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Rosario Looking to Make Immediate Impact for Bolts

Posted Aug 2, 2012

As expected, a tight end has been making plays all over the practice field for the Chargers so far during training camp.

And while yes, that does apply to Antonio Gates, fans will be pleased to know that we’re talking about Dante Rosario, the free agent addition from Denver. The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder is thrilled to be a part of this offense, which he says is creative and a dream for tight ends.

“It’s a very fun offense to play in,” he said. “As tight ends we do a lot in terms of where we play, such as on the line, in the slot, out wide.  They are moving us all the time.  But it creates a lot of opportunity for us in the passing game and also gives us a chance to spring the running backs in the ground game.”

Photo Gallery: Aug. 2 Practice | More Camp Photos

Entering his sixth season in the league, Rosario has 89 career catches for 1,011 yards and five touchdowns.  A dangerous physical weapon in the red zone, he is also able to stretch the defense with his speed and make big plays down the field.  Rosario isn’t just a pass-catching tight end though as he prides himself on his blocking skills as well. A consummate team player, he is willing to help the Bolts in any way possible no matter what is asked of him.

“They have me doing a lot,” he said, “But even just being able to hopefully take double teams off of Gates, especially in the red zone, that will really help the team.  They are also looking to move me around in a bunch of different areas like I mentioned before.  I’ll be in the backfield and I’ll either block from there or run routes. And then I will also run my routes from out wide.  It’s a very versatile position in this offense, and I think a big part of my game is my ability to be versatile. But more than anything I just want to contribute and help this team win.”

Head Coach Norv Turner has been extremely pleased with Rosario so far during training camp, and is excited about what he can bring to the table. This is especially true in the red zone.

“Dante is a guy that is a really good tight end,” Turner said following Thursday’s practice. “He’s got really good body control, and he’s been exciting in the red zone.  He’s been making a lot of plays down there.  We use a lot of guys in there at that position, and he’s going to be in the mix.”

Obviously, one of those other guys the head coach is talking about is the All-Pro Gates.  Rosario admits that a major factor when deciding where to suit up this season was the opportunity to play alongside one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history.
“It’s awesome to be on the same team as Antonio,” said Rosario. “It’s great to be able to almost be like an understudy to him and learn from him.  I come out here and I work hard, and every day I learn and see something he does that I can take away from that practice.  And that’s huge. As I’m getting ready for the season, these are all tools I can put in my tool box. He’s a great guy and he’s easy to talk to.  It’s been a privilege to just be out here and practice with him and watch him.”

Gates isn’t the only member of the team that has impressed Rosario.  From the very top of the organization on down, he said the Chargers are committed to winning and have created a culture of optimism that has him convinced 2012 will be special season.

“It’s a great team in terms of players,” he said. “It’s the best group of guys that I’ve been around. You can just tell that they are hungry to win, and everyone is excited about the season. That goes from the ownership on down to the GM, the coach and the players.  Even the trainers.  You can tell everyone here wants to win.  And not only do they want to win, they expect to win. So it’s a good feeling to have, especially going through training camp and getting ready to start the 2012 season.”

Quick Hits

  • The team used the special teams portion of this morning’s walk through to work on on-sides kicks and fake punts.
  • The Chargers emphasized the running game today and reeled off a number of sizeable gains.  Ryan Mathews and La’Ron McClain each had big runs up the middle while Michael Hayes had a pair of them.
  • Mathews converted three of four tries during goal line drills.
  • Turner rested some of his veterans in order to get a better look at some of his younger guys.  Antonio Gates, Nick Hardwick and Takeo Spikes each had the day off.
  • Rosario continued to excel in the red zone, hauling in yet another touchdown pass.
  • Ladarius Green got extra reps with Gates resting and made the most of it, catching numerous balls including a pair of touchdowns.
  • Rex Hadnot filled in at both the center and guard positions with the first team.
  • Robert Meachem practiced after leaving yesterday’s night session early and caught a 20-yard strike for a touchdown from Philip Rivers.
  • Atari Bigby and Mike Willie returned as well for the first time since last week.
  • Don’t forget to come out to Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday for this year’s FanFest.  The event is free and you will have the opportunity to meet some of the greatest Chargers in team history.  For more information, click here.
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