The Outlook Of A Chargers Offense Without Hunter Henry

The Outlook Of A Chargers Offense Without Hunter Henry

How the Tight End's Injury Opens More Doors than it Closes
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The 2018 NFL season hasn’t even begun, and yet, it’s already over for Hunter Henry.

On Tuesday, the Chargers lost their rising star in Henry, as the 23-year-old completely tore his ACL during the team’s first workout of the year, sidelining him for the entirety of the 2018-2019 season. And although the loss of Henry to a devastating injury certainly imposes negative effects on the Chargers’ offense, it opens up far more doors than it closes.

In terms of the tight end position, the Chargers originally planned to release and move on from their longtime veteran and eight-time Pro Bowler, Antonio Gates, who has held down the position for the team for the past 14 years. However, with Henry’s future in limbo, and a potential void at the position, it would make sense for the team to maintain Gates for the upcoming season.

Last season, Henry and Gates split time at the position until Henry went down after week 15 with a lacerated kidney, allowing the veteran to step into the role full-time. During the final two weeks of the season, Gates posted 127 yards on 10 receptions with 1 TD. But, throughout the course of the season, he amassed 30 receptions, 316 yards, and 3 TDs. Essentially, in two games where Gates got the starting nod, he was able to put up ⅓ of his production for the entire year. With the starting TE position for Los Angeles wide open, Gates could easily swoop in and take the job for himself.

It’s no secret that Antonio Gates still has some talent and potential left in the tank, it’s just up to the Chargers to find the strength that made their superstar tight end so prolific in the past. Throughout the majority of his career, Gates has been able to put up 800 yards and 70+ receptions in any given season, but with age, he’s lost his flair. His production has been on a steady decline for the past three years, and his availability on the field is waning.

However, Gates is still one of, if not, the most prioritized target for Chargers QB Philip Rivers. Despite Gates’ low snap count, he still received 52 targets from Rivers, just 10 less than Henry, who received 62 targets on only 6% more snaps. When Gates is on the field, Rivers loves to throw to him. The pair connected for three touchdowns in 2017, and if the veterans can reignite the chemistry that made them so deadly during the early portion of their career, it’s possible that the Chargers offense could be potentially frightening next season with a veteran movement leading the way.

Although the season remains to be over three months away, the Chargers still have a lot of planning to do in regards to an offense that has potential to be incredibly prolific in the near future. And while Hunter Henry’s injury certainly moves the operation back a few steps, the team still has the chance to make some power moves in terms of rekindling a QB-TE connection that made the team so frightening in years past. If Antonio Gates and Philip Rivers can get back on track and lead the Chargers offense in 2018, the team could be on a fast track for greatness.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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30 Things I Would Rather Do Than Watch The Patriots Win Another Super Bowl

Because no one like the Patriots except the Patriots.
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The Patriots are definitely one of those teams that everyone loves to hate (myself included as a Steelers fan). With multiple past cheating scandals, it’s surprising that there isn’t more attention brought to the speculation that the refs are in their pocket. Somehow the rules are always in their favor just when you think they are going to lose. We are all tired of seeing the Patriots win in ways that only seem possible by ritual sacrifices and dirty politics. I don't even need to be a fan of who they're playing — here are 30 things I would rather do than see the Patriots win yet another Super Bowl this year.

1. Get a Brazilian bikini wax

2. Be allergic to the sun

3. Give up chocolate for the rest of my life

4. Get my wisdom teeth pulled… without anesthetic

5. Have to speak in front of a class in my underwear

6. Put my hand in a deep fryer

7. Have a bloody nose every day for the rest of my life

8. Use my first ever email address (saigepoo@aol.com)

9. Never be able to text again

10. Have to walk to class in the rain every day

11. Lose my wallet

12. Wait in line at the DMV

13. Be stuck in high school forever

14. Shave my head

15. Go without power for a week

16. Fall off a cliff

17. Get hit by a car

18. Run an ultramarathon

19. Never pet another dog

20. Walk on legos

21. Go on a juice cleanse

22. Have my car break down on the interstate

23. Bite my tongue over and over

24. Get a sunburn on my butt

25. Have to speak without using E’s

26. Be chased by a clown

27. Get braces... again

28. Never eat at Taco Bell again

29. Drop my phone in the toilet

30. Throw myself down a flight of stairs

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Georgia Football State Of The Program Address

For my final piece on UGA football this season, I give my personal take on where UGA football is currently at and where it is headed.

