The LA Chargers’ quarterback play
In the earlier slide, I mentioned how Williams managed to gain Rivers’ trust after proving himself in his second season. That led to Rivers chucking the ball Williams’ way all of 2019 when he needed a big play, perhaps sometimes to a fault. But as everyone already knows, Rivers is no longer in town.
That means that Williams’ long-built rapport with his quarterback is no longer a factor. Wide receivers of Wiliams’ skill set are very dependent on chemistry and confidence with their signal-caller.
Williams is not exactly a separator, and he wins with sure hands, a large frame to physically fight defenders for the ball, and a large catch radius. Now, you don’t throw the ball Williams’ way unless you trust him to make the catch, and that trust comes with time.
Williams is most likely going to be catching passes from either Tyrod Taylor, Justin Herbert, or both. Both quarterbacks mentioned have a reputation for being very conservative with the ball and are as far as you can be on the spectrum from Rivers’ gunslinger mentality and style.
That means, even if Williams manages to build chemistry with his quarterback extremely quickly, he will never get the amount of intermediate and deep passes he got from Rivers. And when the long passes do come, it’s unlikely they are from the same quality as a quarterback with the experience, timing and anticipation of Rivers.
The situation is more concerning in the case of Herbert. While he has a rocket arm that can get Williams the ball far down the field, his intermediate scattershot accuracy is something to keep in mind.
The one stat that would terrify me if I'm considering draft Justin Herbert or Jordan Love is this…
% of uncatchably off-target throws targeting when an OPEN receiver 5-18 yards downfield in 2019:
Tua 4.3%Hurts 5.0%Burrow 5.1%Love 14.1%Herbert 18.1%
— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) April 13, 2020
The situation of training camps is uncertain, to say the least, because of the coronavirus outbreak and social distancing measures. That’s valuable time that Williams and Taylor will need together, and a lack of training camp will dim Williams’ 2020 outlook even more.