San Diego Chargers: 2012 NFL preview

After a disappointing 2011 season where the San Diego Chargers finished 8-8 despite being loaded with talent and experience, the team is anxious for the 2012 season to begin. The AFC West will likely be a very competitive division as the Raiders continue to gel and the Broncos await the chance to experience life with Peyton Manning at the helm, so the Chargers are wise to get their affairs in order.

The Chargers were able to add a small fleet of big bodies in April’s NFL Draft, led by outside linebacker Melvin Ingram. Coach Norv Turner will return for his sixth season at the helm, and the vast legion of Bolts fans in Southern California and elsewhere are expecting at least 10 wins.

Veteran quarterback Phillip Rivers and perennial Pro-Bowler Antonio Gates will power an offense that has been able to put points on the board consistently since the former arrived in San Diego in 2004. It is true that Gates has been slowed by injury in the past few years, but he recently said that he is back to full form. His route running skills and incredible knack for finding the holes in any defensive formation have made him the favorite target of Rivers in past years, and the upcoming one should be no different.

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Antonio Gates healthy for first time in years

Antonio GatesIt has been a rough couple of years for Chargers tight end Antonio Gates. He missed six games in 2010 and three games, along with parts of others, last year because of a foot injury. He’s still been productive — 17 touchdown catches — but his presence in the lineup has been missed for the last two seasons. Gates has been very positive recently about the progress the injury has been making and it seems to be showing at Chargers workouts. Coach Norv Turner is certainly a believer. Turner raved about Gates’ condition on Thursday and said that he is showing few signs of the injury that slowed him so much. Read more here…