Ladarius Green making strides in San Diego

Sooner or later, the San Diego Chargers will need a new starting tight end.

Antonio Gates is 33 and he is nearing the end of the line. That is one of the reasons why the Chargers took Ladarius Green in the fourth round last year.

Green is a big and athletic player who needed seasoning. He had four catches in four games last season. Yet Green is showing signs of getting closer to making a contribution in San Diego. He scored the Chargers’ only touchdown against Seattle on Thursday.

It looks like Green is working his way toward more playing time this season.

“He’s done a nice job of just getting into the flow of the game,” San Diego coach Mike McCoy said. “He’s a young football player with a good future in front of him and it’s just a matter of buying in and learning the system … He has improved his blocking and is a threat in the passing game. He’s getting better every day.”

Gates agrees. He sees dramatic improvement from his young protégée.

“He’s at an unbelievable pace at how he’s growing and how he’s maturing mentally,” Gates said. “Obviously, he can run and jump and he’s a big target, but just to see the growth over and over, day in and day out, him putting in the work, the preparation. I’m just trying to give him as much knowledge as I possibly can to help him become a better football player. He’s definitely going to be a player in this league and guys will start to notice him if he gets the chance to play and when he gets the chance to play.”

If Green keeps improving, that time will come soon.