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Bolts' RB combo NFL's highest paid, but run game is the worst

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    [​IMG]

    By Kevin Acee
    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Midway through their golden anniversary season, the Chargers are on pace to run fewer times than in all but two full seasons of their existence.
    They swear they remain committed to the run.
    “I'm not going to give up on it,” head coach Norv Turner said. “We've got to be able to run the football.”
    Really?
    “We need more carries,” Turner answered. “To continue to get better as a total team, no question we need more.”
    And from the man who used to be king:
    “I definitely think he is committed,” LaDainian Tomlinson said.
    The Chargers, who rank last in the NFL in rushing yards per game (69.6) and yards per carry (3.1), certainly should be dedicated to getting something from Tomlinson and Darren Sproles.
    The team has invested more money — $13.346 million — in the pair than any team in the NFL has tied up in two running backs this season.
    Through nine weeks (eight games), the Chargers are paying an astronomical $32,650 per touch by the duo, more than double what they paid their top two backs in 2007 or 2008 and almost four times what they paid in '06.
    Even with Sproles' league-leading 1,397 all-purpose yards (938 on kick returns), the Chargers are paying $4,070 per yard gained by their two running backs.
    Those figures includes Sproles' 43 punt and kickoff returns and the 34 receptions between the two. It also includes a $2.875 million signing bonus that was part of Tomlinson's restructured deal this past spring, but it does not include the $1 million Tomlinson will receive if the Chargers release him after this season.
    General Manager A.J. Smith declined to comment on the investment the team has made in its two running backs, as he has balked at speaking on many topics lately.
    And while who is being paid what is of no concern to Turner, he said, “We're getting a lot out of it. (Defenses) have got eight guys up there trying to stop LT, and Vincent Jackson is getting a lot of great looks. Antonio Gates is getting a lot of great looks.”
    True as that may be, Turner also proclaimed, “We've got to continue to run the ball better.”
    The last time Tomlinson saw the Philadelphia Eagles, as the Chargers will Sunday, he was not seeing anywhere to run. In the lowest-production game of his career, Tomlinson was held to 7 yards on 17 carries.
    That was in 2005, the year before the historic season in which he scored an NFL-record 31 touchdowns (28 of them rushing, also a record) and gained a career-high and league-leading 1,815 yards.
    Now, it seems every Sunday brings the potential for an historic low.
    This past Sunday in New York, Tomlinson was held to 22 yards. That was the third-lowest total of his career, but it was not even his lowest output of this season. Last month in Pittsburgh, he gained 15 yards on seven carries.
    Tomlinson, who missed two games with a sprained ankle, is on pace for 578 yards and 182 carries.
    This will almost certainly be his first-ever season under 1,000 yards, and unless some things change, he might end up with roughly half his previous career low of 1,110 set last year. He has never carried fewer than 292 times and has averaged 332 carries over his previous eight seasons.
    Tomlinson emerged from Sunday's game with a bruised hip that kept him from yesterday's practice. While Tomlinson said he didn't believe the injury was serious or would jeopardize his participation against the Eagles, it is perhaps another small ***** in the king's armor as the murmurs of the Hall of Fame-bound Tomlinson's demise grow louder.
    Turner said yesterday he remains a believer Tomlinson is a viable runner, who simply needs more room to do so.
    “It's not even fair to get into that evaluation,” Turner said. “When I look at our tapes the last four weeks, when we've given him the opportunity to run, when we've had holes, LT has had good runs. He's had excellent runs. We just need to keep working to get him creases, to get him some running room.”
    And opportunities.
    While it seems clear Tomlinson is not what he was two years ago, he has been close to breaking several big runs and has shown the ability to move well in certain situations.
    With fewer than 15 carries in three of the six games he's played, there hasn't been a lot of opportunity.
    “With me, the type of runner I am, I need the carries to get me going, to get in the rhythm,” Tomlinson said. “It's a rhythm during the game you have to get into. You wear people down. Usually, the rhythm comes in the second half. We've only had a few games we've been able to do it. And it looks OK.”
    Before last week — in successive games against Denver, Kansas City and Oakland — Tomlinson carried 18, 23 and 18 times for 70, 71 and 56 yards.
    “I'm not saying it was great,” he said of his performance. “But it was OK.”
    That might be all the Chargers need at this point — a little more. After all, if Tomlinson at some point contributes a play or plays that help the Chargers to their first Super Bowl title, whatever money they've paid will be worth it.
    And Tomlinson said he is fine with his role.
    “You look at the team and see all the weapons and you go, `Hey, I've had my time where this team leaned on me 25 times (a game),” he said. “It's not that time anymore, so I just do what I can. I know we've got to get certain guys the ball. . . . Things have changed. At the same time, there will come a time where you're going to have to contribute and help win a game or a couple games.”
    Turner remains committed to that end.
    “LT is going to get better looks in the running game,” Turner said. “I think he'll have a good second half of the season.”
     
