Antonio Gates and 3 NFL Players That Will Swat the Injury Bug in 2012

Ryan Heidrich@@Ryan_HeidrichCorrespondent IIJuly 23, 2012

Antonio Gates and 3 NFL Players That Will Swat the Injury Bug in 2012

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    With training camps set to begin, the 2012 football season is just around the corner. Teams will be chasing the New York Giants as they attempt to defend their Super Bowl title. If teams want to have a better chance of knocking off the defending champs, they will need to have all their players stay as healthy as possible.

    Every year, players are plagued by injuries, which interferes with their team’s success. It seems that every year, the same players are infected by the injury bug. But unlike last year, they had a long offseason to get healthy and come into camp near 100 percent.

    Here is a list of players who are normally plagued by the injury bug, but will fight the bug off and play an injury-free season in 2012. 

Antonio Gates

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    Antonio Gates has not played a full 16-game season since the 2009. In 2010 and 2011, he missed a total of nine games with a variety of injuries, which included turf toe and plantar fasciitis. Gates' absence on the field has really affected the San Diego Chargers offense. When he is on the field he is easily one of the best tight ends in the league. His combination of speed and size make him nearly unstoppable.

    Antonio Gates comes into training camp as healthy as he has been in the past two years. The Chargers are also extremely deep at the tight end position, which will take pressure of Gates and allow him to shine in passing plays. All this should contribute to a less punishing season for Gates in 2012.

Darren McFadden

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    For Oakland Raider fans, Darren McFadden is incredibly frustrating. When healthy, he is one of the most explosive running backs in the entire league. His rare ability to combine his speed and power makes him a touchdown threat every time he touches the ball.

    However, McFadden has never been able to play a whole season in his four-year career. The most games he has played in a season is 13, which he did in 2008 and 2010. Last year, he only played in seven games due to a nagging foot injury.

    This year will be different for McFadden. With the addition of Carson Palmer, McFadden will not be expected to carry the ball as many times as he has in his first four years. While this might hurt McFadden’s stats, it will be much better for the Raiders, as they need their star running back for the entire season if they want to have success. 

Matt Schaub

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    Since joining the Houston Texans for the 2007 season, Matt Schaub has played in all 16 games just twice. Last year, he led the surprising Texans to one of the best records in the AFC before his season ended with a Lisfranc injury in his right foot. If Schaub did not head to the injured reserve last season, who knows how far the Texans could have gone.

    A consistent offense should help ease the pressure off Schaub. Arian Foster makes the Texans' attack much more balanced, which will help cut down on the number of times Schaub is hit during the year. The health of Andre Johnson and the addition of Devier Posey will also help Schaub get the ball out of his hands faster.

    With Schaub healthy, the Texans should be a lock to win the AFC South and be a major contender for a first-round bye heading into the AFC playoffs. 

LaRon Landry

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    LaRon Landry has had two consecutive injury-plagued seasons with the Washington Redskins. Because of these injuries, Landry found himself a free agent looking for a place to rebound. He found a perfect match in New York with the Jets.

    The Jets signed Landry to a one-year deal, which showed the team's doubt that the former first-round pick will be able to survive a whole season. But it's been reported that Landry’s rehab is going extremely well and that he is ahead of schedule.

    With Yeremiah Bell and Eric Bell also on the Jets’ roster, Landry will not be expected to play every snap, which will help keep him healthy for the entire 2012 season.