. I want Philip (Rivers) to be able to trust me that when he throws it to me, it's not going to get intercepted even if I don't come down with it."
At the same time, Williams is relishing his breakout season. Even though he entered the year with the mindset he had to fight for his spot, he never doubted his ability. What he finds most hard to believe is how he's turned into a fan favorite
"This was a big year for me," he admitted. "It's crazy to think how it's gone. I knew I needed to step up when Keenan (Allen) went down, and I think I did. Still, I always think about the plays I could have made throughout the year. What I could have done to help us win more games. Again, I think I could have played better and there are things I need to work on, but I'm happy I was able to contribute."
What made his big year all the more meaningful was being able to share each moment with his family. Williams' father was in the stands in the 2015 finale for his first NFL reception – an 80-yard touchdown catch against the eventual Super Bowl Champions. His family was also at Qualcomm Stadium Sunday to see him surpass 1,000 yards on the year.
"My whole family, they've always come to all my games. I went to college close to home so they were able to go to those. My brother lives in Irvine so he's able to come down easily for most games. My dad isn't going to miss a game if he can and my mom comes to as many as she can. It was special last year when I scored my first touchdown in front of him, and it was special to have them there again. I wouldn't be where I am today without them."