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Chargers' best weapon hasn't caught on

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://www.pe.com/sports/breakout/stories/PE_Sports_Local_D_chargers_23.1da74b09.html" target="_blank">The Press-Enterprise</a>

    By JIM ALEXANDER

    <img src="http://bolttalk.com/images/tomlinson05.jpg" class="top" alt="LT" />
    SAN DIEGO - Two seasons ago, LaDainian Tomlinson caught 100 passes, including four for touchdowns, and established himself as a multi-faceted threat to NFL defenses.

    One year ago, playing for a better San Diego Chargers team with more offensive weapons, he still caught 53 passes, amassing a string of 63 consecutive games in which he caught at least one pass.

    Two games (and two losses) into this season, he has no catches. None. Zip. Zero. Nada. Nil.

    "I'm pretty sure people are getting tired of hearing (everyone) say, 'LT hasn't caught any passes' or whatever," Tomlinson said. "It's definitely in the game plan, and that's going to be something we try to do this week -- make sure I touch the ball in open space."

    Tomlinson, considered by some the best back in the NFL, has been dramatically underused. He has carried 38 times for 124 yards and three touchdowns, including 19 carries for 52 yards Sunday against Denver.

    Much of the time Tomlinson has blocked against the blitz packages the Chargers have seen from Denver and Dallas.

    "Frankly, early in the season you want to secure the pocket," Coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "The worst thing you can do to a quarterback in the NFL is to turn loose a guy he expects to be blocked, and we did that on three different occasions (in the Denver loss)."

    Schottenheimer said the "considerable amount of man-to-man coverage" they've been seeing is the reason they "really haven't been afforded the opportunities to utilize" Tomlinson.

    The Chargers figure to see more blitzing and zone coverage Sunday evening against the New York Giants (2-0), who boast one of the premier pass rushers in defensive end Michael Strahan and have had five players record sacks.

    So how do the Chargers get more touches for Tomlinson?

    Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was not available to comment since Schottenheimer prohibits his assistants from talking to the media. But Tomlinson said he has discussed the matter with him.

    "Cam knew that he needed to get me the ball a little more coming out of the backfield," Tomlinson said.

    Quarterback Drew Brees said the Chargers are "looking at how we can put LT in a situation to succeed, whether it's throwing it to him or handing it off.

    "Keep in mind, everyone that we face on defense, their No. 1 priority is to stop LT. If they don't, it's impossible to win."

    Schottenheimer emphasized that Tomlinson's touches wouldn't come at the expense of protecting Brees, who has been sacked six times, including four at Denver -- even with Tomlinson blocking.

    New York coach Tom Coughlin, wary of Tomlinson's potential impact, said during a conference call that any suggestions that opponents have contained him might be a little misleading.

    "I know there was a play called back in the Dallas game that might have been a huge difference maker," he said, referring to a 7-yard gain on the Chargers' final drive that was nullified by a holding penalty.

    "He's an outstanding football player."
     

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