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What Happens When The Starters Return?

Gates and Matthews may return on Sunday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    Antonio Gates #85 of the San Diego Chargers makes a catch for a touchdwon in front of Bryan Scott #43 of the Buffalo Bills to take a 23-10 lead during the third quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on December 11, 2011 in San Diego, California.

    There are a slew of Chargers starters that are on the verge of returning from the injuries that have kept them sidelined or barely involved in the 2-0 record the Bolts are currently enjoying.

    During their absence, rookies and previously unknowns have stepped up.

    Players such as running back Jackie Battle, who had two rushing touchdowns during the pounding the Chargers gave the Titans. Battle did not play against the Raiders, but last week also had 69 rushing yards in addition to his two TDs.

    Or what about Dante Rosario? Rosario showed up big in Oakland when he blocked Shane Lechler’s punt and helped the Bolts clinch their first divisional win. But if he showed up big in Oakland, he was larger than life at the Q. Rosario had three touchdowns against the Titans. In one game, Rosario found the end zone in one week as many as he did in the last two seasons combined.

    As teammate Malcom Floyd lovingly put it, “Dante got a hat trick!”

    There is no doubt that both of these guys have contributed in a large way to the Bolts success this season. But take a look at the Chargers depth chart neither are listed in either the first or second-string slot.

    Head coach Norv Turner noted after the Titans win how important this depth was to the team.

    “It was obvious today that as we went offensively the number of different guys that contributed and the number of different guys that got a chance to make plays,” Turner said.

    But what happens when Antonio Gates and Ryan Matthews return? Do you let Rosario and Battle, among others fade back into the third string? Or can Turner draw up a game plan that incorporates all his weapons? That, above all else, will be the key to whether the Chargers can make another Super Bowl run after all these years.

    Find more articles, videos and images from San Diego Chargers practice sessions, post game, and along the sidelines during game time in our special section San Diego Chargers