COSTA MESA, Calif. — On Monday morning, it was reported that the team would be without receiver Mike Williams for the remainder of the season after he tore his ACL.
That is a big blow to the offense because Williams is the Yang to Keenan Allen’s Yin. They have been together since 2018 and have missed some games here and there, but this will be the most in that span.
“We drafted Quentin (Johnston) with the belief in the player,” Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said. “A long-term vision. Now, he’s going to get a bigger opportunity. Now, you’re going to get to see more of him.”
During training camp, Johnston had some spectacular plays, like flying through his defender and receiving a deep pass from quarterback Justin Herbert for an easy touchdown.
He also had a problem with drops, but he has been hitting the jug machine regularly and trying to get his mind right to limit the dropped passes.
“I’m going to be that person that step up in the position, “Johnston said. “Honestly, I’m ready for it. I feel like I came into this situation in the first place.”
The season’s first three weeks have taught Chargers first-round draft pick Quentin Johnston patience.
He has only played in 24% of the possible offensive snaps. Through the three games, he has five catches for 26 yards.
Johnston, though, is about to learn a second less about the NFL.
“You got to make the best of the opportunity because I’m saying we ain’t got a lot of guys, so you got to be the guy,” Keenan Allen said.
Allen said he will do whatever he can to help the young receivers like Johnston, Derius Davis, and newcomer Simi Fehoko in whatever they need.
The rookie of TCU said he leaned on Josh Palmer for advice on staying patient through the first few weeks of not being heavily involved in the offense, which is different from what he was used to in college.
Palmer sat behind Allen and Williams until last year. He had to step up when Allen missed seven games with a hamstring injury, and Williams missed four games with an ankle injury.
He finished the season catching 72 passes for 769 yards and scoring three touchdowns. He waited for his opportunity.
“He always really reassures me that my time is coming,” Johnston said.
What Johnston did at TCU was very impressive. At times, he played like a basketball player, shielding the cornerback from getting access to the ball or taking a short pass, turning upfield and burning the defense.
“He’s one of those guys that’s going to have to step up big-time,” Herbert said. “We’re expecting big things from him… You have to just get the ball in his hands, and something special is going to happen.”
The Chargers offense isn’t just counting on him but everyone else to step up as well, but the reason his name is out there so much is because he is a first-round pick.
There are a lot of expectations.
“We just need him to be him,” Allen explained. “Be the guy that we drafted. We don’t need no more. We don’t need no less.”
His first chance will be on Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders. Their defense has some playmakers, like Nate Hobbs and Marcus Peters.
Johnston knows he has to seize the opportunity of making an impact for his team.
“They just told me to be ready, which I am,” Johnston said.