Chargers' Caldwell becoming a threat

Reche Caldwell had been written off. When spring cleaning came this past offseason, his name was on many a list. Many had hoped he would be put in the closet – never to be used again. Coach Marty Schottenheimer had faith. He called him a number one receiver before the 2003 season.

Filled with more drops than actual receptions, the joke was on us. Reche Caldwell, at that time, was anything but a quality receiver.

He was a laughing stock. Leave him uncovered the opposition snickered. He will drop it anyway. And if he does catch the ball, he probably stepped out of bounds on his way.

Caldwell saw his chances dwindling away. In the offseason he gained 15 pounds of muscle to help him play the game against increasingly physical cornerbacks.

When he reported to training camp he reported some minor injuries that kept him out of full contact drills but he made a point to stay on the field and work on his receiving skills.

Oddly enough, he had always been able to find the open seams in coverage – despite route running that was considered weak. He just couldn't catch the ball.

"I struggled my first two years," Caldwell admitted. "My second year I dropped a lot of balls."

The offseason of change has been a blessing for Caldwell. He has topped his career high in receiving yards twice already this year and the three longest pass receptions of his career have all come in the first four games.

He bought a machine that now sits at his house and shoots him balls throughout the offseason. He even mentioned he worked on the type of catch he made on Sunday.

That catch was a one-handed grab over a defensive back that traversed 58 yards for a touchdown.

"The catch by Caldwell was one of the best catches I have ever seen," Schottenheimer said. "He said, ‘Coach I just put my hand up there and it stuck.'"

"When I saw him come out I was thinking touchdown," Tennessee cornerback Samari Rolle said. "I thought it was an overthrow, but when I heard the crowd I knew he was still running. I got my hand on it and he made a great catch."

"Somehow, someway, he just stuck his hand up there and stabbed it," quarterback Drew Brees said. "I couldn't believe it. It's about time something went our way."

"It just stuck to my glove and I was off to the races," Caldwell said.

Caldwell ended his day with just three catches but they went for 110 yards. He had catches of 49 yards, 58 yards and three yards. He also added a reverse that went twenty yards.

It wasn't always this rosy for Caldwell. His career has been marred by dropping the easy catches – when he is wide open down the field.

The first pass that went his was this season was a drop – and the heads were beginning to shake.

"Those are the tough ones," said Caldwell of the wide open catches. "That one today – it doesn't really count against you when you drop it. The defender made a break on the ball and I tried to one hand it. It was a great momentum boost for our team."

"You don't expect that catch to be made all the time," Schottenheimer added.

Not many expected Caldwell to have 14 catches already this year -- good for second most on the team and his 281 receiving yards lead the team.

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