Chargers Krause makes three

The Chargers just have a thing for big guys who can catch the ball. Last year their aerial attack was centered on Antonio Gates, a tight end with wide receiver skills. This year they drafted Vincent Jackson, a wide receiver with a tight end's build. Don't forget Ryan Krause, the second-year tight end who has the ability to create his own noise on a suddenly loaded Chargers offense.

Ryan Krause is a six-foot-three, 256 lb. player from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He played receiver there, and proved to be dominant at that level. As a senior he caught 67 passes for 1,066 yards and eleven touchdowns.

Now he is working diligently as he enters the second year of his transition to a new position and to a whole new level of competition.

"I've just been working out and trying to keep my body up," Krause said. "I'm trying to get to as many of the offseason sessions as I can. That and I'm eating healthy."

Krause finds it easier to prepare for this season because now he knows what to expect. Last year he was overwhelmed not just by learning the offense, but by the physical nature of NFL defenses as well.

Now he knows the offense and is more prepared for his blocking duties as a tight end.

"I have a lot more confidence this year," Krause admitted. "Last year I did a lot of down blocking. This year I feel like I can be a lot more physical. Also last year I was hesitant, and now I'm more certain of what I need to do."

While he is more certain of what to do in the offense, it is still unclear just exactly how he will be used in the offense.

With Reche Caldwell returning to health, and with the drafting of Jackson, there are now a lot of deserving hands and only one ball to throw to them. Krause is undeterred by this fact, and is only concerned with impressing his coaches and proving to the team that he can deliver when called upon.

"A lot is up to Cam Cameron," Krause said. "Last year he really started opening up the offense, so I just need to prove to him that I can make some plays and that I deserve to be out there."

Last year Krause only got one chance to be out there for a significant period of time, and he certainly made the most of it. During the season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs, Krause started his first game and responded by catching five passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. It was a moment he'll never forget.

"I was really battling on that play to get good position," recalled Krause. "It was a six route. Doug (Flutie) made a great throw and I was able to make a good snag on it."

In fact, he liked that feeling so much that he plans on making more trips into the end zone this season. That doesn't mean he has any immediate plans to challenge teammate Antonio Gates' record for touchdowns by a tight end, as Krause's personal goals aren't quite so statistically oriented.

"My personal goals are to just make the team better and to help us win games," said Krause in a selfless tone that would make Coach Schottenheimer proud. "That and just to get on the field more."

When he does get on the field, it will likely be alongside teammates Gates and Jackson. Each of the three stands over six-foot-three and weighs over 240 lbs, and each has incredible receiving skills.

How is any defense supposed to defend such a trio of playmaking giants? Luckily, that's a problem the Chargers don't have to worry about.

"With us three big guys out there, that'd be pretty hard to defend," Krause chuckled knowingly.

The continued development of Ryan Krause will make the Chargers offense even more explosive this season. That statement, unlike the Chargers trio of tall ‘tweeners', is actually something easy to defend.

Michael Lombardo can be reached at

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