Dhyns13
Dhyns13
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Over the last month, UGA has been talked about as a football program trending upwards and definitely in a prime position to win championships. They have also been talked about as an overrated program with an overrated head coach and an offense that is inconsistent at best. Some say 2017 was a fluke, and that we will never reach those heights again. What's true about the program? Are these analysis on point or way off? That's what my job is today, to inform the public what the truth about UGA football is right now, and to debunk some opinions on the current status of the program.

A little over three years ago, Georgia's athletic department took a huge gamble when they fired Mark Richt, one of their most successful football coaches in school history, and replaced with former UGA player and 4-time national champion defensive coordinator at Alabama, Kirby Smart. The risk seemed to have paid off in 2017 when the Dawgs found themselves undefeated through 9 games, won the SEC title over Auburn who they lost to a few weeks prior, and beat Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl to compete for the national championship. Unfortunately, the Dawgs lost the title game to Alabama after squandering a 20-7 lead to lose by the final score of 26-23 in overtime.

With many fans believing that 2018 was the time to win a national championship, Georgia suffered a devastating midseason loss to LSU in a dominant fashion that saw Georgia never hold a lead throughout. Now only one loss would ruin the Dawgs chances at returning to the college football playoff. Despite the intense pressure of not suffering the one loss, Georgia defeated all opponents on their schedule to close the regular season 11-1 and would face Alabama in a defacto playoff quarterfinal in the SEC Championship game. Once again, the Dawgs blew a lead, this time 28-14, and watched Alabama win yet another SEC title by the score of 35-28. Georgia would play in the meaningless Sugar Bowl against Big 12 runner up, the Texas Longhorns. While most thought Georgia would win this game, they suffered a humiliating 28-21 defeat to Texas, who dominated the entire game despite what the final score ended up being.

Ok, now that the recap is over, let's discuss where this program is at. I'm almost treating this as a midterm for Kirby Smart, seeing how he has built this program in his short time here and discussing whether he should remain head coach, or if he was just a one season wonder. I've heard this argument a lot that he may not be the former coordinator that is finally going to beat Saban, due to the fact that Saban knows how to outsmart all his former coordinators, including the ones that were on his staff for the longest period. Smart is going to beat Saban at some point, but his quest is not to beat Saban, it's to become the next Saban and build the next great college football dynasty. He will get over this hump soon enough, so I'm not worried about the two losses to Alabama. Hopefully, when he does, he will be competing for a national championship that same season.

Despite the three-loss season following a national championship appearance, which seems very similar to the Falcons after their Super Bowl run, this program is in a better position to win a title than most people will give them credit for. In just his second season, coach Smart took a team that went 8-5 the previous year all the way to the national title game the next season. He did this without most of his own recruits, which he has brought in the first number 1 recruiting class in the country for the school. This tells me that if he can do that with some of Richt's recruits, I can only imagine what Smart can do with some of his own players.

The defense will always be good under coach Smart due to his background with being a defensive coordinator, so the side of the ball that will be questionable is the offense. The last two seasons have seen some electric running backs take the field at UGA, including NFL backs Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. Elijah Holyfield and D'Andre Swift picked up right where the previous two left off with stellar seasons in 2018. Even with all the success at running back, the position that got talked about the most over everything had to be the quarterback position. Jake Fromm has been in charge of that position for two years now since taking over for an injured Jacob Eason in the season opener of the 2017 season. Fromm has exceeded expectations, but have left many fans asking for more from him. I am not in this minority. I believe Fromm has the capability to win a national championship at his time at UGA if he continues what he was doing at the end of this past season. He came on extremely hot to close the season and put his name into consideration for a darkhorse Heisman contender next season. He led college football in completion percentage, brought his third-down passing numbers by almost 10%, and retained his starting job while facing immense pressure from the fanbase to start the wunderkind Justin Fields. My prediction is that he will play even better in 2019, and could be the one to lead the Dawgs to a title for the first time in almost 40 years.

In conclusion, my fellow Dawgs fans, let me say this. To the ones around the world watching DawgNation rise up from the ashes, to the ones that unfortunately have to play UGA year in and year out, and to the ones that have ridiculed us for years about not winning titles, you're about to see this new breed of Bulldogs take the field in the next few years. For the many that believe this Kirby Smart project is not the right move, you best believe Kirby is not going anywhere anytime soon and will be the one to take UGA to the extreme heights of college football. UGA football is looking the best it has ever had in my lifetime, maybe even in history, and will be a cornerstone of college football for many years to come. All we need now is some patience and let this process happen and enjoy the growing pains this team will endure in pursuit of a championship. I promise it will make the victory so much sweeter.

Thank you, and goodnight DawgNation.

Dhyns13
Dhyns13

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