Predictably, the astute Williamson believes if Jackson, a Pro Bowl receiver, and McNeill, a standout left tackle, stay away from the Chargers well into the regular season, it will severely hamper the team’s Super Bowl dreams.
“It would be crippling," Williamson said. "I still think the Chargers would have enough to win the AFC West, but they wouldn’t be a strong Super Bowl contender without these two guys. It’s early and a lot can happen, but if these two guys actually bypass their paychecks, the Chargers’ offense will be greatly affected.”
Williamson thinks Jackson is the team’s best receiving option.
“Tight end Antonio Gates is close, but Jackson is a stud," Williamson said. "He’s the go-to guy. Malcom Floyd is a good No.2, but Legedu Naanee would be a starter with Jackson out and I like Naanee as a No. 3 at best. They would have to hope Buster Davis can finally stay healthy and show something. But that may be a lot to ask for a guy who has never put it together.”
"McNeill is a strong point on a line that isn’t that strong," Williamson said. "San Diego would suffer without him.”
Still, Williamson believes San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers could succeed without his blindside protector and his top receiver.
“Rivers is one of those rare guys. He makes people around him better," Williamson said. "He gets rid of the ball quickly and he doesn’t take many sacks. He finds his receivers fast. He’d be relying on Gates a lot, but he could get away with it. ... Still, overall, the Chargers are weaker without those two guys.”