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Chargers' Tomlinson at the head of the class

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/sports/12960388.htm" target="_blank">The Mercury News</a>

    BY SHANNON RYAN

    <img src="http://bolttalk.com/images/tomlinson03.jpg" class="left" alt="LaDanian Tomlinson" />PHILADELPHIA - For two games, he got nowhere.

    The versatile running back said he wanted the ball more often. He said he could do more than he was being asked. He reminded people that he was not solely a ballcarrier.

    Sound familiar?

    Although Eagles running back Brian Westbrook delivered a similar message on Wednesday, those words came from San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson earlier this season.

    Tomlinson was granted his wish. The Chargers gave him the ball more.

    "It's a long season," he said. "I knew I was going to get my share of touches and make plays."

    Tomlinson, in his fifth season out of Texas Christian, will attempt to break an NFL record when the 3-3 Chargers play the Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

    Scoring a touchdown in his 19th straight game would break the record he shares with Hall of Famer Lenny Moore.

    Tomlinson is the NFL's third-leading rusher with 133 carries for 652 yards and 10 touchdowns. With 169 receiving yards, he is second in yards from scrimmage.

    Like Westbrook, who in his last two starts had 15 rushes for 27 yards and no touchdowns, Tomlinson was not put to full use in the Chargers' first two games.

    His numbers were better - 38 carries for 124 yards and three touchdowns - but he knew that if given the opportunity he could make a bigger difference with his blend of power, speed and agility.

    The Chargers' three losses - to Dallas, Denver and Pittsburgh - have occurred when Tomlinson has rushed for fewer than 100 yards.

    "What we sought to do was to find ways to utilize him within the framework of our offense," said Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer.

    Tomlinson proved last week that he is not only a great fantasy football pick but a great athlete in reality, too.

    In a 27-14 win over Oakland, Tomlinson scored touchdowns rushing, receiving and passing, becoming just the fifth player in the modern era to do so in the same game.

    The Eagles' defense realizes it has not seen a player this season quite like Tomlinson.

    Throw a playbook at Tomlinson and chances are he can do just about anything in it - and do it well.

    "He's a guy that has every move you need as a running back," Eagles safety Brian Dawkins said. "He can stop you in your tracks. He can stop and go on a dime. He can spin on you. He can throw the ball. He can catch the ball. He can run you over. He can bull you for three yards and get into the end zone. So, he has everything, and then he has the jets to get past you if you sit on him."

    No wonder Tomlinson stirs memories of Barry Sanders, Marshall Faulk and Priest Holmes.

    Asked to compare Tomlinson with Westbrook, Jeremiah Trotter said there are differences.

    "I definitely think Brian is a better receiver," the Eagles linebacker said. "There isn't another back in the league that can do what he's doing out of the backfield. No one covers Brian one-on-one. When you double him, you can't cover him. This guy (Tomlinson), as far as running, he's definitely a better running back. He kind of has the whole game, too."

    Right now, Tomlinson is in a class by himself.

    "In my fifth season, there's not much in the National Football League that I haven't seen," the 26-year-old said. "This is the time in your career where you really step into your prime and become what you were supposed to become once you were drafted."
     

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