UPDATE: Thursday, August 30 at 3:27 p.m. ET by Jessica Isner: It's been relatively quiet on the Chargers' wide receiver front over the last couple of days, and there's still no indication of whether Robert Meachem or Malcom Floyd will end up being the top guy.
There are, however, a lot of opinions about which one of them it should ultimately be.
We have one Bleacher Report contributor who isn't necessarily on Team Floyd, but he's certainly not on Team Meachem. B/R's Christopher Bowen believes quarterback Philip Rivers needs to make some serious adjustments if Meachem is going to end up being his go-to guy, and here's why.
Meanwhile, B/R contributor James Shim takes the opposite perspective: Malcom Floyd is the most important veteran asset this team has, even if it's simply because he's the one with the most experience playing with Rivers.
Moreover, he talks about the reported chemistry issues between Rivers and Meachem—which could obviously hurt Meachem's chances of success in this offense. Given Floyd's experience with Rivers—and with this team—he already has established at least some chemistry with the QB.
—End of Update—
The Chargers lost Vincent Jackson. It's over.
For years, Jackson was Philip Rivers' prime target, accumulating more than 1,000 yards in three of the last four seasons (the exception being in 2010, when he missed the first 10 games of the season). Now, Rivers will have to find someone else to go to.
Now that Jackson has a new team in the Buccaneers—and a brand-new five-year contract—the big question in San Diego is: Will Robert Meachem or Malcom Floyd be Rivers' new No. 1 target?
Meachem, of course, figures to be the Chargers' answer to Jackson's departure. Shortly after Jackson signed with the Bucs, Chargers GM A.J. Smith signed the former Saint to a four-year, $25.9 million deal that he may or may not be worth.
The positives: Meachem is young, he's fast and he was a part of New Orleans' Super Bowl-winning team in 2009, a season in which he collected a career-high nine touchdowns and 804 total yards.
The negatives: In his other three years in the league, he hasn't really come close to those numbers. He finished last season with 638 yards and six TDs after starting in just eight games but playing in all 16.
Is he ready to be Rivers' go-to guy in San Diego? Maybe. For the most part, he's been able to stay healthy since missing his rookie year due to injury, and perhaps with more targets, he can beef up his numbers.
But then there's Floyd, who has seven years of experience under his belt—all with the Chargers—and has tallied 700 yards or more in each of the last three seasons. His 2011 campaign was his best yet—he registered 856 yards and averaged 19.9 yards per reception with five TDs and zero fumbles.
But Floyd hasn't been able to stay healthy—ever. There has only been one season in which he has appeared in more than 13 games (2009), and he's never made more than nine starts.
One player is unproven and inexperienced with this franchise. The other can't seem to stay on the field. Which one of them is going to compensate for Jackson's massive production?
According to Christopher Harris of ESPN.com, Meachem is the right guy to look to as Rivers' new prime target. He writes:
My preference is Meachem, because (A) Floyd is a bad bet to stay healthy; (B) Meachem is faster and a more naturally gifted route-runner and catcher; and (C) Meachem is the dude making the serious money.
Obviously, neither Meachem nor Floyd looks quite like a star—yet. Maybe they just need opportunities to develop into stars of Jackson's caliber. Granted, it seems a little late for a 31-year-old receiver to be developing, but then again, maybe this is the year he puts that experience to use and breaks out.
Soon, we'll find out.
Check back here periodically for all of the latest updates on the wide receiver battle in San Diego.
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