Yesterday, I talked about reasons I'm optimistic about the wide receiver group. Today I want to take a look at the other side of the coin. Also, I'm surprised by the result of yesterday's poll. I thought more of you would agree with cameronm about wanting to go from pessimism to optimism. Oh well. Sorry, cameronm.
1. Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander are still injury prone
Being injury prone isn't something that tends to improve with age and the Chargers' top two receivers are about as injury prone as one can be and still be counted on at all (read: not Buster Davis). Chargers fans can't help but be familiar with Floyd's injury history as he's played his entire career in the San Diego, but I get the distinct impression that many of you don't appreciate Alexander's. Danario Alexander has undergone five surgeries on his left knee dating back to his sophomore year of college. Last year's run of good health was the exception. There's very real cause for concern here. Some will want to point to the improved depth as a reason to discount this worry, but are you really comfortable counting on the third, fourth and fifth options getting the majority of offensive snaps? If you are, you're fooling yourself.
2. Eddie Royal is the frontrunner to start in the slot
I'm sure that doesn't sound like a bad thing to many of you. Perhaps you remember his rookie season fondly and think bad luck has kept him from repeating that success. Well, you're right and you're wrong. Eddie Royal's rookie campaign was his best season as a professional. However, he wasn't all that productive. Also, it's the only time he wasn't below replacement level. The bottom 10 percent of players at a position makes up what is considered replacement level. Royal's only put up one season that didn't fall below that level. He could be a starter on this team. Let that sink in.
3. Vincent Brown and Keenan Allen are both damaged goods
Well, I should qualify that. They're both potentially damaged goods. Plenty of players come back just fine from season ending injuries and major surgeries. Hell, look at Adrian Peterson. Fun fact: not everyone is Adrian Peterson. Chargers fans are reasonably excited about the potential of both Brown and Allen. They're talented, highly skilled players that should be very productive if healthy. If healthy is a monster of a qualifier that we toss around like it's a reasonable expectation. Neither player made it through last season healthy. Brown didn't even make it to the start of last season, and they entered this off season already worse for wear. There's no guarantee at all that either player will be able to produce at the level that was once (or even currently) projected for them, and they're both going to be counted on to produce.
There's a reason our fearless leader started that horrible, terrible, unfunny joke about not knowing Meachem's first name. He was a non-entity last season. He was the definition of a replacement player. He wasn't able to get on the field most of the time, and when he did get snaps he was only open enough to be targeted 32 times. Of those 32 passes he hauled in only 44% of them. Also, in case you've forgotten, he dropped what would have been a game-winning touchdown against the Browns. That doesn't really prove anything, but I can't get the image out of my head and now it's in yours, too. That makes me feel a little better. Some will argue that the system last year was particularly ill-suited to Meachem and that this year's will be better for him. Maybe. Or, maybe it's just a lot easier to make plays when you're playing in a dome, catching passes from Drew Brees and surrounded by talent like Darren Sproles, Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham. He may just not be that good outside of that nearly perfect situation.
5. It doesn't matter who's running routes if Rivers doesn't have time to throw
Now, the offensive line probably can't be as bad as it was last year. Last year's line was otherworldly bad, though, so not as bad could still be dreadful. We don't know what we're getting yet, and massive turnover is rarely a recipe for success along the offensive line. A number of the Chargers wideouts are at their best running deep routes that take a considerable time to develop. Without that time those players will be unable to shine. Philip Rivers also started feeling phantom pressure last season, so there's a non-zero chance it doesn't matter if the line is better if he's broken mentally. That's a fun thought.
I don't know about you, but I didn't find these arguments as compelling as the positive ones. I find that encouraging. Let me know if I missed anything in the comments.