Why the Chargers Aren’t Concerned About Keenan Allen’s Pass-Receiving Issues

He made just five of 21 field goal attempts last month in Golden State’s season-opener win over the Lakers.

Two nights later, Stephen Curry was 16 of 25 and scored 45 points in a win over the Clippers.

With these kinds of numbers in mind, coach Brandon Staley eased any concerns about Keenan Allen, the normally dependable Chargers wide receiver who entered Week 9 tied for second in the NFL with six turnovers.

Staley, who was a prominent high school basketball player in Ohio, compared Allen’s performance to a decline in performance that an NBA player like Curry might experience.

“It’s just a tough time because he’s such a great player who has great hands,” Staley said. “So I see it more as an aberration.”

Later, he added, “Keenan Allen is going to be fine.”

In losing back-to-back games, the Chargers’ offense has repeatedly been lacking. The group has generated more three-and-outs (six) than touchdowns (four) in losing to Baltimore and New England.

The problems have come against two respected defensive coaching teams, but also in the immediate aftermath of the Chargers ripping Cleveland apart with 47 points, a blast that included three touchdowns in the final eight minutes.

QB Justin Herbert’s production has slumped amid regular pressure, an abundance of defensive interceptions and too many knockdowns.

Along with Allen, wide receiver Mike Williams has dropped five passes and tight end Jared Cook three, according to Pro Football Focus.

On Sunday against the Patriots, running back Austin Ekeler couldn’t secure a pass that got out of hand and ended as an interception. Allen and Williams also failed to retain the third-down pitches that would have extended the drives.

Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen loses the ball after being hit by New England Patriots cornerback Myles Bryant.

Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen loses the ball after being hit by New England Patriots cornerback Myles Bryant during the Chargers’ loss Sunday.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

“We know we have good players and we are going to get out of there,” offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said. “I don’t think we’re going to have those kinds of drops consistently.”

The offensive problems have come at a time when the Chargers are still looking for a third receiver to complement Allen and Williams. The need has been made clearer with recent Williams stats.

After opening the season with the best production of his career, he has only four receptions for 46 yards and no touchdowns in the last two games. Williams suffered a knee injury last month but has since declared himself healthy.

“I don’t think there has been a major change in the player from what was seen before …” Lombardi said. “You know, the sample size is small. I think he will be back on the stat sheet in a big way soon. “

A year ago, the Chargers counted on Tyron Johnson and Jalen Guyton as fast deep threats, the pair accounting for three touchdown receptions of at least 53 yards.

Johnson failed to make the player roster this season and is now sitting on the bench for Jacksonville. Guyton has just 10 receptions for 139 yards after catching 28 passes for 511 yards in 2020.

In April, the Chargers selected Joshua Palmer from Tennessee in the third round, the rookie was not used much during the first five weeks.

But he played extensively against Baltimore after Williams came out as a precaution due to his knee problem. Palmer produced his first career touchdown on Sunday.

He outscored two New England defenders on a 50/50 ball as the Chargers approached 27-24 in the final minute. The comeback attempt ended when the Patriots recovered the next short kick.

“It was definitely a special moment,” Palmer said. “If we had gotten the short kick and we had been able to tie the game, everything would have gone better.”

Staley commented that both Palmer and Guyton regularly stay after practice to work longer with Herbert, the three trying to understand each other better. That kind of compromise, Staley suggested, can only help the Chargers improve their production.

“That is going to be good for our offense,” he said. “We need Josh and Jalen to do that, step up and follow Mike as well as Keenan so that we are the offense that we can really be.”


Herbert returned to practice as a full-time participant after being limited Wednesday due to an injury to his pitching hand. He was injured at the end of Sunday’s game. … Starting cornerbacks Michael Davis (hamstring) and Asante Samuel Jr. (concussion protocol) are still out. Backup safety Alohi Gilman (ankle) and No. 2 running back Justin Jackson (quads) also didn’t practice.

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Why the Chargers Aren’t Concerned About Keenan Allen’s Pass-Receiving Issues