With four touchdowns in three games for the Bolts, it's safe to say Mike Williams is thriving in the Chargers offense this year. Williams had a career-high 122 receiving yards in Kansas City last week and has scored 26 points so far this year (most for an AFC non-kicker).
Take a look at what head coach Brandon Staley and quarterback Justin Herbert said about No. 81 over the last few days:
Brandon Staley's vision for Williams in the offensive scheme: 'This guy is a power forward'
"I feel like Mike has the label of just being a deep ball guy. A guy that just plays outside the red line, specifically. I've never seen him that way. This guy is a power forward; this guy is really a three. To me, he's like a three or four in the NBA. I want this guy on more inbreaking cuts. I want this guy on the basics, the digs — specifically, the slants. When you have to defend the nine-route against the guy who can climb the ladder, the route that you must complement a 9-route with is a slant. He's s 6-foot-four, 220 pounds; this guy's a power forward. He's going to box you out most of the time and it's just tough on us defensively.
"We wanted to get him more on these inbreaking cuts, also putting him in the slot some. When you're playing against a smaller, nickel-type defender, he's got size on the guy. Just expanding his location on the field to where he's not just a boundary one. Moving him around within the formation, and that would allow [WR] Keenan [Allen] to move. I felt like that would be an advantage for us, offensively. Mike's been awesome. Mike's a simple guy, but he's just an easy guy to just talk football with. He's just a ball guy, he will do whatever you ask. I've enjoyed coaching the guy."
Brandon Staley on getting Williams more involved in passing game:
"I tip my cap, number one, to [Wide Receivers Coach] Chris Beatty, our receivers coach. When you have guys like Mike and Keenan [Allen], earning their respect and their trust, and adding a couple of things in his game, where we feel like, 'Hey, a couple of things in your game, we can really activate. We think this is going to create even more production for you.'
"Then, when you dive into [Offensive Coordinator] Joe Lombardi and [Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach] Shane Day, within our passing attack, with Chris [Beatty], this is how we're going to design this offense and really get Mike in situations that are advantageous for him — from a matchup standpoint, getting him to be running the right routes against the right guy. The type of chemistry that he's been able to build with Justin [Herbert], you put all of those factors into play. I think that's how you want to do things for all of your guys."
Brandon Staley on noticing Williams' skill level in college and while coaching in Denver:
"What he did to Alabama, like way back when, when he was at Clemson — because I know a lot of the guys on that staff at Alabama, I'm close with a lot of them — what he did to those guys in that game against those guys, I was a really big fan of his back then. Then, when I was in Denver in 2019 and we had to go defend these guys, we had to come here and defend these guys. Keenan Allen grabs your attention. Everybody knows that Keenan is this gangster route-runner, one of the premium route-runners, but then you see this Mike Williams guy — I mean, he's 6-foot-4, 220 [pounds], he can climb the ladder, has body control, can judge the ball deep, and then he's on these in-breaks. I just remember thinking, 'This is a real issue, guys. A real issue,'...I just remember that catch he had against us in 2019 at Denver, where he just came down from the heavens. We had him perfectly covered and he just came down from the heavens, and I just remember thinking, 'This guy is a really good player.'"
Brandon Staley on growing relationship with Williams:
"Now, getting to know the guy, I've gotten closer to him as a person, too. I feel like we've been able to really establish something. We're at the beginning. I'm just excited to uncover even more. Certainly, without Mike Williams, our production wouldn't be where it is. He's really been fantastic through three games."
Justin Herbert on Williams' presence in offense:
"Mike Williams changes our offense. He's one of those guys that we knew going into this year, we needed to get him the ball more. When you spread the ball out between Keenan (Allen), Jared Cook and Mike Williams, it doesn't get much tougher than that."
Justin Herbert on Williams' 20-yard touchdown play against the Chiefs:
"It was supposed to be a slant but Mike has such a great feel for leverage of the defender. He put his hand up, I saw it and got the ball off quick enough. I didn't actually get to see him catch the ball because I was on the ground but he makes plays out there. For him to do that, we definitely have to talk about it, but it was good to see from him."
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