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Lesson learned, Chargers will target back in draft

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    [​IMG]

    April 6, 2010
    By Clark Judge
    CBSSports.com Senior Writer


    Shortly before San Diego met the New York Jets in last season's playoffs, Chargers coach Norv Turner told a reporter he not only wanted to have a running game against the Jets but had to have one to beat them.

    So the Chargers ran ... and they lost. Look no farther than their 61 yards for an explanation.
    But that can happen when you have the league's 31st-ranked running team. The Chargers were hitched to star running back LaDainian Tomlinson, only his star had waned. L.T. was so ineffective that his rushing average plummeted to a career-low 3.3 yards per carry, or nearly 1½ yards below what it was two years earlier.
    If the message wasn't loud and clear then, it is now. The Chargers need a young franchise back to rejuvenate what was once one of the league's premier running games. That back isn't on the roster -- not yet, anyway -- but will be after this month's NFL Draft, and let the speculation begin.
    Clemson's C.J. Spiller is the best one out there, but he'll be long gone when San Diego is scheduled to pick with the 28th choice. Some scouts insist that Spiller is the only back with first-round value, but I wouldn't rule out Fresno's Ryan Matthews -- and he could last to the 28th spot.
    But let's say he doesn't. Then what? No problem. The Bolts are perfectly situated to find a back with one of their first two choices. That's because they moved up 20 places in the second round with the trade of Charlie Whitehurst to Seattle.
    So, instead of having the 56th choice, they have the 40th -- which means they can and will find someone to replace Tomlinson early. Maybe it's Matthews. Maybe it's USC's Joe McKnight. Or Tennesse's Montario Hardesty. Or Stanford's Toby Gerhart. Some people might include Cal's Jahvid Best, too, but running backs with concussions scare me.
    Anyway, the point is: The talent is out there, and the Chargers have the ammunition to find what they're looking for. Now, more than ever, they must.
    "I just think when we look at it," coach Norv Turner said at last month's NFL owners' meetings, "we needed to get a young guy in there; we needed to get a guy that we can build with again."
    If that sounds familiar, it should. The last time the Chargers ranked as low as 31st in offense was 2000, or the year before they drafted Tomlinson. Then L.T. arrived, along with then-offensive coordinator Norv Turner, and the result was a rejuvenated rushing attack that averaged nearly a yard per carry more and jumped 11 spots in team standings.
    The Chargers are in roughly the same spot today except the foundation of the club is in much, much better shape. They have a franchise quarterback. They have franchise receivers. And they have a solid defense. What they don't have is a franchise running back, and no disrespect to Darren Sproles, but he's a third-down specialist, not an every-down back.
    "I think people look at it and say, 'With Sproles, they can offset that,'" Turner said. "We just want the best back. We're going to adjust to what he does. It's a physical game."

    [​IMG]

    Turner's history has been to find physical backs and lean on them. In Dallas, he had Emmitt Smith. In Washington, he had Stephen Davis. With the Miami Dolphins, it was Ricky Williams. With the Chargers, Tomlinson. All not only were capable of carrying the ball 20 or more times a game, all did, which means the Chargers will almost surely avoid anyone in this draft not known for physical play.
    Gerhart is physical. So is Hardesty. You can throw Mississippi State's Anthony Dixon in there, too. If I had to find a back for Turner, I'd look for someone who is strong between the tackles, who can pass protect and who has the hands to catch balls out of the backfield. Then I'd draft him.
    The Chargers' playoff hopes don't depend on that guy. They're a dead-bolt cinch to repeat as AFC West champions because they have the best team and the best quarterback in the division. But their ability to go deep in the playoffs may depend on the next back.
    Turner was right when he talked about the importance of running the ball in the playoffs. He couldn't, and his team lost. Maybe that changes this season. It all depends on how San Diego operates early in this month's draft.
    "This league is about change and adapting to different situations you're put in," Turner said. "We know we need to go find a runner. We want to run the ball, and we want to have a balanced offense. That's one of our priorities and, obviously, at this point most of that will happen through the draft."
     
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  2. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    Has any team won a super bowl with a rookie being the featured back?

    :unsure:
     
  3. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

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    Do we have any better options at this point?

    And Sproles could still be considered the #1.
     
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  4. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    HAHAHAHAHAHA. He would last less than half the season if he was getting 15-20 carries a game, he will also be less effective than LT. Look at his game by game numbers, the more carries he gets, the less effective he is
     
  5. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

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    I agree.

    Which is why we need to draft Mathews.:yes:
     
  6. coachmarkos

    coachmarkos BoltTalker

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    Timmy Smith of the Redskins ran wild in the Super Bowl, and he wasn't even a starting back, was forced into the role due to an injury or two.
     
  7. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    DEFENSE FIRST
     
  8. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

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    RB First, defense every other pick.:yes:

    Unless Brandon Graham or Dan Williams falls to us.:lol: Then it should be a mad dash up to the podium to land one of those beasts.
     
  9. Sydalish

    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

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    I don't think he meant Sproles would be getting the majority of carries/game - He was answering the question "has a rookie rb ever won the superbowl"

    So being that Sproles is the more senior back on the squad and if he and a rookie (and maybe yogi/hester too) were splitting up carries he could be considered the #1 just as easily as the #2 or 3 if those carries were being distributed somewhat evenly. Semantics of sorts more than Sproles being a workhorse.
     
  10. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    I love my adopted Bolt but he'll never be the guy that defenses have to plan for.
     
  11. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    Dear AJ,

    Please draft a big *** kicking defense


    please


    :bolt:
     
  12. MasterOfPuppets

    MasterOfPuppets Charger fan since 1979

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    :icon_huh:

    (I know, I know, they had the 60th pick)
     
  13. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

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    I think a couple people missed my point.:lol:

    He was concerned about a rookie starting at RB, and I was saying there's a possibility that Sproles could still actually be listed as the starter over any rookie we draft.........but that doesn't mean he has to lead the team in carries.
     
  14. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    Not unless someone worth a first round pick is available. I am for either a back or NT, and for picking whichever one is the most highly rated at the time. We don't need to reach for either position where we are sitting now.
     
  15. NORV4LIFE

    NORV4LIFE NO MORE NORV!!!!!

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    idk he can do alot of damage
     
  16. Workplay

    Workplay scompl

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    Why am I the only one who thinks we might go O-line with one of our first 2 picks? :icon_shrug:
     
  17. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I don't think it's very likely for 2 main reasons ....

    One - AJ's draft tendencies don't favor that.
    Two - By many indications, we seem to be pretty happy with our OL.
     

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