Some Chargers fans sell the future of Mike Williams remaining on the team past 2021 due to this past season. Honestly speaking, I don’t see how this season was much worse than Williams’ 2019 campaign.
Williams finished the season with 48 receptions and 756 yards. In terms of receptions, that’s only one fewer than his 49 in the 2019 season. It was the average yards that were different. Williams averaged 15.8 yards per reception in 2020. That was down about five yards per catch compared to his 2019 campaign.
The total yards might disappoint Chargers fans, but there are some pretty significant Non-Williams factors involved here. The quarterback change was massive for him. Herbert threw for 7.3 yards per attempt, down half a yard from Rivers’ 7.8 in 2019. That may not seem like a large discrepancy, yet it does add up over time.
Williams was also the only deep receiver that Rivers trusted in 2019. The Chargers added two deep targets to the usual rotation that Herbert had more familiarity with-Guyton and Johnson. I say more familiarity because Herbert was working with the second-stringers for most of the offseason.
The context behind Williams’ numbers makes a lot more sense with Herbert throwing deep less frequently than Rivers combined with the team having more realistic deep options.
I’m not saying Williams was not a perfect receiver this year or anything. There were some bad drops like the infamous one in the first Raiders game. He’s not a great route runner yet either. But still, I find myself a little shocked when I see how many fans want to get rid of him or trade him. He had one fewer catch than in the season where he had 1000 yards.
The bottom line is that he’s a crucial piece of this offense. Having more time with Herbert through the offseason this year will work out some of the kinks and develop a better connection between the two. He’s one of the best jump-ball receivers in the league and is by far the second-best receiver on the team.