Josh Palmer has been a promising rookie talent at wide receiver for the Los Angeles Chargers. However, he has been buried in the pecking order of targets; even when he was starting to beat out Jalen Guyton for the third wide receiver spot, that was not enough to get him heavily involved in the offense, despite having a skill-set that seemed to fit Joe Lombardi’s more dink-and-dunk style. However, he finally got his opportunity on Sunday in a blowout win over the New York Giants, due to one of the starters being unavailable.
Josh Palmer Shines in Los Angeles Chargers Week 14 Win
The day after the Week 13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, Keenan Allen tested positive for Covid, which opened up a big gap in the targets since he has been the primary target for the past month. It looked initially like the situation could get worse when Mike Williams got put on the Covid-19 Reserve list as well due to being a close contact. However, he cleared protocols and was able to play. With Allen out, this finally gave Josh Palmer the opportunity to shine he had been waiting for; and with Williams still playing, the Chargers were ultimately able to still play the same offense they have been playing.
Palmer stepped into Allen’s role as a slot-esque receiver. This ultimately made sense, as Palmer’s skill-set could make him something of a “discount Allen,” albeit not as fast or elusive. Meanwhile, Williams kept playing his general perimeter role, while Jalen Guyton remained in his role as the third overall receiver that he has been playing most of the year as primarily a deep-pass threat. This role got Guyton a long touchdown pass for the second straight week in what was arguably one of the better throws of the year thus far. But ultimately, by subbing in Palmer for Allen and keeping the same personnel otherwise, the Chargers were able to stick to the status quo.
Palmer stepped up when his number was called, pulling in five receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown in what was easily the most productive day of his rookie campaign so far. Though Williams had slightly more catches (six), Palmer actually led the team in targets (seven).
His touchdown reception came in the red zone in the second quarter when Justin Herbert threw a short pass yardage-wise to the far right side of the field, which Palmer caught in stride and was able to beat the cornerback and keep running for the touchdown. Another highlight-reel play for him came in the second half when Herbert threw another bomb across the middle, which Palmer also caught in stride and took for a few extra yards before getting brought down for a total of a 36-yard gain, easily his longest reception of the day.
Depending on how things play out, this could end unfortunately being the most we see of Palmer in a game this year. Keenan Allen is expected to return in time for Thursday night’s battle with the Kansas City Chiefs (a game that may decide the fate of the AFC West crown). In the event that he’s still under the weather, Palmer would get another start, but otherwise, he is likely to return to his role of fighting it out with Guyton for WR3 reps.
Still, Palmer’s performance in this game was a good sign of things to come for the rookie. He has shown himself capable of handling a good-sized workload, he has shown himself to be a good route-runner, and his hands have been fairly reliable.
The Chargers have found a quite promising talent in Palmer, and we know now that he can step up in this offense should anything happen to Allen or Williams, even if he is not on their level yet. And since bringing back Williams after this year is not a given, Palmer may yet find himself with a larger workload next year. Whatever role lies ahead for Palmer, he definitely has a promising future.
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