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Mailbag: What's the Biggest Reason for Hunter Henry's Quick Ascension?

*Q:  You think Hunter Henry would be putting up the numbers he has if Antonio Gates didn't miss those two games earlier in the year? Could be a blessing in disguise that it gave us and Philip Rivers a chance to see what the rookie can do with a more extensive amount of action. – Timo Rosario *

A: I actually don’t think Gates missing those two games with his hamstring injury has as much to do with Henry’s ascension as much as the injuries to Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead have.  Heading into the season, Allen and Woodhead were favored to see the most targets in the passing game.  Now, those balls are going to the rookie tight end, and you’ve seen how Henry has made the most of it.  There was never a doubt Henry had the ability to make this type of difference, but in my opinion, the biggest reason for his quick ascension is the opportunity that came with those two going down. Gates is still a factor, and his targets aren’t diminishing from what they were expected to be when the year started. I give a lot of credit to Henry for helping pick up the slack after Allen and Woodhead went down.

Q:  Are you worried about the mileage that Melvin Gordon is getting? Why not play Kenneth Farrow a little more? – Malcolm Brown

A: Gordon has been effective and the offense is operating so efficiently that it is hard to argue with the way Head Coach Mike McCoy and Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt are deploying MGIII.  Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if you see more of Farrow and Dexter McCluster running the ball in the coming weeks for the reason you mentioned.  Gordon has been the definition of a bell cow rusher this year, toting the rock 116 times.  The next closest Charger is Danny Woodhead with 19 carries, and he has been out since the first quarter of Week 2. This is something to keep an eye on as the season goes on, but as long as the offense is operating in the same explosive manner, I wouldn’t make many changes. It’s certainly a delicate balance that McCoy and Whisenhunt will monitor.

Q:  What genre of music do the Bolts like to listen to before game time to get ready to play? – Alexis Avalos

A: As you can imagine, there is a wide array of tastes and genres that are popular with different players.  Still, it’s funny you ask this question this week because the game against Denver had a bit of a different pregame scene in the locker room.  The team blasted “We Ready” by Archie Eversole, dancing and jumping to get hyped before running out onto the field.  It was a loose atmosphere that showcased their tight bond, foreshadowing the big win over the Broncos. 

Q:  Why'd you stop doing your Stat of the Week this year? – Rick F.

A: Because no one has been asking!  But I’ll take your question as you wanting it to come back, so here is one heading into Week 7.  The Chargers boast a plus-18 point differential, which ranks fifth in the entire AFC.  The only teams with a better point differential are the Buffalo Bills (plus-59), New England Patriots (plus-58), Denver Broncos (plus-32) and Pittsburgh Steelers (plus-31).

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