December 11, 2011; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) celebrates following a two-yard touchdown reception during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
That would be Chargers Tight End Antonio Gates!!
NFL.com analyst, Ian Rappaport, stated this on Inside Training Camp Live:
“… He’s in shape. He looks skinny. He was burning cornerbacks left and right in practice. … He is feeling healthier now than he’s been in a couple of years.He is really looking like he’s primed for a big, big season.” – Pro Football Talk
Gates has worked hard this offseason to shed some pounds. The matabolism doesn’t quite work as well as you get older. He entered training camp with less pounds and people are taking notice. Gates has found the fountain of youth!
With Vincent Jackson taking his talents to Tampa, the Chargers will need a bigger effort from the All-Pro tight end. Malcom Floyd is capable of handling some of the load, but that usually lasts for only 10 games in the season before he is riding on the nurse’s table. Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal will also have to bring a big game to the offense.
If Gates really did find a way to stop the aging process, then he will be HUGE (or should we say skinny) in the red zone and on 3rd down. Put in Gates and another one of those big pass-catching tight ends with LeRon McClain and Ryan Mathews down in that area and we should find a way to get that ball over the goal line more often than not.
The Chargers secondary on the other hand sounds like they are getting toasted. The rookie Brandon Taylor is getting owned in the matchup with Gates while projected starter Atari Bigby nursing an injury.
I am ready to see Gates have a big time year.