  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    So we basically have an expensive decoy. :icon_evil:

    This can't be laid at the feet of the OL or the RBs entirely. Both are sputtering, but the playcalling in the running game hasn't been the most creative nor have we explored the option of Bennett providing any spark.

    Once Nick comes back healthy & up to speed, there will be no more excuses. The OL will be intact. Then we'll see just what's what.
     
  3. zatoichi

    zatoichi BoltTalker

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    The o-line is a major issue but I put some of the blame on play calling. The run offense has no rhythm. LT can't find a groove because Turner is always replacing him with Sproles.

    In my opinion, Turner is overcoaching. He loves toys and gimmicks, Sproles being exactly that. I wish Turner would just let the players play.
     
  4. NORV4LIFE

    NORV4LIFE NO MORE NORV!!!!!

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    Won't be highest paid next year because there is no way both of them will be here!!! NO CHANCE IN HELL!
     
  5. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    We are a very finesse team and have been since last year - our run blocking has faltered in the years that we've had norv (and that's not playing this NMN game, that's fact).

    I don't deny that LT has lost a step but he's still be able to run the ball effectively when we've been able to get some push - which has only happened against the Chiefs and Raiders.

    So it's both parties fault.

    And this will be fixed at the minimum because Sproles won't be paid as much as he is being paid now. Either he'll be gone or he'll be signed at a better yearly price. LT might still be kept around but they need another running back and they need to KEEP HIS *** ON THE TEAM AT ALL COSTS. We've lost two RBs in two years thanks to mismanaging our roster.
     
  6. paddyirishman

    paddyirishman BoltTalker

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    agreed regarding Bennett, at this stage he should be given a chance.
     
  7. NORV4LIFE

    NORV4LIFE NO MORE NORV!!!!!

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    NO way. He's as old as LT and LT is still way better! The oline isn't helping him at all.. Benet won't fare any better!
     
  8. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Cool .... he can be another clipboard holder. That's always good for attempting to get something going. :lol:

    Bennett is the same age with far fewer miles on those legs. I'm not pushing for it, but it IS a possibility that it could strike a spark.

    But then, what do I know? I'm just one of the herd who doesn't want a SB. :icon_shrug:
     
  9. NORV4LIFE

    NORV4LIFE NO MORE NORV!!!!!

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    HAHAHAHA why not get a free agent?
     
  10. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Well-Known Member

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    Since your so interested in facts, here's one. FACT: LT led the league in rushing in Norv's first season as coach. So you can say that the run game has been ****** the last two years, but not in the "years we've had Norv." Having the league leader in rushing means you're doing something right.

    I still maintain that the primary problem is the line. I don't think LT has lost much. He still has the quick cut, the jump cut, but he just doesn't have the room to show what he can do. He was close to busting a big one last week but just got tripped up. I think when Nick comes back we will see some improvement.
     
  11. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    See one currently available that's any better than what we have?

    :no:

    Has the trade deadline passed?

    :yes:


    Does AJ believe in dabbling much in FA?

    :no:

    Next season a FA might be an answer, but not for now.
     
  12. Chargers-Superhero

    Chargers-Superhero Just win the Damn SB !!!

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    I thought we already covered this Bennett thing in another post.
     

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