Following a standout summer, Chargers rookie wide receiver Josh Palmer was viewed as the team’s clear-cut third option heading into the regular season.
The third-round pick out of Tennessee showed off his size, ability to separate and catch everything on a regular basis, finishing the preseason with 10 receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown.
However, his snap count has not been reflective of that role to the slightest.
Instead, Palmer has been buried behind Los Angeles’ No. 3 wideout, Jalen Guyton, who has been on the field nearly three times as much as Palmer, yet has not been as productive with his playing time.
On 304 snaps, Guyton has only caught ten passes for 139 yards on 20 targets. On the other hand, Palmer has seen just 102 snaps and has turned 11 targets into seven receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown.
As the Chargers’ passing offense has been underwhelming the past two games, it needs a spark and involving Palmer more frequently could lead to more positive results, as seen this past Sunday against the Patriots.
Amid all the drops, Palmer raised eyebrows with his touchdown grab in the end zone on the final drive. Over two defenders, he used body control, toughness, and hands to high-point and come down with the ball.
“When the ball’s in the air, I don’t think receivers think about the possibility of not catching it, you know we want to catch every ball,” Palmer said. “We put in a lot of work every day after practice just high-pointing the ball so that’s what I wanted to show.”
The problems with the passing game go beyond the drops that have come up as of late, and the inability to push the football down the field is one of them. Luckily, Palmer is a player who can shine on the vertical plane, possessing the separation skills off the line, deep speed and burst.
Palmer has stayed after practice to build chemistry with quarterback Justin Herbert since Day 1, and it is only a matter of time until we get to see that translate to live game action on more of a consistent basis.