The talk nationally before the season started was San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was done. At 34 years old, Gates had slowed down, was injury prone and could no longer consistently create separation as he did in his younger years.
Gates rightly took offense to those comments, using them as fuel in putting together one of the most productive seasons in his 12-year career. The Kent State product finished with 69 receptions for 821 yards and 12 touchdowns – the most TDs since his second season in 2004.
“It’s hard to finish your career that way – in Arrowhead not playing your best football,” Gates said. “I’m definitely trying to win a championship. I think more important than that, this coaching staff and the organization has built the foundation where we have an opportunity to win a championship.”
Those are Pro Bowl numbers, but Gates finished as a first alternate for the annual all-star game, the story said. Gates is scheduled to make $5.9 million in 2015, the final year of a six-year, $40 million deal he signed in 2010. Gates played a full, 16-game season for a second straight year, and for the sixth time in his 12-year career. Gates was a top TE plays most weeks, and for the most part produced solid fantasy numbers for owners.
Mathews hasn't played since injuring his ankle in Week 14, while Allen remains week-to-week with the broken collarbone he sustained in a Week 15 loss to the Broncos. While coach Mike McCoy says it's possible Mathews will suit up Sunday against the Chiefs, it's fair to wonder if Allen will even play again this season, the story went on to say. Eddie Royal seemed to benefit the most without Allen in the lineup as did TE Antonio Gates. Dontrelle Inman also had a nice game at WR for the Chargers last week.
Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen suffered a broken collarbone along with an ankle injury in Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos and is not expected to play Saturday when the Chargers head north to face the San Francisco 49ers.
Allen leads the Bolts in receptions (77) and yards (783), and has hauled in four touchdowns. After a very slow start to the season in terms of fantasy numbers, Allen had picked it up as of late during his sophomore season. There wasn't any more information available, but it would likely take a long playoff run to see Allen back on the field this season. Malcom Floyd, Eddie Royal and Antonio Gates could see more targets, and it's possible the Bolts go to more two TE sets, something they briefly used last year, and bust out Ladarius Green. At WR, Seyi Ajirotutu and Dontrelle Inman are next up on the depth chart.
Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:26pm
Chargers QB Philip Rivers (chest, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 12. Antonio Gates made some headlines when he said that Rivers is playing through a “very severe rib injury.” Rivers should be fine for a pretty good matchup with the Rams, though Peyton Manning had trouble against St. Louis last week, and Rivers only has one touchdown pass (versus three interceptions) in his last two games.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers clarified his injury status this week, saying he suffered a chest injury falling onto the ball during the fourth quarter of Sunday's game on a sack by Khalil Mack. Rivers said he's been dealing with general soreness, like all players, this time of year, and clarified that Antonio Gates' comments were an attempt to protect his quarterback from criticism for his uneven play the past four weeks. Inconsistent pass protection and a lack of a running game have been more of a contributing factor to Rivers' struggling performance of late.
We're not sure who to believe here. Gates said that Rivers has been dealing with a "very severe rib injury," which makes it sound like it was an ongoing issue, not the chest injury that Rivers is describing from Week 11. Rivers' matchup with the Rams looks good on paper, but St. Louis just shut down the Broncos' passing game, so it's tough to be too optimistic about Rivers this week.
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 5:58pm
Chargers QB Philip Rivers (chest) practiced fully Wednesday. Antonio Gates made some headlines when he said that Rivers is playing through a “very severe rib injury.” Rivers should be fine for a pretty good matchup with the Rams, though Peyton Manning had trouble against St. Louis last week, and Rivers only has one touchdown pass (versus three interceptions) in his last two games.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers took a fourth-quarter shot to the ribs Sunday.
It wasn't the first time, a teammate said.
The Chargers quarterback gave onlookers a couple held-breath moments in the second half, one when his left leg got rolled up on and another when hit to the mid-section on a third-down sack. Following a 13-6 win over the Raiders, tight end Antonio Gates told a group of reporters that rib pain for Rivers was nothing new.
