Antonio Gates wants a reduced role in 2015


Antonio Gates hopes that he will see a reduced role in the 2015 season. He wants to be a situational player. 

The San Diego Chargers are dealing with all the noise from Philip Rivers rumors and the NFL Draft and now we are starting to hear some funky news about another Pro Bowl player on the roster. Apparently Antonio Gates is looking for a reduced role in the 2015 season.

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“With injuries and whatnot, I played a little bit more than they expected me to play last season,” Gates said, via Emily Kaplan of “I was playing the whole game. How I feel next year, it depends on how much volume they have me doing. I’d like to come in on third-and-7s, red zones, those situations. That’s what my contribution is at anyway.”

Antonio Gates is looking for a reduced role, but his snap counts actually have decreased in each of the last 3 seasons. In 2012, he played in 859 snaps on offense. In 2013 he played in 843 snaps and in 2014 he played in 770 snaps. He still is looking for an even more reduced role and he wants to be a situational player. He wants to come into the game in 3rd down situations and in the red zone since that is his biggest contribution anyway.

Dec 20, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) is defended by San Francisco 49ers linebacker Michael Wilhoite (57) on a 21-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter at Levi

Antonio Gates had 69 receptions in 2014 and 20 of those receptions came on 3rd down situations. 9 of those receptions came when the situation was 3rd and 7 or longer to rank 6th in the league. He is good at making plays in those situations, but why would you limit your production?

I don’t know if the Chargers will comply with the role that Antonio Gates is looking for, but it has to be a red flag of some sort. How does Philip Rivers feel about the role that Gates wants to play on offense? Gates is one of his favorite targets to throw to and now he wants to take a reduced role?

If Gates were to sit back on the bench a little more in the 2015 season, it would open up some playing time for Ladarius Green to see action. Green didn’t have the production that fans had hoped for in 2014. We are not sure what his role will be in 2015, but if Gates does take a step back, then that role for Green could be significant. Green showed a lot of potential as a threat in the passing game, but has not been able to consistently make an impact on offense. This would be his chance.

Antonio Gates will be entering the final year of his contract with the San Diego Chargers. If he is looking for a reduced role, then he would also be looking for a reduced paycheck if he wants to continue playing football past the 2015 season.

Does he want to play past 2015? It doesn’t sound like it.

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