Chargers OC Joe Lombardi predicts big year for WR Mike Williams

New Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi plans to borrow heavily from Sean Payton's New Orleans Saints offense, which should bode well for receiver Mike Williams.

Lombardi noted this week that Williams would be playing the X receiver position, where Michael Thomas put up record-setting receiving numbers in his still-burgeoning career in New Orleans.

"As much as this offense will resemble New Orleans, he plays the 'X' and the ball has always kind of found the 'X' receiver in this offense," Lombardi said of Williams, via The Athletic. "I think that there will be some natural production that comes his way because of the nature of the offense."

Williams generated 756 yards and five TDs on 48 receptions in 2020, down from his 1,001-yard season in 2019, when he led the NFL in yards per reception.

Williams has been known to make big plays, particularly stretching the field. That's not one-for-one Thomas' role in New Orleans, where he has feasted on slant routes as the ultimate chain-mover. How Lombardi's offense reconciles the dichotomy between Williams' previous usage and how the Saints deployed the 'X' receiver is one thing to track come training camp later this summer.

Entering the final year of his rookie contract, a big season alongside Keenan Allen could be massive for Williams heading toward the open market.

"I see a big role for him," Lombardi added. "If I were a betting man, I'd bet on nice numbers coming from him on the stat sheet, that's for sure."

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