Antonio Gates wants less snaps next year for the San Diego Chargers.
Antonio Gates may be getting a few less snaps next year than he has in years past. However, it’s not the San Diego Chargers who will be placing this limit on him…It’s actually Gates himself that’s setting the tone in regards to how much action he sees.
The 12-year veteran is 34 years old and is thinking about his future; a pretty smart move on his part. No one can really understand the stress an NFL career places on the body, except for those who endure the pain. Gates understands it and realizes that he can get away with playing a couple more years if his usage decreases.
“With injuries and whatnot, I played a little bit more than they expected me to play last season,” Gates said in an interview with the MMQB. “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.”
Can this really help the Chargers out long term, though?
If we look at where San Diego is at right now and all their off season deals, it makes sense that Gates will get his snaps limited. They were 9-7 last season, but added Jacoby Jones to help Phillip Rivers out in the pass game. The Chargers are by no means the favorite to win a Super Bowl next year. If they retain their core group of guys and add one or two more weapons on offense, there is no reason to think they can’t compete for a playoff spot this year or in years to come.
In order to properly do that they will need Gates healthy and ready to play. If they limit his snaps and make sure he isn’t being over-used, he will most likely be at full strength come playoff time. Gates’ contract is set to expire at the end of the season. So if they limit his production they might be able to sign him at a discount for another year or two after this season is over too.
This also means that Ladarius Green might be getting a few extra snaps in the passing game. Green will have to start getting used to taking over for Gates when he gets tired or needs a break. It shouldn’t be that much of an issue though. Green’s 22.1 yards per catch ranks first among tight ends in the NFL.
Antonio Gates receiving less stats is a good thing for the Chargers organization overall. He will be well rested if they make the playoffs, he won’t be completely burnt out after this season, and it won’t even affect their depth chart that much. This shouldn’t be seen as much of an issue though. This is whats best for both parties involved. Now, I just hope the organization listens to Gates and his request for limited minutes in 2015.
H/T: Yahoo Sports
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