San Diego Chargers: Malcom Floyd

Good morning. Bucky Brooks of put together his list of the most complete running backs in the league right now. And San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews earned a spot on the list at No. 8.

Even though Danny Woodhead serves as San Diego’s running back on passing downs, Mathews still has the ability to make things happen as a pass catcher. More importantly, he developed into one the most effective runners in the league last season, rushing for a career-best 1,255 yards in 2013.

Brooks: "The additions of Donald Brown this year and Danny Woodhead last year have turned Mathews into a bit of a role player in the Chargers' offense, but he still displays the skill and versatility to be a three-down back. The fifth-year pro has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in two of his past three seasons, exhibiting the balance, body control and vision to be effective between the tackles or on the perimeter. Mathews finished 2013 with six 100-yard games (he narrowly missed a seventh, posting a 99-yard effort in Week 16) and caught at least three passes in four different contests. Although his receiving numbers were greatly affected by Woodhead's prominent role in the passing game, Mathews' skills as a runner/receiver make him worthy of consideration as one of the league's most complete running backs."
SAN DIEGO -- Sunny skies greeted the San Diego Chargers as the entire team took the field for the first time in preparation for the 2014 season.

Coach Mike McCoy also had to deal with a couple veteran no-shows in the first organized team activity. The practices are voluntary, so McCoy said he had no problem with running back Ryan Mathews, offensive guard Jeromey Clary, outside linebacker Dwight Freeney, inside linebacker Jonas Mouton and tight end Antonio Gates being no-shows on the first day of practice.

Rookie running back Marion Grice and cornerback Greg Ducre also were not in attendance.

McCoy said the absences were expected, and he had no issues with any of the players not being there.

“Not at all,” McCoy said. “We know why they are not here. And we’re going to get better with the guys we have here right now. It’s voluntary, and we know why people are not here.”

Mathews, 26, is in the final year of his rookie contract. The Chargers signed running back Donald Brown to a three-year, $10.4 million contract this offseason, and the University of Connecticut product will actually make more in total compensation in 2014 ($4 million) than Mathews ($2 million) for the upcoming season.

But Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said before the draft that Mathews had no concerns with the signing.

“Ryan is a starting back, so his role will essentially be the same,” Telesco said. “Ryan’s a smart guy. He knows why guys are here, and he knows what his role is. It wasn’t an issue at all.”

Clary is due to make $4.55 million in total compensation for the upcoming season. And with San Diego drafting Notre Dame product Chris Watt in the third round, there’s some thought Clary could be asked to take a pay cut.

But as of right now, Clary is set to make his current salary. San Diego’s first-unit offensive line included King Dunlap at left tackle, Chad Rinehart at left guard, Nick Hardwick at center, Johnnie Troutman at right guard and D.J. Fluker at right tackle.

Floyd’s back: Malcom Floyd, 32, said he’s been cleared for full contact after suffering a serious neck injury in Week 2 of the 2013 regular season against Philadelphia. The veteran receiver worked with the first unit opposite Keenan Allen, and even took a good blow when middle linebacker Donald Butler got caught in the air while going after the ball. Butler braced his impact by grabbing Floyd, and both players fell to the ground.

“I think I’m ready for regular contact now after today,” Floyd said, smiling. “But it felt good. This is something I’ve been looking forward to. There’s no more looking back.”

Hardwick was not pleased with the play, giving Butler an earful afterwards. Butler apologized to Floyd after the play.

Te’o out: Second-year pro Manti Te’o was one of a couple players who did not practice due to injury. Te’o still is rehabbing from foot surgery during the offseason. Tight end John Phillips (knee) and offensive lineman Michael Harris (ankle) also did not practice.

McCoy did not seem too concerned with Te’o being limited on Tuesday.

“We’re just taking it one day at a time with him, like everybody else who has some kind of injury,” McCoy said.

Some tidbits: Players who stood out during team drills includes tight end Ryan Otten, running back Branden Oliver and cornerback Brandon Ghee. … Shareece Wright and Richard Marshall were the starting corners with the first unit. … Javontee Herndon did a nice job catching punts on the side field during practice.
Considered a long shot to return from a serious neck injury, according to Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego, San Diego Chargers veteran receiver Malcom Floyd is expected to play for the team in the upcoming season.

"The doc said … I'm at risk just like anybody else," Floyd told U-T San Diego. "There's not really a worry. As far as going out there and performing, I'm really excited to make plays again. Hopefully, I can do more this year than I ever have."

The Chargers have not confirmed this report. However, Floyd has been a full participant in the team's offseason workouts up to this point.

