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Gates on pace for best year

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    [​IMG]



    Gates Healthy and productive, tight end on pace for best year


    By Kevin Acee
    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    SAN DIEGO – If everyone could miss a day of practice during the week and play on Sunday like Antonio Gates did this past week, then NFL teams might take Wednesdays off, too.
    So masterful was Gates, so crafty and fluid and quick en route to seven catches for 78 yards, that coach Norv Turner marveled at the performance during the Chargers' victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
    “Just to see a guy go play at that level ... ” Turner said later.
    Gates, in fact, at 29 years old, is playing at as high a level as he has in years. In some ways, he's better than ever.
    A year after playing through toe, hip and ankle injuries and posting the lowest numbers (60 catches, 704 yards, eight touchdowns) since his rookie season, Gates is on pace for his most yards ever and his second-most receptions.
    Already well on his way to the Hall of Fame, Gates never in six previous years in the NFL had a stretch like this season, wherein he has at least 49 yards in every game. He has had at least five catches in eight of the nine games, something he had not done since 2005. Only in that season has he had more yards after nine games.
    This resurgence is largely because he's healthy again. And he's working to stay that way.
    Gates took off yesterday's practice, his second Wednesday in a row resting and rehabilitating a foot injury suffered Nov. 8 against the New York Giants.
    “My approach is just to maintain feeling great,” Gates said of taking yesterday off and perhaps continuing to rest one day every week.
    It's working.
    His 668 yards rank second on the team to wide receiver Vincent Jackson (732) and second among the league's tight ends to Indianapolis' Dallas Clark (768). Gates' 49 receptions lead the Chargers and are tied for second in the NFL (at his position) to Clark's 64.
    “I know he feels as good as he's felt for some time this year,” said quarterback Philip Rivers, who has found Gates to convert 13 third downs this season.
    Gates has long proved himself a gamer. Teammates have recalled thinking there was no way Gates was going to play against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2007 playoffs after injuring his toe the previous week. But after a pregame warm-up and two cortisone shots, Gates was in the lineup, perhaps more as a decoy than anything else but still good enough to catch two passes for 28 yards.
    He is revered by General Manager A.J. Smith — who is not currently speaking publicly but is known to have prioritized extending Gates' contract, which runs out after the 2010 season — for that '07 postseason perseverance and for playing through a severe ankle sprain last January.
    Gates entered the '08 season having taken a lot of training camp and the preseason off while coming back from the toe surgery. In the season opener, he hurt his hip. The season finale against Denver is when he sprained his ankle.
    It's not as if his numbers in '08 were horrible. He ranked sixth in receptions, seventh in yards and second in touchdowns among all tight ends.
    But the Chargers are currently benefiting from a healthy Gates.
    His 7.1-yard average after the catch leads all tight ends and is almost double his previous career average of fewer than 4.4.
    “It's an effort, wanting to make something happen,” Gates said. “It's being healthy. I haven't been able to do things in the past I can now. It's the confidence of being able to run without having to worry somebody is going to fall on my ankle.”
    Some of Gates' extra yardage has been the scheme — shorter passes, quicker routes, and did anyone see a defender near him on his 29-yard gain against the Giants? — and some has been Jackson drawing double coverage.
    But his 53 yards after the catch on Sunday, slightly higher than his season average, were well-earned.
    “In this game he was really good after the catch,” Rivers said. “And it wasn't like he was standing wide open. It was him making good runs. He's as explosive as he's been.”
     
  2. in_a_days

    in_a_days dgaf

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    I'm happy to see him coming back strong after the BAD drops in... was it the Gnats game? :icon_huh:
     
  3. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    When Gates dissapears our offense is noticably less efficient. More so than with any of our other weapons.

    When Gates gets 4-6 catches 70-90yds it always feels like we win, I wonder what the stat is on that.
     
  4. Chargers-Superhero

    Chargers-Superhero Just win the Damn SB !!!

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  5. Kwak

    Kwak ....

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    A health quick Gates is a nightmare for LBs and Safeties. He is key for Rivers when he needs to burn the blitz. :abq2:
     
  6. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    LT will break into the top 10 all time rushing leaders this week.

    When Gates & VJ get rolling, the entire field will be left wide open for LT like Tila on a Saturday night!!

    :flag:
     
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  7. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Now THAT is a post worth repping! :lol:

    Seriously - there were some who doubted Gates' comeback from his foot injuries. To those, I say stuff it. :yes:

    Gates & Tony really revolutionized this position with their basketball backgrounds. That's not to say that earlier TE's weren't revolutionary - Ditka, Kellen Winslow, & Shannon Sharpe are all HOF'ers in their own right.

    BUT ... the round ballers who have made the switch have made a difference in the TE & passing game in general. The box out is a HUGE part of our passing game.

    Viva la cross-over!!! Let's see if LeBron can bring it to the gridiron!! :icon_banana:
     
  8. TheBeast

    TheBeast BoltTalker

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    Gates eats a bowl crocodile teeth each morning. He's a beast. Best TE in the league IMO.
     
  9. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    He had a couple of drops in that game, one that would have been at least a long gainer & another for a 1st down. Luckily we still overcame those. :yes:

    His play will be critical tomorrow as I expect Denver to turn up the heat on PR, particularly with Clary gimpy or possibly out. Beating their blitz when we're on O & stopping them on 3rd down when on D wins this game.

    Kudos to Gates for being such a warrior. :tup:
     
  10. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    I'd love to see Norv add a new wrinkle in the passing game, the quick hitch to the running back into the seam. Didn't LT score on a 54 yard or so pass and catch in Denver a year or two ago?

    Gates can be the equalizer in this game against the blitz, a quick safety valve that can motor and wreak some damage.

    It would be great to watch LT break out and punish the Donk's with some good old fashion smash mouth run's and give them that e-ticket ride all the way to the final gun.

    I guess, what I'm saying is, I want a total and complete physical beat down of the Donk's. I'm still holding out hope that our D is going to become a dominant force down the stretch, one that will bust you in the mouth and if you get back up, do it again.
     
  11. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I want that beat down as well. :icon_toast:

    Remember the skinny post to LT? He or Darren could be the target on this.
     
  12. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    There is one area that I'd really like to see, that would be if Norv would let Rivers call his own play upon what he sees the defense doing. I know Rivers can recognize a defensive alignment and be able to attack it in it's weakest zone.
     
  13. coachmarkos

    coachmarkos BoltTalker

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    Sproles gets this route now. The Giants game? The first Raiders game?

    We run it.
     

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