I Guess You're Just What I Needed: Floyd's Emergence Will Pay Dividends

Mike KranzlerContributor INovember 2, 2009

SAN DIEGO - SEPTEMBER 20:Malcolm Floyd #80 of the San Diego Chargers and Fabian Washington #31 of the Baltimore Ravens both catch the ball  at Qualcomm Stadium on September 20, 2009 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jacob de Golish/Getty Images)
Jacob de Golish/Getty Images

As the Chargers scratched out a surprisingly difficult 24-16 victory over the reeling Oakland Raiders, one lineup change will make this offense all the more explosive in the upcoming weeks.

Norv Turner made his first significant lineup change of the season Sunday by inserting Malcolm Floyd in the starting lineup in place of the ineffective Chris Chambers. At 6-feet-5-inches, Floyd is a nightmare to cover for opposing defensive backs, especially when paired with the similarly-sized Vincent Jackson.

While built similarly, the Chargers' twin towers at wide receiver have different skill sets. Jackson is a complete receiver who is quickly becoming one of the best at his position in the NFL, while Floyd is much more one-dimensional.

However, they are both dangerous weapons when it comes to the deep passing game, which fits in perfectly with Philip Rivers' skill set.

While he has an unorthodox throwing motion, there may not be a better quarterback in the NFL right now than Rivers when it comes to throwing the deep ball. He has an incredible rapport with Jackson and can seem to drop it in to him streaking 50 yards down the field at will.

Floyd has also shown himself to be adept at making the big play when he has been given the opportunity, but he has seen far fewer snaps than Jackson because he is a bit of a one-trick pony.

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He is not much of a route-runner when it comes to the short-to-intermediate passing game, but is extremely dangerous when it comes to the deep ball. Even on poorly-thrown passes, he and Jackson have the size, strength, and athleticism to take the ball away from defenders more often than not.

Turner made a smart move in replacing Chambers in the starting lineup, as he has been largely ineffective this season. He has been a very reliable option when it comes to making the occasional first-down grab along the sideline, but he has had difficulties getting open this season, and his numbers are down significantly.

By giving Floyd an opportunity to play more snaps, Turner has made the Chargers offense much more dangerous while giving the veteran Chambers an opportunity to contribute more in spot duty than he has lately as a starter.

This switch also opens up more opportunities for the dangerous Legedu Naanee or even (gasp!) Buster Davis as slot receivers. With Jackson and Floyd stretching the field vertically, the underneath passing game should get a huge boost from the quickness of Naanee and Davis playing the role that Wes Welker fills for the explosive Patriots offense.

While it did not make a significant difference against a woeful Raiders squad that somehow plays its best against the Chargers, this move will play dividends over the rest of the season and create a Bolts' offense worthy of the Air Coryell days in San Diego.

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