Floyd suffered the injury in a Sept. 15 game at Philadelphia, getting sandwiched between two defenders while attempting to make a catch over the middle of the field. Floyd finished the season on the injured reserve list.

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco addressed Floyd's status in the lead up to this year's draft. When asked about Floyd, Telesco said that the 32-year-old receiver is on the team's official 90-man roster, and part of the team's plans moving forward.

"Mentally and personality-wise he looks great, which is good to see," Telesco said. "He has a smile on his face and is ready to go. So we'll see where that goes. I know he feels good and he wants to play."

Floyd is one of 12 receivers currently on San Diego's 90-man roster. If he can return to his old form, at 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds the University of Wyoming product would give the Chargers a receiver that can stretch the field opposite second-year pro Keenan Allen.

Floyd turns 33 in September.
Good morning. Ricky Henne of reports Malcom Floyd will participate in the San Diego Chargers' offseason program, which begins on Monday.

The receiver still has hurdles to clear as he attempts to return from a serious neck injury that cut short his 2013 season. Floyd, 32, said he's been cleared to run and workout, but has not been cleared for all football activities.

"I'll definitely be there for that," Floyd said about San Diego's offseason program. "I'm excited to be back and just be around my teammates again. You don't realize how much you take for granted until you go through something like I did, so it feels good to be back. I know I'm in good hands with [head athletic trainer] James Collins and his staff. I'm listening to their advice and to my body, and I feel like I'm in a good position right now. I feel really good running and everything."

Darren Smith of The Mighty 1090 talks with NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock in this audio link. Mayock said cornerback and pass rush are San Diego's top draft needs.

Bucky Brooks of the NFL Network has the Chargers selecting Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller in the first round and Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix III in the second round in his two-round mock draft.

Michael Gehlken of U-T San diego reports on some draft prospects that will participate in the Chargers' local pro day on Wednesday.

Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post reports Montana linebacker Brock Coyle will visit the Chargers on Wednesday.

ESPN's Paul Lukas of Uni Watch has an interesting report on Riddell's new football helmet SpeedFlex. The helmet has a cutout at the crown of the helmet, creating a flexible panel designed to disperse impact.

Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated ranks his top 10 cornerbacks in this year's draft. Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard tops the list.
Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego talks with San Diego Chargers receiver Malcom Floyd about his ongoing recovery from a serious neck injury that cut short his 2013 season.

Floyd suffered the injury in a Sept. 15 game at Philadelphia, getting sandwiched between two defenders while attempting to make a catch over the middle of the field.

According to Gehlken, Floyd still has to wear a neck brace to bed at night. Floyd has been told by doctors that the injury is potentially career ending. However, Floyd says the injury is steadily improving, and he hopes he can return to action in 2014.

At 32 years old, Floyd would be a bonus for the Chargers to get back on the field, particularly with the development of Keenan Allen. But neck injuries are risky propositions to come back from, particularly this late in someone’s career.

• Chargers defensive lineman Corey Liuget was mic’d up for last week’s AFC divisional round contest at Denver. Check out the video.

Charles Davis of gives the Chargers Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro in his first mock draft.

Former NFL scout Gil Brandt places Keenan Allen and D.J. Fluker on his all-rookie team.

• Khaled Elsayed of Pro Football Focus ranks San Diego’s Cam Thomas and Thomas Keiser in the bottom 10 of the defensive line interior and edge pass rushers in 2013.

Rob Rang of has South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney at the top of his big board.

Dane Brugler of offers his top 10 prospects to watch in this weekend’s East-West Shrine game.
Good morning. ESPN’s Jeffri Chadiha offers an interesting read this morning on the NFL’s endangered species. He takes a closer look at certain types of players or positions that are becoming obsolete, including the fullback position, the apprentice quarterback, the workhorse running back, the hard-hitting safety, the pocket passer, the blocking tight end and the kicker returner.

Some of these positions, such as the blocking tight end and the pocket passer, I don’t see going away, because teams still need players with those skill sets to effectively move the ball on offense. But Chadiha raises some interesting arguments for some of those other positions fading away. The Chargers have a fullback on their roster in Le’Ron McClain, but he only played in six offensive snaps last week against Dallas.

Here’s what Baltimore fullback Vonta Leach had to say about the dwindling numbers at his position.
“The thing that keeps me around is my versatility. I can run block and I can catch passes out of the backfield. Most of the guys who play the position can only do one or the other. But anybody who knows football knows how important the fullback is to the game. We set a tone for the offense. And the position will still be important going forward, even if fewer teams use it. For one, some running backs just can't run without a fullback in front of them. There's also always going to be a need for a physical presence in your backfield. As wide open as this game is getting, that doesn't change the fact that you're still going to have goal-line and short-yardage situations. And when those situations come up, teams are going to need players who can help them convert.”
An excerpt from a new book by ESPN investigative reporter Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru reveals the NFL’s consistent denials, until recently, that concussions were a serious player issue in the league. This is definitely worth taking a look at.

