CB Antoine Cason (Donald Miralle/Getty)
The Chargers opened training camp for rookies and selected veterans on Monday and Chargers Park quickly became a hot-spot for news. Antonio Gates tested his toe; Anthony Waters went under the knife; and Antoine Cason ended the team’s hold-out free streak at one. SDBoltReport.com breaks down the newsworthiness of every nugget.
Gates Still Gimpy
Antonio Gates worked out on his injured toe for the third time since undergoing off-season surgery and rated his recovery between 65 and 70 percent, according to the Associated press. Gates underwent surgery approximately five months ago and has less than seven weeks until the regular-season opener.
Gates gave himself about 200 days between his surgery and the regular-season opener. He’s used about 75 percent of that window, so if he’s only 65 percent recovered he is unlikely to be 100 percent by opening day. He may still find himself in the starting lineup, given the toughness he displayed last postseason, but he may not be fit enough to be the go-to receiver.
If that’s the case, Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson will have to step up. They did exactly that when Gates was injured during the playoffs, combining for 34 catches for 578 yards and three TDs during the three-game postseason.
Waters No Longer Running
Anthony Waters saw his rookie campaign wiped out by the lingering effects of ACL surgery on his left knee. While his recent arthroscopic surgery to that same knee isn’t nearly as severe, it’s enough to give Waters -- and Chargers fans -- a bad case of déjà vu. The surgery was announced on the team’s official website on Monday.
Waters looked strong during Mini Camps, showing the strength and explosion that made him a first-day pick in 2007. He was expected to compete with 10-year veteran Derek Smith for the right to replace Stephen Cooper in the starting lineup during Weeks 1-4, although that now appears unlikely.
Waters could be back in time for the first preseason game. However, it will be hard to leapfrog Smith given the veteran’s experience and savvy. Helping Smith’s case is that Cooper was set to wear the defensive headset and call plays on that side of the ball. Waters may not be ready to inherit that responsibility given his limited reps.
One and Done
The Chargers celebrated last season when the team broke a ten-year trend by having all of its draft picks signed in time for training camp.
So much for momentum.
Antoine Cason missed the first day of training camp after failing to sign his contract on time. Although his holdout isn’t expected to last long -- they never do for players picked with the final half-dozen selections in round one -- it is enough to concern Norv Turner and defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell. It doesn’t help that the players picked directly before and after Cason, OT Duane Brown and DE Lawrence Jackson, respectively, have yet to sign their deals.
Cason has been penciled in as the starting nickel back for this season. However, if his holdout lingers for more than a couple days, it will open the door for Cletis Gordon to make his claim for the position.