Chaz Schilens not only has to be fast enough to beat NFL cornerbacks, he has to be good enough to outrun those big “Ifs” that follow him around.
If he can stay healthy. If he can play a full season. If he can be durable. …
As ESPN’s Bill Williamson wrote before Schilens’ injury-shortened 2010 season: “He has good hands. He’s big, fast and runs good routes. And he’s learning. His upside is very high. However, there is a major injury concern.”
Schilens, who missed most of this summer’s exhibition action with a knee injury suffered in the opener, is expected to play Monday night against the Broncos, giving quarterback Jason Campbell one more good target. And, at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, a big target.
But Schilens mostly has been known for being on the sideline, not on the field.
After playing 16 games in his rookie season of 2008, he played just eight in 2009 and five in 2010, then missed almost all of this preseason. When he’s played, he’s been productive, averaging almost 13 yards per catch on 49 receptions in 29 games.
Now, he’s back on the field and has told reporters this week he’s completely up to speed.
“I plan to play in the game and I hope everything goes good,” Schilens said after Wednesday’s practice.
Schilens can give Campbell one more option against the Broncos, along with speedsters Jacoby Ford and Darrius Heyward-Bey on the outside. Injured wide receiver Louis Murphy and tight end Kevin Boss aren’t likely to play at this point, however. Brandon Myers, who had 12 catches last season in his second year in the NFL, is expected to start in place of Boss.
But Schilens, optimistic after practicing three straight sessions this week, is hoping for big things in this offense, which also has a trio of explosive running backs in Darren McFadden, Michael Bush and rookie Taiwan Jones.
“Yeah, I’m excited,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Vittorio Tafur. “I’m excited we can all get out there, especially when Louis come back and everything. We’ll be good. It will be hard (for defenses), a pick-your-poison kind of thing.”