The NFL Network is releasing their Top 100 players of 2012 and there just is not enough Chargers action on that list, so the staff at Bolt Beat got together to create a Top 10 Chargers list based off of their performances from last season.
5) Vincent Jackson
When you look at his numbers, Vincent Jackson is a true #1 receiver in the league. His 1,106 receiving yards ranked 16th in the NFL and his 9 TD catches tied for 6th. Only four WRs had more TD catches than VJ. He had four games where he eclipsed 100 yards receiving and two games where he recorded multiple TD catches. And this spring, VJ got paid like a #1 receiver when Tampa Bay signed him to a 5yr/$55MM deal.
Unfortunately for me and a lot of other Charger fans out there, the image of Jackson from 2011 that is seared into our minds is him bobbling that Phil Rivers pass in the 4th quarter of the Jets game and Darryl Revis picking it off and taking it the other way. If you remember, the Chargers were up 21-17 and heading into the redzone. A score would have put the Jets away and the Chargers would have started the season 5-1. That INT led to the go-ahead TD for the Jets and the Chargers not only lost that game but lost the next five which virtually killed their chances of making the playoffs.
Did the Chargers miss the playoffs solely because of Vincent Jackson? Of course not. But despite all his great games, VJ had one reception for 15 yards against the Jets, three catches for 49 yards the following week in that stomach punch loss to the Chiefs and was a no show with only two catches for 41 yards in the Week 16 loss to the Lions when the Chargers were hanging on to their playoff hopes by the hairs of their ass.
I voted for Jackson as the 2nd best Charger in 2011 and in retrospect that was probably a little too high, but here’s my case for him: The Chargers offense was riddled with inconsistency due to injuries to Gates and the OL. It took Ryan Matthews half the season to lose his man boobs and get into shape. Malcom Floyd only played in 12 games and was ineffective for most of them. Vincent Brown was a rookie and was also hurt. And the rest of the WR corps was comical when you look at them: Patrick Crayton. Richard Goodman. Bryan Walters. You’ll probably see all three of those guys on some street corner flipping cardboard signs up and down by the end of summer.
The final verdict: Vincent Jackson was one of the best Chargers in 2011 because he along with Phil Rivers were all they had on offense. But if you look at his shoddy performances in some key moments/games you wonder if he’s worthy of getting paid like a top WR in the NFL. We all how AJ Smith felt.
Bolt Beat Top 10 of 2011:
BOLT BEAT STAFF RANKING
Ernie Padaon N/A Cindi Spears-Cahill N/A Randy Mainwaring 8th Justin Bruce 10th Korey Kaczur 10th Booga Peters 7th Phil Lam 10th