Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates prove to be receiving threats year after year for the San Diego Chargers, but there’s another guy who’s beginning to make a name for himself.
Danario Alexander had 5 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown in the Chargers’ 34-24 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. His most spectacular play of the game came when he went 80 yards after catching a pass in stride and slipping a tackle to get into the end zone.
An undrafted three year veteran, Alexander has only played in 21 NFL games because for the most part, it’s all his body has allowed for. He has had five surgeries on his left knee going back to his sophomore year at Missouri. He went undrafted because he wasn’t able to work out at the Combine or at his school’s pro day.
“He’s a guy that’s kind of had to fight through some real adversity to be playing in the league,” head coach Norv Turner said.
The St. Louis Rams signed Alexander to the active roster in Oct. 2010 when Mark Clayton went down with an injury. His rookie year, he played in 8 games and averaged 38.3 receiving yards per game. His second year in St. Louis had him playing in 10 games and averaging 43.1 yards per game.
Health concerns surfaced and the Rams cut Alexander. The Chargers remembered what he did to them two seasons ago and signed him.
“When we signed him, he wasn’t completely healthy,” Turner said. “He was coming back from a hamstring. Once he got in here and was able to learn our stuff, and start getting comfortable with Philip, we got some opportunities to play him.”
The Chargers knew of Alexander’s potential because he had 4 receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown as the Rams upset the Chargers in 2010.
Alexander didn’t play against the Denver Broncos in October because the team signed him two days after the Chargers fell to the Broncos.
Veteran safety Eric Weddle sees Alexander everyday in practice.
“He’s a great kid,” Weddle said. “He brings a lot of energy and experience to our team…He’s just a great talented receiver, and he’s shown that the last couple of weeks. He breaks tackles, he’s extremely fast, and he brings another dimension to our team.”
The Broncos held the Chargers to 218 passing yards in the last meeting. With the threat of Alexander, that may be tougher to do. At 6’5″, 217 pounds, Alexander has Eric Decker-like size and strength.
It looks like Turner will start Alexander over Robert Meachem, so look for Chris Harris to cover him as Champ Bailey covers Floyd. The Chargers had been looking for someone to fill in when they traded Vincent Jackson, and Alexander may be it, if in fact his body cooperates.