WR Mike Williams looks like completely different player for Chargers

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Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi gave us a heads up that wide receiver Mike Williams was going to play a big role this season.

It showed up in the season opener against Washington.

Targeted 12 times, Williams posted a career-high in receptions with eight. The impressive stat is one thing, but how he produced the numbers is what stood out the most.

After being relegated to a jump ball specialist since entering the league back in 2017, Williams made the majority of his money in the short and intermediate levels of the field.

Instead of being restricted to primarily vertical routes, Williams made the most of an expanded route tree, using power in his strides and timing rhythm in his routes to create passing windows.

Williams finished with 82 yards and the touchdown late in the game that sealed the deal for Los Angeles.

“Analytically, statistics, they say red zone fades are low percentage,” head coach Brandon Staley said. “But what they don’t tell you is when you throw them to the right people with the right matchup, they’re real high percentage.

When you throw it to Mike Williams, that’s the different statistical movie, and you can just see the value there.”

He was close to having two scores, but Williams had a bad drop in the end zone on a beautiful pass from quarterback Justin Herbert.

At the end of the day, Williams looks like an entirely different player in Lombardi’s system as the ‘X receiver.’ With his contract up at the end of the season, the former Clemson product could play his way into cashing in.

“I think he’s an incredible receiver,” Herbert said. “He’s one of those guys that goes up and 50/50 balls are more like 75/25. He showed up today and he’s a trustworthy guy.”