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Why Eddie Royal is Relishing OTAs

Posted Jun 4, 2014

There are numerous reasons Eddie Royal is enjoying the offseason program at Chargers Park.


Spend any time around Eddie Royal and you’ll quickly learn he’s a football junkie.  He loves the game and will do whatever it takes to win, and that attitude has made him a popular teammate in the locker room. 

The wide receiver is fresh off his finest NFL season to date, setting career-highs in touchdowns (8) and yards per catch (13.4).  He also posted the second most receiving yards (631) of his career, but true to his nature, Royal would rather talk about team accomplishments than individual ones.

“I don’t really worry about that individual stuff,” he said.  “What I’m focused on is what we accomplished together as a group.  We came together, and I think you’ll see that this year again.  It’s been that way so far during the offseason workouts.  It’s competitive out there.  We’re having fun laughing, but at the same time we’re working hard.”

What Royal accomplished last season is even more impressive considering he hardly practiced after suffering a toe injury early in the year.  He watched practice and remained active in the classroom during the week before battling through his injury to suit up on Sundays.  Not being able to practice frustrated the football fanatic in Royal, which is why he’s currently relishing each OTA session at Chargers Park.

“This is fun,” he said.  “You forget how fun practice is.  Just the competition of it all and being able to go against your teammates.  During the season you don’t get a chance to go against the other starters that much.  So right now it’s a lot of fun.  We’re talking good natured trash to each other.  But really it’s about competing and that’s what I missed the most.  Getting out there every day and competing.”

Royal’s versatility makes him a dangerous weapon no matter where he lines up, but he really made an impact from the slot in 2013.  There are numerous factors that determine a successful slot receiver, including a few less heralded ones that Royal takes pride in.

“There are a lot of things,” he said.  “You have to be on the same page with the quarterback.  You’ve got to see things the right way and see them the exact same way he sees them.  You’ve got to find the little holes in the coverage and sit in the zones. And also you’ve got to be able to block.  That’s one thing that people don’t realize sometimes is that in the slot, you’ve got to block linebackers and those safeties coming down hill.  It’s not easy to do that, but it’s important.”

While linebackers and safeties seemingly have an advantage over the 5-10, 185-pound wideout, Royal is an excellent blocker who is routinely praised by his coaches and teammates.  Number 11 believes what makes an effective blocker is a willingness to do whatever it takes to seal the defender.

“You have to ask yourself if you’re willing to get in there and throw your body around (to spring) the running back,” he explained.  “Are you willing to do all the little things to block that safety?  To block that linebacker? The guys who block show you who the team guys are.  They aren’t just about making the big catch.  Yeah, that’s great, but are you willing to sacrifice to block those guys bigger than you for your running back? Blocking is a huge part of the game, and something that when you watch the tape you notice.”

Finally, like most everyone else in the organization, Royal pointed out that Malcom Floyd’s return from a neck injury has made these practices even more special for the wide receivers. 

“It’s great to have him back because Malcom brings so much energy to this group,” he said. “He has a playful attitude, but at the same time is focused and determined.  It’s great for the young guys to see a guy that’s been playing that long, showing them the right way to do it.  And he looks great.  He’s out here making big catches for us all over the field so I’m excited to have him back.”

 

 

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