Antonio Gates Injury: Can the Chargers Be Successful Without Him?

Kraig LundbergAnalyst IIISeptember 24, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 11:  Tight end Antonio Gates #85 of the San Diego Chargers carries the ball against the Minnesota Vikings at Qualcomm Stadium on September 11, 2011 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The San Diego Chargers' superstar tight end Antonio Gates is listed as "questionable" to play in Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, and as a big part of the San Diego offense, his absence could come at a huge disadvantage to the 1-1 Chargers.

However, the 6'4", 260-pounder may not be missed as much this week as he would be in coming weeks. Here are a few reasons why. 

The Chargers get the privilege of taking on an 0-2 Chiefs squad that has been outscored by a total of 89-10 (!) the past two weeks. The Chargers are arguably better than either of Kansas City's previous two opponents (the Bills and the Lions), so this matchup looks to be very one-sided on paper.

Beyond that, Gates didn't catch a single pass against the Patriots in SD's 35-21 loss. It was backup Randy McMichael who caught the only pass by a Chargers tight end.

McMichael has just four catches for 26 yards on the season, but the 10-year veteran has shown the ability to get it done in the past, and Kansas City has had no answer for tight ends thus far. Buffalo tight end Scott Chandler caught five passes four 63 yards and two touchdowns in the 41-7 win, while Detroit backup Tony Scheffler caught a 36-yard score in a 48-3 beatdown.

McMichael might be more talented than either Chandler or Scheffler, but the high-powered Chargers may not even need him, let alone the supreme talents of Gates.

If ever there was a week for Antonio Gates to sit out and get healthy, this would be it.