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How much longer can Tomlinson dominate the Raiders and the NFL?

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    SAN DIEGO ---- Can you blame the Raiders for counting the days until LaDainian Tomlinson is done torturing them?

    Tomlinson rolls into Oakland on Sunday to face a defense he has run through more than any other. In 14 games against the Raiders, Tomlinson has rushed for 1,709 yards. If he rushes for 55 yards Sunday, he'll surpass Hall of Famer Barry Sanders (1,763 vs. Tampa Bay) for the most rushing yards through 15 games against a single opponent since 1970.

    Tomlinson also has 19 total touchdowns against the Silver and Black. With two touchdowns this weekend, he'll eclipse Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen for the most total touchdowns through 15 games against a single opponent since 1970.

    "I enjoy playing there,'' Tomlinson said. "I think it is one of the better places in the National Football League to play just because they got a great fan base that really gets into the game.''

    What those Raiders rowdies can't wait for is when No. 21 no longer sticks it to them like someone plucking a voodoo doll.

    Is that day close at hand? Tomlinson, in his eighth season, is on the back nine of a Hall of Fame career. At age 29, Tomlinson's sands of NFL time are running out, based on the punishment he takes and the position he plays.

    According to the NFL Players Association, the average career for a running back is fewer than three seasons. And with Tomlinson being bothered by injuries of late ---- knee last year, big toe this year ---- some wonder if the slide has started.

    "You know how it goes ---- it's football and you get injuries,'' former Chargers running back Natrone Means said. "You want to stay healthy, but you know when that injury bug starts biting you, it seems like when it rains, it starts pouring.''

    But it was nothing but sunshine and smiles Thursday, with Tomlinson practicing after skipping Wednesday's session. He ran with ease, looking nothing like a back who is ready for the rocking chair.

    Means, a Charger from 1993-95 and '98-99, was the team's Tomlinson back in the day. In his second season, he set a franchise record ---- which Tomlinson broke ---- by rushing for 1,350 yards and 12 touchdowns to lead the Chargers to their lone Super Bowl.

    But by the eighth year of his once-promising career, Means was done. There were injuries to his groin, thumb, knee, ankle ---- almost every body part used as a target by defenders.

    "That's just nagging injuries, just the wear and tear,'' said Means, who lives in North Carolina and is working on a coaching career through the NFL's Minority Fellowship Program. "Over time, your body takes the pounding and eventually things don't work as well as they used to. It just happens.''

    It will happen to Tomlinson someday, just as surely as a Raider goofball will wear a skeleton mask Sunday. But Means isn't ready to say Tomlinson that is descending.

    "I think people are pushing the panic button a little fast on that one,'' said Means, who rushed for 5,215 yards and 45 touchdowns. "They are concerned because all those touches are starting to add up. There is always going to be that concern because he assumes so much of the workload.''

    That load is being held up by a toe that barks with regularity. While a sore big toe doesn't seem like a big deal, it is, according to Means.

    "You are running on that toe, you are stopping, cutting up on that toe ---- that is just pain and that has to be a pain in his (rear) to not go out there and be able to move freely,'' he said. "When he can do that, that is what makes L.T. who he is. But now if you can't get up on that toe, can't cut, can't make the guys miss and accelerate ---- man, I'm sure he's tired of hearing all the questions. I hope he puts some of those questions to bed.''

    When the Chargers tucked away their first win Monday, the statistical sheet told a compelling story. Tomlinson rushed a season-high 26 times, but not one carry for over 5 yards.

    Is that poor run blocking? Is that Tomlinson, the two-time defending NFL rushing leader, being horse-collared by Father Time?

    Tomlinson has been held under 100 yards in seven straight games, including the playoffs. That's his second-longest streak; he went 10 consecutive games in his rookie year.

    "I read and heard some stuff about him being on the decline, but I don't think so,'' said Clarence Shelmon, the Chargers' offensive coordinator and former running backs coach. "He is as quick and fast as he's always been to me. It wouldn't surprise me if he started having breakout games like he always� does.''

    Shelmon was in Dallas during the latter stages of all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith's career. Smith's drop-off wasn't evident until after he turned 30, Shelmon said.

    "(Tomlinson) takes excellent care of himself, like Emmitt does, and there is no reason he can't play for three, four, five more years if he chooses to,'' he said. "I don't see a decline.'

    "My experience is, all of sudden it just shows up. We signed Curt Warner when I was with the Rams, and all of a sudden the holes he used to get through, he couldn't get through anymore. And that is typically what happens with a back.''

    But Means has Tomlinson's back.

    "Is he 30 yet?" Means asked, then was informed Tomlinson is 29. "That's what I'm saying. He's not 30, so I'm trying not to push the panic button.''

    Chargers notes

    Not a single Chargers player missed practice Thursday because of an injury. ... C Nick Hardwick (foot) practiced for the second straight day and appears primed to start his first game of the season on Sunday in Oakland.
     
  2. Osmekaman

    Osmekaman BoltTalker

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    What's the "average career for a running back" all about.
    It used to be 4 years - now it's 3. Does it include all RB's cut, not just ones injured?
    If you read this, it seems that LT could be forced to quit any day soon! Didn't Emmitt Smith play for 16 years?
     
  3. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

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    As long as he stays healthy, I'd say at least a couple more years.

