Data Points: Value of V-Jax is obvious

Regardless of the era, the San Diego Chargers always seem to put an explosive offense on the field. Last season, only the Patriots scored more points and produced more offensive touchdowns.

These days, the catalyst is QB Philip Rivers, who threw for an NFL-high 4,710 yards and 30 scores in 2010. Due to numerous factors, the Pro Bowl quarterback spread the ball around as 13 players grabbed at least 10 passes and 11 players caught at least one touchdown pass.

While RB Darren Sproles (59) and TE Antonio Gates (50) finished 1-2 on the team in catches, this is an attack that likes to go downfield. And Rivers has one of the best in the league at his disposal in WR Vincent Jackson, who in just five games last season caught just 14 passes — for an average of 17.7 yards per catch. Looking beyond his involvement as one of the plaintiffs in the players’ antitrust suit against the NFL, there’s no disputing Jackson’s production.

Over the last five seasons, Jackson has emerged as the league’s best big-play threat among wideouts who have caught at least 200 passes. His 17.2 average is a full yard ahead of Packers WR Greg Jennings. And of Jackson’s 209 receptions since 2006, 53 have covered 20 or more yards.

– Russell S. Baxter

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