NFL

OC Reich: Gates suspension will make Bolts offense better

December 20, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich during the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. The Chargers defeated the 49ers 38-35. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

December 20, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich during the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. The Chargers defeated the 49ers 38-35. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Few coaches would be able to see the silver lining in losing a nine-time Pro Bowler.

Frank Reich is the rare exception, though. With Antonio Gates serving a four-game suspension to start the year, the Chargers' offensive coordinator sees a unique opportunity for his offense.

"This is going to make us better, because it's going to force other guys to step in and force us to run the football," Reich told The Mighty 1090 AM Radio. "We're already planning that anyway, but it's going to force that hand even more."

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Reich's entire interview is worth a listen. He appears poised to use the Gates suspension as a catalyst for changing his offensive approach this fall.

That might ultimately be the best course of action. Reich's offense set new lows in yards-per-carry in 2014.

Philip Rivers can rely on guys like Ladarius Green during Gates' absence. But it sounds like Reich will lean more on Melvin Gordon, Danny Woodhead, and Branden Oliver during that four-game span, too.

(h/t ESPN)