He spent afternoons and evenings in front of his laptop on — of all things — YouTube in an effort to get better.Leaving everything off the field aside, Chad Johnson is an interesting player for Gates to model. In his prime, Johnson was adept at creating separation from defenders with his speed and fluid movement. Gates undoubtedly has the speed, but his route running is what has needed major refinement and he seems to be getting in a groove. During camp, Gates has shown an ability to get deep and has also shown some nice route running on shorter and drag routes to get open closer to the quarterback ... getting deep and showing an aptitude for shorter catches are key to playing in Mornhinweg's offense and Gates has shown promise in both regards.
“[I] YouTubed a lot of Chad Ochocinco, a lot of Jerry Rice, a lot of Terrell Owens. My main player was Chad Ochocinco. I like the way he runs his routes,” Gates said. “I’m also a visual learner and I can see it and go out there and do it. I’d picture a look from a defensive back and go out there and try to do it — just like I saw on the video.”
The end result is a player who looks likely to play a more significant part in the offense this year. Last year, he was a training camp cut by the Dolphins who was picked up by then Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano as a stop-gap for an injury-depleted wide receiving corps.
With what projects to be a decent group of receivers now for the Jets, Gates could contribute, but his ability to add value as a kick returner is where he could find more immediate impact with the team with questions surrounding Joe McKnight. While Gates seemed like an afterthought heading into training camp, he's done a nice job of stating his case why he belongs on this roster come September.