ESPN’s Dan Graziano has Jake Locker and Ryan Tannehill in the top 10 on his weekly MVP watch, but no Philip Rivers? Interesting. In fairness, Graziano limits his candidates to teams with winning records, which is 10 teams heading into Week 5.

Bill Barnwell of Grantland gives consideration for Rivers has his comeback player of the year through a quarter of the season, but goes with Baltimore pass-rusher Terrell Suggs.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes the San Diego Chargers should trade for Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew. The UCLA product is 28 years old, and in the final year of a contract that pays him $4.95 million this season. Oh, and he’s averaging 2.4 yards per carry. Yeah, I don’t see that happening.

ESPN’s Paul Guiterrez reports that Terrelle Pryor will start at quarterback for the Raiders on Sunday, and Matt Flynn has been demoted to the team’s No. 3 quarterback.

Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego talks with injured Chargers receiver Malcom Floyd, who says he’s plans on getting healthy and returning to the field in 2014.

Ricky Henne writing for the San Diego Chargers' website profiles new receiver Lavelle Hawkins.

D.J. Fluker misses practice again

September, 20, 2013
San Diego Chargers rookie right tackle D.J. Fluker did not practice Friday, missing a second straight day because of a concussion he suffered late in practice Wednesday. He is listed as questionable to play Sunday against Tennessee.

Fluker, the Chargers' top draft pick this year, must pass an NFL test before being cleared to play. If he cannot play, second-year player Mike Harris would start in his place.

Inside linebacker Donald Butler practiced fully Friday for the first time this week after a groin injury. He is listed as questionable. Rookie linebacker Manti Te’o is listed as doubtful. He was limited all week with his foot injury, and odds are Te’o will make his debut in Week 4.

As expected, receiver Malcom Floyd was ruled out of the game with a neck injury he suffered last week at Philadelphia. He didn’t practice all week. He reportedly may miss a month.

QB Watch: Chargers' Philip Rivers

September, 18, 2013
A weekly examination of the San Diego Chargers' quarterback play:

Rewind: Philip Rivers was brilliant in the Chargers' 33-30 win at Philadelphia on Sunday. Rivers was 36-of-47 for 419 yards and three touchdowns. His Total QBR was 93.5 -- the highest in the league in Week 2. After two weeks, Rivers looks primed for a bounce-back season.

Fast-forward: A confident Rivers is headed to Tennessee. The Titans defense can be passed on. Houston came back and beat the Titans in Week 2 as Matt Schaub threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns. Expect Rivers to test the Titans by being aggressive early.

Connecting with Royal: Rivers has been famous during his career for making due despite less-than-great receiving options. The Chargers are thin at receiver again, but Rivers is making it happen. His favorite target has been Eddie Royal, who has five touchdown catches in two games. Rivers completely trusts Royal. With Malcom Floyd sidelined with a neck injury, expect Royal to be Rivers’ go-to guy at Tennessee.

Prediction: Rivers will complete 27 of 43 passes for 317 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Chargers odds and ends

September, 8, 2013
San Diego Chargers' notes as they prepare to open the season Monday night with a home date against the Houston Texans:

As expected, rookie linebacker Manti Te'o was ruled out for the game because of a foot injury he suffered in the preseason opener Aug. 8. He might be a couple of weeks away from returning, because he needs practice time. Bront Bird will make his first start at inside linebacker.

Receivers Malcom Floyd (knee) and Eddie Royal (chest, head) are listed a probable and will play Monday.

The local television blackout was lifted, so the game will be shown locally.
There appears to be positive news for injured San Diego Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd.

Floyd is now practicing at a full speed, and coach Mike McCoy told reporters Monday that Floyd, the team’s No. 1 receiver, should be ready for the Chargers' season opener. San Diego will host Houston on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” on Sept. 9.

The team initially thought Floyd tore his ACL when he got injured 14 days ago. However, it was a knee strain. Still, his availability for Week 1 was uncertain. Now, Floyd looks like he should be ready to go and the Chargers will need him with a thin core of receivers.

Meanwhile, pass-rusher Melvin Ingram was put on the physically unable to perform list. He suffered a torn ACL in May. The team has some hope he will be able to play late in the season. Still, it may be a long shot.