Honest engine

Winning in Denver has never been easy for the Chargers. Coming off a loss in their home opener and the return of one of their top weapons will have them pumped. But Denver lost badly on the road and will also be fired up.

The full arsenal is back. The return of Antonio Gates gives the team all its tools. Quarterback Drew Brees can go into week two as the ‘Lord of War'.

Having one just once in their last ten trips to Denver, and 0-4 at Invesco, the Bolts will need to turn the key early on and go full tilt on the gas pedal.

It is sure easier with their Pro Bowl tight end in the passenger seat.

"Teams are going to have to play us more honest," running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. "We should not only be able to do a lot more in the running game but in the passing game."

"He is great just because of the matchups he creates," quarterback Drew Brees said in agreement. "He is able to get open in a lot of different ways. People have to worry about him and it opens up things for other guys. Talk about a guy who not only when he gets the ball he makes an impact."

With Dallas given a direct peek into the run playbook when offensive lineman Kris Dielman reported eligible, they could focus all their energy on stopping Tomlinson.

Substitute Gates for Dielman and the base offense suddenly has more twists and turns than the Audubon.

Gates admits, "Game shape is always remain to be seen," but if his work ethic in the past is any indication, going from undrafted to star in the short span of a year, their starting tight end will be a handful for Denver.

"I am looking forward to playing Sunday," said Gates. "I am focusing on the little things in practice because that carries over to the game."

Whether or not Champ Bailey plays, only Denver tight ends coach Tim Brewster can offer up advice on the machine he created and has become virtually unstoppable.

Gates was sad to see Brewster go, responding well to his constant yelling and turning that into one stellar performance after another.

He holds a healthy respect for his new coach Rob Chudzinski, noting that "Chud" has coached Jeremy Shockey, Bubba Franks and Kellen Winslow Jr.

Gates is a mature third year player. He knows the pace at which to practice and will be asked to do a lot this weekend. The players look at him as a sort of messiah, understanding how much he brings to the offense.

"He is a big part of our offense," said Brees. "He will step in and be just fine. He was starting to look like the old Gatesey (in practice)."

Hopefully that practice routine turns into results when Sunday rolls around. The Chargers can ill-afford to lose a divisional game and fall to 0-2 on the year.


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