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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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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10 Cities That Should Have NHL Expansion Teams

The NHL should consider these cities for expansion franchises because new markets and fan bases can never hurt a sports league.

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The NHL expanded to Las Vegas last season and the Golden Knights made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. They were perhaps the most successful expansion team in NHL history. The NHL also announced expansion into Seattle late last year. The NHL will be the second of the four major sports leagues to expand to 32 teams along with the NFL. With two new teams in the league, the NHL enters new markets and new fan bases. Hockey is a sport for everyone and the more fan bases in North America the better. What other cities need an NHL team? Which fan bases will provide exhilarating environments for a hockey team? These 10 cities should be candidates for NHL expansion in the future.

1. Quebec City

Quebec City once had a hockey team, the Quebec Nordiques. The team left Quebec City in 1995 to move out west to Denver. The Nordiques had an intense rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens in the 80s. Quebec City deserves a new hockey team for its fans. It has been 24 years and counting since an NHL team was in Quebec. Another added bonus to a team in Quebec City is a renewed rivalry with the city of Montreal.

2. Hartford

Similar to Quebec, Hartford also had a hockey team. The Whalers moved south to Raleigh, North Carolina in 1997. Hartford may not be a large city, but the fan base was loyal during the Whalers tenure in Connecticut. A new team would fit perfectly in the region along with other northeastern cities such as Boston, Buffalo, and Montreal.

3. Baltimore

Baltimore would bring a fresh market in the Mid-Atlantic. Close proximity to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C. may bring new rivalries as well. Baltimore is a great sports town. The Orioles and Ravens have had great success here. An NHL team in Baltimore could have success on the ice.

4. Houston

Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States. It is a fast-growing community with excellent sports fans. Houston has 3 sports teams — the Astros, Rockets, and Texans. Those teams play baseball, basketball, and football. Hockey in Houston is almost too easy. It brings a new market to Texas and the loyal sports fans are already there.

5. Indianapolis

Indianapolis is a typical Midwest city, and Midwesterners love hockey. Expanding in Indianapolis would be an excellent move by the NHL. It would bring new hockey fans from the state and new rivalries with Chicago or Detroit would thrive. Indiana may be a basketball state, but that does not mean there isn't room for a hockey team in town.

6. Milwaukee

The NHL expanded to the desert before Wisconsin. Residents of the state are long overdue for an NHL team. Hockey is almost as popular as football in the state. The popularity of the sport would skyrocket with the addition of an NHL team. Once again, geography makes the decision to expand an even easier one. Milwaukee is a great location for regional rivalries with Chicago, St. Louis, or Minnesota.

7. Kansas City

Kansas City had a hockey team in the mid-70s, but the Scouts had very little success. Today, a new hockey would be worth the investment for the NHL. It would attract many fans from mid-America, create sound geographic rivalries, and create a new market for the NHL. Kansas City sports fans love their Chiefs and the Royals. A hockey team would make KC a more well-rounded sports city.

8. Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City deserves another sports franchise. Its NBA team, the Jazz, has not been championship contenders since the late 90s. Utah would be the perfect location for another western hockey team. Expansion out west is nothing new for the NHL. Adding a team in Salt Lake City would bring in the fans and the money.

9. Portland

Portland is another West Coast city with only one sports organization, the Trailblazers. The city of Portland would be receptive to an NHL franchise. With the announcement of a franchise in Seattle, Portland would make perfect sense for a new team. Adding more teams to the west coast would counter the many teams the NHL has on the east coast.

10. San Diego

Hockey is not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of San Diego. But, some thought adding a team in Vegas was a bad idea, and the Golden Knights are successful thus far. San Diego is one of the largest cities in America and its only sports team is the Padres after the Chargers left town. A new hockey team in Southern California is just what the NHL needs. A team close to Los Angeles and Anaheim is great for breeding rivalries.

Each of these cities has fun things to do whether it is sports related or not. But, none of them have a hockey team. The Seattle franchise will be the 32nd in the NHL. One day a sports league will hit 40 organizations. The NHL and the owners should ask themselves if they should be first of the NFL. NHL expansion rumors come around each season, but new cities should be serious contenders for expansion. These 10 cities all bring something new to the table and have plenty to offer new fan bases.

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