Could Malcom Floyd Be The Missing Link To A Super Bowl
LIFE AFTER JACKSON
In 2012, Floyd was essentially forced to take on No. 1 receiving duties due to the fact that Jackson left town to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Floyd played and started in 14 games, amassing 814 yards, scoring five touchdowns and averaging 58.1 yards per game. You could say Floyd had arguably his second best season in 2012 in regards to numbers.
And it isn’t like Floyd hasn’t had huge games. In 2010 against Oakland in week 10, Floyd caught eight balls for career-high 213 yards.
2013 was a sort-of deja vu feeling for Floyd. Danario Alexander, who was signed off the streets in 2012 and expected to take over No. 1 duties, tore his ACL in training camp, thus making Floyd the No. 1 once again. Even without a reliable receiver to hold down the other side, Floyd continued what he did best: make plays. In week 2 against Philadelphia, Floyd had five catches for 102 yards before getting injured on a hit, thus ending his season (again, sorry to bring up the past). Whether or not this injury can be perceived in the slightest way as a blessing in disguise, it pushed third-round rookie Keenan Allen up the depth chart. As we all know, Allen went on to have a career-year.
CHEMISTRY WITH RIVERS
August 18, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers receiver Malcom Floyd (80) and quarterback Philip Rivers (17) react during the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Floyd has been targeted 395 times, catching 232 passes from Rivers. That is a solid 58.7 percent completion rate. While targeting Floyd, Rivers has thrown 25 touchdowns against 13 interceptions, racking up 4,009 yards a 100.7 passer rating. As a charger, Floyd has 198 (48.3 percent) catches going for first downs, as he averages 10.08 yards gained. Floyd has become Rivers’ second most reliable target (not most targeted) behind Antonio Gates, and that isn’t an opinion. Comparison you ask? Rivers-to-Jackson equalled a 55.5 percent completion rate. Not only is he reliable, but he is a receiver who can stretch the field. Floyd has accounted for 87 deep left/middle/right plays from 2006-13.
COMPARISON TO ANOTHER WIDEOUT
One player Floyd can be compared to is Green Bay Packers’ Jordy Nelson. The 28-year-old Nelson was drafted in the second round (36th overall) in 2008. Yes, Nelson has more touchdowns (36) in six years than Floyd does in nine, and he isn’t as tall as Floyd at 6′ 3, but it’s what Nelson brought to the table when he was the No. 2 receiver on the Packers.
He has caught 68.9 percent (252 of 366) of targets thrown his way from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, gaining 3,884 yards (4,590 career overall). Nelson averages out to 10.31 yards gained and has 45.4 percent of his plays resulting in first downs, another similar stat to Floyd. He also accounts for 49 deep plays (2008-13).
The major difference: Nelson has appeared in 89 games in six seasons.
NELSON’S PRESENCE IN 2010
The Packers finished the 2010 season with a 10-6 record, clinching the sixth seed in the NFC. The team eventually went on to reach Super Bowl XLV. Greg Jennings ran the show as the No.1 receiver, recording 76 receptions for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns, his third straight year going over 1,000 yards. Nelson established himself as the No. 2, playing in all 16 games and hauling in 45 catches for 582 yards.
The postseason is where he broke out. In four playoff games (starting all four), he caught 21 of 29 balls for 286 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 13.6 yards per catch. Nelson, alongside Rodgers and Jennings, helped the Packers make that Super Bowl run, which ended with a 31-25 victory over the Steelers.
Staying healthy is crucial, as it can lead to success. If Malcom Floyd can stay healthy amidst being productive, I believe he can be the x-factor should the Chargers make the playoffs. The fact that he has played in only one playoff game shows there hasn’t been a solid, reliable No. 2 receiver for the Chargers to help take that next step. If Floyd were to be healthy and mimic Nelson come playoff time, it takes a lot of pressure off Allen, and gives Rivers a deep-threat, sure-handed veteran to stretch the field.
But those are a lot of “ifs.”