Rivers never exited the game, not for the tweaked knee or rib shot.
He was evaluated on the sideline in both instances. Reserve quarterback Kellen Clemens warmed up after a hunched-over Rivers walked to the sideline following the latter.
Rivers has not appeared on the injury report this season. A team is only required to publicly disclose an injury when that player is considered to be at possible risk of missing the upcoming game, the story said. Rivers said he's no more banged up than any other QB. Rivers has six TDs and six INTs has last four games, though, throwing for 205, 252, 138 and 193 in those four contests.
Chargers WR Keenan Allen, while scoreless in seven games, hasn't lacked for impact. Defenses have schemed against him differently in year two, an anticipated trend that's presented opportunities elsewhere in the passing game. The effect for Allen is fewer statistical outbursts like the ones he had in Denver last season.
Defensive coaches had months to game plan for him. Allen and the Chargers aren't surprised what came out of it.
"People, they aren't stupid," wide receivers coach Fred Graves said. "They're not just going to let him run free. They're going to take some things away."
Allen has seen more press coverage this year. That is partly why, despite a team-high 34 catches, he has a modest 354 yards. His average yards after the catch is down from 6 to 2.9.
"They're pretty close to me after I catch the ball," Allen said.
The article goes on to explain that the attention that Allen is getting is opening things up for the other Charger receivers, namely Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd and Eddie Royal. As those players continue to produce, Allen should receive less attention, which should free him up for more big plays.
For much of Redskins TE Jordan Reed's career, injuries have been an issue, and he has not been able to stay on the field. Injuries have not plagued Niles Paul in previous seasons, but rather poor play. Missed blocks and dropped passes had been the demons for Paul, but this year, it seemed those days were behind him.
"He’s feeling better," Jay Gruden said of Paul on Tuesday. "He’s got to go through the concussion protocol, and they’re going to take the necessary steps with the doctors and the rehab and all that stuff. But, he’s making very good progress."
Of Reed, the coach sounded less optimistic. Gruden called the second-year tight end "day-to-day" working through rehab.
The Jets probably won't make that mistake Sunday.
"He is a guy that, you have to somebody underneath, and over the top, at all times," linebacker David Harris said.
Friday, September 26, 2014, 6:33pm
Chargers TE Antonio Gates (hamstring, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 4. Gates will likely play heavy snaps if Ladarius Green (hamstring, questionable) is sidelined. Gates has only played 65% of the snaps this season, so there’s upside here.
Friday, September 26, 2014, 6:33pm
Chargers TE Ladarius Green (hamstring, questionable) missed practice Friday after taking limited reps Thursday and is questionable for Week 4. Green apparently injured himself this week and the missed practice on Friday is not a good sign. If he can’t play, Antonio Gates would likely see heavy snaps. (He has only played 65% of the snaps this season.) Green’s absence could also help Eddie Royal and Malcom Floyd, who may see more playing time in three-WR sets.
Friday, September 26, 2014, 12:01pm
Chargers TE Antonio Gates proved against Seattle that if you single-cover him with a linebacker or a safety, he can still win, particularly in the red zone. Gates finished with seven catches for 96 yards and three touchdowns in a victory over the Super Bowl champs, earning AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He was doubled most of the time the following week against Buffalo, finishing with just one catch for 8 yards. But with Buffalo choosing to take away Gates, the Chargers used him as a decoy to free up slot receiver Eddie Royal and emerging talented tight end Ladarius Green.
Thursday, September 25, 2014, 6:48pm
Thursday, September 25, 2014, 6:48pm
Chargers TE Ladarius Green (hamstring) was added to the injury report Thursday after taking limited practice reps. This is a new injury for Green, and midweek downgrades are never good. If he can’t play, Antonio Gates would likely see heavy snaps. Green’s absence could also help Eddie Royal and Malcom Floyd, who may see more playing time in three-WR sets.
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