1. Welcome to San Diego Chargers NFL Football Podcast and Forum!

    Bolt Talk is one of the largest online communities for the San Diego Chargers. We host a regular Chargers podcast during the season. You are currently viewing our community forums as a guest user.

    Create an Account or

    Having an account grants you additional privileges, such as creating and participating in discussions. Furthermore, we hide most of the ads once you register as a member!
    Dismiss Notice

L.T. still waiting for liftoff with listless, 1-2 Chargers

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,085
    Ratings:
    +268
    Source: <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-chargerswoes&amp;prov=ap&amp;type=lgns" target="_blank">Associated Press</a>

    <img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20070925/capt.606beda0845041ae9e589b5265378275.chargers_woes__football_ny159.jpg" alt="Green Bay Packers safety Atari Bigby, right, trips up San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson during the first half of an NFL football game in this Sept. 23, 2007 file photo, in Green Bay, Wis. Starting 1-2 isn't what the Chargers or their fans expected." height="215" width="279" />

    By Bernie Wilson

    SAN DIEGO (AP) -- LaDainian Tomlinson can't run the ball and his defensive mates can't tackle.

    Three games into Norv Turner's third NFL head coaching gig, the Chargers face plenty of questions and nobody seems to have any answers. Starting 1-2 isn't exactly what the Chargers -- or their championship-starved fans -- expected.

    Three games into last season, the general populace was horrified by a recurrence of conservative "Martyball" that led to the Chargers' first loss of the season. Now that Marty Schottenheimer is gone and can't be blamed for this start, everybody seems numb from a big dose of Norvacaine.

    After being embarrassed at New England and then blowing opportunities against Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, the Chargers desperately need a win. They open AFC West play on Sunday by hosting the Kansas City Chiefs.

    Tomlinson has been the most brutally honest member of the franchise since being taken with the fifth pick overall in the 2001 draft, and he's not hiding his emotions now.

    "Of course it's a wakeup call, because you don't want it to continue in a downward spiral from 1-2 and then you find yourself 1-5 and then all of sudden it's over," he said. "We have to definitely find a way to win one game."

    The same team that went an NFL-best 14-2 last year hardly looks elite.

    It all starts with Tomlinson, and Tomlinson has barely started. In three games he's gained only 130 yards and scored one touchdown rushing, which no doubt has fantasy geeks absolutely aghast. Tomlinson has caught 14 passes for 99 yards and one TD, and has thrown for another score, but is gaining only 2.3 yards per carry.

    Three games into last season, Tomlinson had rushed for 300 yards and three scores. He went on to have nine straight 100-yard games and 10 overall.

    Tomlinson is running behind the same line he did last year, when he set NFL records with 31 touchdowns -- including 28 rushing -- and 186 points. He also won his first rushing title with a career-high 1,815 yards.

    The line includes two Pro Bowlers, center Nick Hardwick and left tackle Marcus McNeill, as well as left guard Kris Dielman, a Pro Bowl alternate who got a $39 million contract in the offseason to remain with the Chargers. There's also Pro Bowl fullback Lorenzo Neal, who's been a lead blocker for 10 straight 1,000-yard rushers.

    Right tackle Shane Olivea was hurt early in the 38-14 loss at New England and missed the Green Bay game.

    "There's no question we need to run the football," said Turner, who as the Bolts' offensive coordinator in 2001 installed the system they still use today. "That's what this team has been built around, the runner. We need to continue to get back to running the football the way we are capable of running it."

    Asked if he thought the Chargers could consistently be successful without running the football, Tomlinson said: "We haven't been able to run the ball in three games and we're 1-2. So I think that answers your question."

    The Chargers have been facing eight-man fronts, but Tomlinson's seen those for years.

    "It's not going to stop," Tomlinson said. "We're going to continue to see eight-man fronts. Now we have to find a way to run the ball against eight-man fronts. I think we will. Knowing Norv, we've got a great coaching staff that understands the game and understands how to run against eight-man fronts."

    Turner also mentioned throwing screen and swing passes to Tomlinson.

    "Getting the ball thrown to him quick certainly will help him," the coach said.

    The defense has been worked over by Favre and Tom Brady. Trying to stop spread offenses in consecutive games exposed a glaring weakness.

    "Obviously the biggest issue, and we just have to address and have to fix it, is we have to tackle better," Turner said.

    There's been plenty of speculation that the coaching staff is still feeling its way. Among the reasons for Schottenheimer's sudden firing in February, besides his icy relationship with general manager A.J. Smith, was that the front office didn't like the exodus from his staff.

    Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was hired as Dallas' head coach, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron got the top job in Miami, and two position coaches became coordinators elsewhere.

    Turner and defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell are among seven new coaches on the staff. But Tomlinson said that shouldn't be a factor.

    "I think the players know the coaches enough," Tomlinson said. "I don't think that's a real problem. We have coaches who have been here. These guys, they really know the players, so a lot of time they're the ones saying something, speaking out. I think the players, they respect that. They respect those guys' opinions."

    Smith said his confidence in the coaching staff isn't shaken, and it's not his style to go for the quick hook.

    "I do things at the end of the year," Smith said. "We don't do it week to week.

    "I think we've got a good coaching staff, I think that we've got a good football team," Smith added. "I'm happy with everything we've got here. We'd just like to win some more games and make some big plays down the stretch."

    While keeping his eye on the long haul, Smith doesn't like the look of 1-2.

    "Obviously going against Chicago was quite a challenge, but we did something in crunch time to make that happen," he said. "New England, Green Bay with Brett Favre, were tough duty. We didn't get it done. Now we're faced with our record being what it is. I believe it was Bill Parcells who used to say, no matter what, no matter how you dissect it, you are what your record is. It's all about the number."
     

Share This Page