Cunningham says Gates isn’t the same player he was


Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham has become fairly talkative this year.  Most recently, he has fired a mini-shot at Chargers tight end Antonio Gates.

“Gates, he’s not doing the things he did five, six-years ago, but he’s gotten a lot smarter,” Cunningham said Thursday, via Anwar Richardson of  “His routes are exceptional.  He sets you up.  If a young guy covers him, you’re in trouble.  He knows exactly what he’s doing and the quarterback feels him.”

It’s not nearly as harsh as the assessment made earlier this year by an unnamed member of the Chargers organization, who called Gates “old and fat.”  Gates told NBC SportsTalk last Friday that he wasn’t bothered by that remark.

Thus, Gates likely won’t be troubled by Cunningham’s comments.  Indeed, there’s a chance Gates would agree with Cunningham.

Regardless, the Lions need to find a way to deal with the suddenly souped-up San Diego offense on Saturday.  I think the Lions will; Rosenthal disagrees.

25 responses to “Cunningham says Gates isn’t the same player he was

  1. I don’t know Mike, Greg could be right? The Charger’s R used to beating teams in their own dome……C the Colts and it’s still Dec. Norv’s best Coaching and River’s best play! Great record in Dec.

  2. Gunther has never been “eloquent” and I am confident that he is just saying that what Gates has lost in speed/quickness he has made up for in spades with his football intelligence! 100% compliment!!

    I’ll take a little slower and crafty vs quick with less experience any day! The late Al Davis would disagree with that 😉

  3. With all the injuries in the Lions secondary its going to be tough to match up.

    Lions need to get a lot of pressure up front to have a chance of stopping San Diego.

  4. I dont know how many clicks this article will get – But if you just used an honest headline like this:

    “Cunningham says Gates isn’t the same player he was, but he’s gotten a lot smarter.”

    Im guessing you would get a third as many hits, and then I wouldnt have wasted my time reading this harmless quote and thus uninformative article.

  5. How can this POSSIBLY be viewed as a shot? Calling an All-Pro “a lot smarter”? saying that he runs “exceptional routes”? saying a young secondary is “in trouble” against him?

    I wish someone would take shots at me like that, for crying out loud. Not only did Cunningham praise him highly, he didn’t lie or exaggerate one bit. This is exactly what you WANT from coaches — but when you get it, you complain. Just like you complain when coaches are “bland” or “vanilla” like Belichick.

    So…coaches either “take shots” or are “bland.” Give me — and I suspect you — “shots” like these any day of the week.

  6. He wasn’t dissing Gates. The same could be said about Anthony Gonzoles. They are still great tight ends, but they really on different skills then they did earlier in their careers.

  7. If the Chargers make the playoffs, I think they have a legit chance to make the Super Bowl. Usually their fire runs out right before the playoffs but this year it’s barely catching on. Gate, Floyd and Jackson are big threats not to mention upcoming receiver Vincent Brown out of SDSU who is quietly becoming a star. If they keep spreading the ball, they have a good shot. Norv turner has no choice but to be aggresive on offense or he’ll lose his job so he’ll leave everything on the table. No tomorrow for him in SD after this year so he better go all out and he will. Just wait and see

  8. Cunningham’s not doing the things he did four, five, or six years ago…

    …LIKE pleasing his wife!

    Cue Snare Drum Rimshot!

  9. Hear me now and believe me later….if the Lions ever put 4 quarters of good solid offense, defense, and special teams together, and cut out the stupid penalties….they could dominate any team in the NFL.

  10. joetoronto says:
    Dec 22, 2011 5:06 PM

    Just move baby.

    —- mark it down rams will be back in LA after lease expires in st louis kroenke wants to sell rams to aeg in LA.he then wants to buy broncos from bowlen so he will then own 3 denver teams (avalanche,nuggets,broncos) there was a story about this months ago. on cbs2 in LA jim hill reported the raiders were interested in moving back to LA to play in the new stadium as they dont wanna share one with the 49ers..then u have the jags situation in a report on here which stated if rams move back to LA the jags might end up in ST louis.. san diego has A vote next fall for their new stadium and the spanos family doesnt wanna sell majority stake in team which is what AEG wants in LA to bring a team to downtown LA (hence the rams story)..getting a stadium in cali iss a pain the ass!!! damn liberrals its a no wonder we have the 3 worst stadiums in the league right here in cali…

  11. linebusy says:
    Sounds quite complimentary to me. You really have to go out of your way to interpret what Gun said as being a “shot”.


    That’s exactly what I was thinking. He’s not the same player because he’s smarter than he once was?

    How derogatory!

  12. sws222 says:
    Hear me now and believe me later….if the Lions ever put 4 quarters of good solid offense, defense, and special teams together, and cut out the stupid penalties….they could dominate any team in the NFL.


    The problem for most average-to-above-average NFL teams is exactly that. Why is that something we should mark down?

  13. Who gives a crap what Gunther thinks. When I see “Cunningham says,” I want Randall’s take. The REAL Cunningham.

  14. It was a while ago, and I’m pretty sure his foot was hurt, but when he played the Pats, I looked over at my Mom in her basement where I live and said, “Gates looks old and fat.” Then the Pats held him without a catch.

    It was quite a moment.

  15. Rosenthal didn’t factor in the home field for Detroit. On Saturday, Ford Field (The Glass House) is going to be as loud as it was when the Lions played on Monday night. If the Chargers can’t quiet down the crowd quickly, they’ll have a lot of problems.

    Also – I think this game, and this playoff birth, means more to the Lions than the Chargers. It’s been a long drought in Detroit. The Lions are going to come out strong and that crowd will keep them pumped up the whole game.

    The big issue will be keeping the young players settled down so they don’t make the usual stupid penalties.

  16. Hey – I think it was a fun quote to play with – and Gut fur Gunter. 🙂

    And Joe from Toronto: Word out here and from LA is Chargers B gone. Just trying to keep it quiet to sell more game tix.

  17. BTW – Chargers still have NO D – so how are they going to make a run in the playoffs, if, and that’s a HUGE IF – they even make the playoffs?

  18. The Chargers are on a 3 game win streak but two of those wins were against the Bills and the Jags so I wouldn’t get too excited about their playoffs chances.

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