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Bolts try to correct fumbling issues

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    BY SCOTT BAIR - sbair@nctimes.com North County Times Thursday, October 14, 2010 10:18 pm

    SAN DIEGO -- Mike Tolbert is affectionately known as a bowling ball. He knocks over defenders like pins trapped in a lane, especially deep in enemy territory.
    He's been counted on in the red zone this season, and has produced four touchdowns in five games.
    He'll tell you he should have five. Tolbert was just a yard from paydirt in the second quarter of Sunday's game at Oakland when the ball came loose at the worst possible time. Oakland recovered, and while the Raiders subsequently went three and out, it took virtually guaranteed points away from the Chargers in an 8-point loss.
    "Those things should never happen," Tolbert said. "It's as simple as that,"
    But they are, and they're stifling the NFL's top-ranked offense at fatal rate during yet another 2-3 start.
    The Chargers lost seven fumbles in 2009. Through five games in 2010, they have nine. In 2009, lost fumbles resulted in 18 points. Through five games this season, lost fumbles have directly cost 24 points. The Chargers have also lost two in the red zone, taking points off their own scoreboard.
    On by the way, the Chargers three losses have come by a combined 22 points.
    "You think you have the problem solved and then it pops up again," Chargers coach Norv Turner said. "It's a matter of making a habit of carrying the ball correctly. There are a lot of backs that have had a problem and fixed it.
    "I don't think we have guys with a fumbling problem. I think we have guys that have to work at their technique. It is about technique and how you hold the ball."
    It's hard to point the finger at just one person. Ryan Mathews has two.
    Tolbert has two and Darren Sproles has two. Receiver Legedu Naanee has another and quarterback Philip Rivers has two, although his are tougher to avoid because he's trying to throw the football as opposed to run with it.
    Losing nine in five games is a staggering clip. While each fumble is different and some of them are virtually impossible to avoid, the Chargers are coughing it up at a rapid rate.
    "We know we have to protect the ball," Mathews said. "We've had some incidents where we've had both hands on the ball and the guy still strips it away. There are a bunch of different little things that have happened all in a short period, but I think it'll calm down over time."
    Ball security is always a high priority, something the running back work over every day. Turner chalks it up to a combination of technique and inexperience, especially with a rookie and a converted fullback taking the carries.
    But Turner and the young rushers know that fumbling is never acceptable.
    "Sometimes things happen, but that doesn't matter," Tolbert said. "If you carry the ball 20 times, you have to get up with the ball 20 times. Some of the other backs and I have fumbled a couple times, but we're going to get it together."

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