Chargers' Floyd sets goals high

For Malcom Floyd, last year's magical season really began at the end. As the Chargers were resting the majority of their starters in preparation for the playoffs, Floyd was getting set to see his first significant playing time against the division-rival Chiefs in the season finale. He was not taking the opportunity lightly.

"The whole night before me and Ryan Krause were up studying some of the plays and making sure we had everything down," recalled Floyd. "Then he said that he hoped he would catch a touchdown, and I said I hoped I would catch one too, and then we decided that if we could both catch a touchdown and get the win then that would be the greatest game ever."

While it may not have been greatest win of the season, let alone of all time, Floyd's pre-game desires all came to fruition. Krause caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Doug Flutie in the second quarter, and Floyd made his first career touchdown catch in the fourth quarter, a score that ended up proving to be the difference-maker in a seven-point Chargers win.

That score was not only a first for Floyd, but it came via Philip Rivers' long-awaited first touchdown toss of the season. In case you're wondering, they both received game balls to honor their first scores as professionals, and neither knows which ball was the actual one that Floyd caught during the game.

The experience against the Chiefs gave Floyd more than a mantle decoration; it gave him a feel for the speed of a live NFL game. Though he was productive in college, finishing his career with 2,411 yards and 14 touchdowns, he knew adapting that productivity to the professional level would require some work.

"It helps your experience level go up," Floyd said of his ample playing time in the game against Kansas City, "and lets you know how fast it's going to be once you're in there."

Not only does Floyd now have game experience, but he has training camp experience as well. He knows what it takes to prepare to endure the rigors of an NFL season. That is why he recently bought a weight set for his house, so he can train more frequently with less hassle.

While the new addition does mean he is lifting more often, it does not mean that he is skimping on his training at the team's facilities.

"We've just been up here training with Coach Redding and Coach Schiotzy. They are doing a great job of getting us ready for the season."

Floyd has noticed that the team chemistry is different this offseason as well. The players have grown together, and Floyd feels that will be instrumental in their success this season.

"I feel a lot more comfortable this year," Floyd said. "We have the same team back this year as we had last year, so we will just get better by having a whole year of lifting weights and practicing together and stuff. Everyone is going to be better. We are running the same plays we did last year, but we are better at them now because we've gotten the extra repetitions."

How much better the team will be may be hard to decipher, as their daunting schedule appears much more arduous than last season's. Some see that as a hindrance, while Floyd sees it as an opportunity.

"It's a challenge, pretty much," Floyd said of the multitude of worthy opponents littering next season's schedule. "You just have to play them like any other game and not change your whole technique or anything like that."

The Chargers schedule includes games against the Patriots, Eagles, Colts, Steelers and Jets. Given such a high degree of difficulty, Floyd's goal for the team is admirable to say the least.

"I want us to win every game," Floyd said confidently. "I want us to win them all and go to the Super Bowl."

Even the most optimistic of fans may call such aspirations ludicrous as best. But if someone told you last year at this time, when Drew Brees was seen as little more than trade bait, that Malcom Floyd would catch all of Philip Rivers' touchdown passes in the '04 season, well that would have seemed just as farfetched. It seems as though when you put Malcom Floyd and the Chargers together, almost anything is possible.

Lightning Quicks:

Team President Dean Spanos and the San Diego Chargers will hold a 12 Noon press conference on Thursday, July 14 and honor one of the greatest Chargers of all time by retiring his jersey number. Dan Fouts is the only player to have his jersey retired by the team.

Michael Lombardo can be reached at Lombardo@SanDiegoSports.net


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