    I look for AJ to target a replacement for LT in the next few drafts.
     
  4. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    To Infinity .... And Beyond!!!!!!!!! :tup:



    [​IMG]
     
  5. Showmeyourbolt

    Showmeyourbolt Well-Known Member

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    He's had a better start this year than he did last year.
     
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  6. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    I say 4-5 years, unless he just decides to hang em up. :tup:
     
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  7. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    That's about right. IF any RB was capable of dominating every game of the sixteen game season, we'd have a back with more than one 2000 yard season. Even Simpson, Dickerson and Sanders had only one, and their teams didn't have offenses as diverse as ours.
     
  8. MasterOfPuppets

    MasterOfPuppets Charger fan since 1979

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    LT's performance will decline in the coming years, a little due to father time, a little due to Rivers and the passing game becoming a bigger part of the offense
     
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  9. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    You are way to premature. LT will remain capable of leading rushers for atleast two more seasons. He has never had a serious injury requiring surgery or prolonged rehab.
     
  10. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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  11. Thunderstruck

    Thunderstruck BoltTalker

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    I hope the Raiders come out Sunday in their Pavlovian "stop LT" defense and get an education in "Rivers 101."
     
  12. EsDee_in_RI

    EsDee_in_RI Well-Known Member

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    I have a feeling LT is going to have a good game....get back into the rythm I cant wait tl we play!:abq2:
     
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  13. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    They'll get a heavy dose of both, we will need to build a big early lead to force them out of the run game and try to make Russell (SP)beat us.
     
  14. gobolts_charger

    gobolts_charger BoltTalker

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    As long as he dominates tommorrow like always............
     
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  15. bigmike.x.09

    bigmike.x.09 Well-Known Member

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    i kind of agree, im not talking about lts talents tho, i mean its LT, cmon, but i dont see him being the BIG TIME playmaker like weve had him for the past few years. theres no doubt that LT will kick some *** for a long time, but because we have rising talents, im sure that the ball will be more evenly dispersed and we wont always have to rely on him as we have had in the past.
     
  16. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    Yup, after a couple of Lombardis......:yes:
     
  17. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    LT is not in decline. Prove it to yourself, go outside line up about 20 yards from your dwelling and run the fawk into it. Please come back in here after you get back from Emergency and let us all know how you feel. Dumb fawks.
     
  18. Thunderstruck

    Thunderstruck BoltTalker

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    I'm optimistic that LT will heal up and come back this season and have stretches where he looks like the dominant LT of old. But people need to prepare themselves for the fact that LT ain't gonna be dominant forever. Don't act like it's such an insane statement that LT could be slowing down. He's 29. Would you like me to show you the list of hall-of-fame caliber running backs who significantly declined within a couple years of LT's current age...some before and some after?

    That's not a great age for a running-back. He's taken 7 years of pounding. He's going to start his decline soon if he hasn't already. It's inevitable. So far this year he has looked nothing like the LT of old. That's easily explainable considering the toe injury, but what a lot of you seem to be forgetting is that that's what happens when running backs start their decline. They start to get nagging injuries. It costs them a couple games here and a couple games there, and before long they're nursing two or three nagging injuries at once, they're in their early thirties, and the team is looking to draft a running-back.

    LT went his entire career suffering maybe two or three injuries significant enough to slow him down (groin, ribs, maybe something else I can't remember.) Then all of a sudden he sustains the two worst injuries of his career in two games... the knee in Indianapolis and the toe against the Panthers. It's a little bit alarming and bears keeping an eye on. I think LT will come back after the toe and play well the remainder of this season, but then he'll come back next year, he'll be 30, and the LT-decline watch will begin again.
     
  19. VikingBolt

    VikingBolt BoltTalker

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    Good news. Hopefully that means we can now go the rest of the season/post season without another loss.
     
  20. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    I think LT will last a bit longer as a prime back than others, because he plays smart. His medial collateral last year was a sprain, no surgery, just rest and rehab. The toe is a sprain that showed no collateral damage unlike with Parker, Gates and Hardwick. The other factor is that no back that I can remember has maintained as arduous an off season training regimen as LT has for the past seven years. Backs are doing it now, but they've seen what it can do for a player like LT and they've gotten into similar training practices. I suspect that a healthy LT has this season and one more before he begins to seriously decline.
     
  21. bigmike.x.09

    bigmike.x.09 Well-Known Member

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    this is aimed at...?
     
  22. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    I'm not denying the fact that LT will start to decline, it's not going to be like flipping a switch and he loses a step. He's never had a major surgery that I know of to his legs or feet.

    Sure it's going to happen, I've been a Bolt fan since the late 60's so I've seen some great ones come and go. I just don't see it happening over night is all and I don't think it's to a stage right now where it would be noticeable.
     
  23. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    No one in particular.
     
  24. bigmike.x.09

    bigmike.x.09 Well-Known Member

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    cool, cuz i was just sayin that hes not gunna get as many touches, not that hes washed up, LTs a god, but we have much more talent now than weve had in the past.
     
  25. Daddy_O

    Daddy_O Well-Known Member

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    How much longer can Tomlinson dominate the Raiders and the NFL?

    Looks like 10 games so far.....11 before the year is over. :abq2:
     
  26. pure-sol

    pure-sol Well-Known Member

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    Apparently as long as he damn well feels like it!
     

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