He may not be the flashiest guy out there, but players like
Tough and hard-nosed with a tremendous work ethic and motor, the Chargers signed Phillips on the first day of free agency. In signing the 6-foot-5, 251-pound former Dallas Cowboy, they envisioned a complimentary tight end to
When the signing was announced, his addition was universally lauded by NFL pundits. Phillips is regarded as a top-notch blocker for a tight end, and it doesn’t bother him one bit that he gets more praise for his blocking than for his pass catching.
“I know where my bread is buttered,” he said. “I know what I do well. So I take the schemes and prepare and hope to get better every day. That helps me be a solid blocker and an asset to help the team.”
That being said, Phillips is a sneaky receiver who is capable of coming up with the important catch when needed. Next to Jason Witten, his opportunities were few and far between, but he did make an impact in the passing game. In four seasons with the Cowboys, Phillips caught 30 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns.
“You have to be confident in yourself to make the plays when they are thrown your way,” he said. “I look forward to being in this offense where they can disperse the ball around to multiple tight ends. I’m excited to get here and hopefully catch more balls in this offense, but really do whatever it takes to help the team.”
One of many attractive qualities for Phillips when he was a free agent was that the Chargers had
“I said it when I got here but he’s an elite quarterback in this league,” he said. “He’s been that way for a long time. It’s fun to be out there with a true vet who gets it. He can make all the throws and he really understands the game well. He’s a good guy to be in the huddle with.”
“Antonio is a hall-of-fame tight end,” he said. “He is one of the best at the position for the last ten years. It’s good to be in a room with a guy like Gates. He understands how to get open and reads coverages so well. He’s a very craftyroute runner, so it’s good to watch him run. I’m learning a lot from him.”
A key component to being a successful tight end is preparing for both run and pass plays. Phillips says he approaches each snap in a different manner to become the player his team needs him to be once the ball is snapped.
“There’s a switch that goes on for me when I’m doing a down block or have a hard run play and other types of blocks,” he said. “I change my mindset from when I am getting ready to go out and get a pass. Those times I have to be more finesse and read coverages. So it’s something I adapt to. Each play is different, so you have to get your mindset right for which play you are going to do.”