Chargers’ Mike Williams looks to step up contract year – Los Angeles Chargers blog
COSTA MESA, Calif .– Since joining Clemson as a rookie in 2013, Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams has been known for his long, beautiful, and flowing dreadlocks. At least until this season, when he got to training camp and then cut them off, he said, “because my mom said I wouldn’t.”
Cut short, Williams had a good training camp and then it happened during the season opener:
He has been targeted 12 times, his highest total since October 6, 2019 and the second highest in his five-year career.
He posted a career-high eight receptions for 82 yards.
He scored the winning touchdown on a 3-yard reception early in the fourth quarter to help the Chargers secure a 20-16 victory over Washington.
Is he faster, leaping higher, able to leap tall buildings with one bound?
Did cutting the dreadlocks do it?
Maybe, but more so, it was Chargers coach Brandon Staley and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi using Williams as an X receiver and putting him in a better position to make plays. And quarterback Justin Herbert makes a point of pitching him.
“He’s an incredible receiver,” said Herbert. “He’s one of those guys going up and 50/50 bullets are more like 75/25.”
âIt was fun,â Williams said. “For me, as a receiver, you want to get the ball back, you want to make plays for your team. It was good to have the ball in my hands to make plays. We have to keep rolling it.”
At 6-foot-5, Williams is a target you can see, if left untouched by a pitch, that the Chargers hope to do more in their home opener against the Dallas Cowboys (4:25 p.m. ET Sunday, CBS). Williams was a heavy-use wide receiver at Clemson, where he made 177 catches for 2,727 yards and 21 touchdowns.
These stats include a 2015 season in which he appeared in one game because he broke a bone in his neck after colliding with the goal post after a touchdown in the first set of the first game of the season. He came back to have a monster season in 2016, capturing 98 passes for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Chargers then made him the No.7 pick in the 2017 draft.
Since then he’s been a top-down performer for the Chargers whose best year in terms of distance was in 2019, where he caught 49 passes for 1,001 yards, a year after making 10 touchdown passes on 43 receptions. . Williams had 48 receptions for 756 yards and five touchdowns a year ago.
Williams has dealt with his share of injuries, particularly his back, but has continued to produce. His performance against Washington came despite hip flexor strain and could be a sign of bigger things to come.
Even Lombardi predicted it would be a big year for Williams, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
âIf I were a betting man I would bet on some nice numbers coming from him on the stats sheet,â Lombardi said. âAs much as this attack is like New Orleans, as much as he’s playing the X and the ball has always kind of found the X receiver in this attack. I think there will be a natural production that will happen due to nature. of the attack. “
On his relationship with Lombardi, Williams said they spoke after the game.
âI was like, ‘I like you,'” he said.
Even the one he missed in the end zone in the third quarter, because his big debut in 2021 could have been even more important.
“It was a missed opportunity. Throughout the game I made up for it,” said Williams. âComing out this week, we have to make plays because you don’t know the outcome. This game could change the game, so keep making these plays and the offense leans on me when they need me.â
With or without the dreadlocks.