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LT Disappearing in a rush

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Nov 22, 2007.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    As losses increase, LT's carries decline for various reasons
    As he went in motion on the Chargers' first play from scrimmage Sunday at Jacksonville, Lorenzo Neal spied safety Sammy Knight moving in motion with him.

    Neal kept his focus on Knight, expecting him to keep going and attack off the edge. Instead, as LaDainian Tomlinson took a handoff, Knight stopped and converged inside. Neal was left blocking no one as linebacker Mike Peterson filled the hole through which Neal should have been clearing a path.
    Tomlinson was stopped for a 4-yard gain – not a bad play, but one that should have been more. “If I sprang LT like I was supposed to, and he gets out there with the safety, he makes a first down at least,” Neal said. “With his breakaway speed, he could have scored a touchdown.” Neal was in Sunday's game for just 19 plays, about as many as he has in most games this season and about half as many as he usually played before Norv Turner arrived and started calling plays. Neal's absence from the offense is the biggest illustration of the way Turner approaches the running game.

    Of course, Neal wishes the Chargers would be more committed to the run.
    But he knows, too, where he is complicit in the failings of the offense. He woke at 4 a.m. Monday reliving that play again and again.
    “If I make that play . . . I had a chance to impact the game,” Neal said. “I set the tone in the running game, and if I'm not, shame on me. If I make that block and LT gets free, it changes the way we go after them the rest of the day.”
    As it was, the Chargers ran just 20 times. It was the third time this season they have run just 20 times, all losses. Only six times since 1970 have the Chargers won when running 20 times or fewer.
    The most common lament about Turner's play-calling – and over the past four games this offense has been the league's least productive – is that he is not aggressive enough or creative enough. But he was plenty of both Sunday. The real issue is that Turner has changed this offense from one in which success was predicated on the run to one in which handing off to the league's most dangerous running back is an afterthought. Only once in his seven seasons has Tomlinson carried fewer times through 10 games than he has this season. The Chargers' 269 rushes account for just 47 percent of their total plays. In 2004 and 2006, the team's playoff seasons in this decade, the Chargers ran more than half the time. Tomlinson acknowledges he would like to run the ball more. But he is not overtly questioning play-calling. He has, in fact, become increasingly staunch in his public proclamations that the players simply need to execute what is called.

    However, it is clear what he thinks when he says things such as, “Last year we relied on the run. We didn't put a lot on Philip (Rivers).”
    It appeared on Sunday's first drive – even after that first play – that Turner finally was going to commit to the run, as he opened for the first time this season with four straight running plays.
    Tomlinson gained 4, 6 and 3 yards before a 1-yard loss and 7-yard completion forced a punt.
    By the time the Chargers got the ball a second time, however, they were down 10-0. They entered the fourth quarter down by two touchdowns.
    “I don't think we went away from the run,” Turner said. “I don't think we ran the ball as well as we'd like to. . . . When you get ahead in games is when you get a lot of the yards. I don't think anyone was in favor of running the ball a whole lot in the fourth quarter.”
    Perhaps not. And it is true the Chargers have not been ahead in games as often this season as last. But running more in the first three quarters might make a difference, allowing the line and Tomlinson to get in a rhythm.
    All season, Turner has not needed much of an excuse to all but abandon the run. He repeatedly points to unfruitful rushes as his reason for going more to the pass.
    In the past, the Chargers were more likely to stay with the run until it worked, with the offensive line wearing down opponents and Tomlinson eventually popping big runs. Tomlinson's first eight carries against Cincinnati last season went for a total of 26 yards. He finished with 22 carries for 104 yards. Against Oakland, he carried 10 times for 30 yards before finishing with 109 yards on 19 carries. Against Cleveland, his 12th carry went for a 41-yard touchdown, almost equaling the yardage he had to that point. Tomlinson ran just 16 times Sunday and has carried just 192 times this year, the second-fewest carries through 10 games in his career. He has run the ball just 70 times over the past four games.

    To say Tomlinson carried even 16 times is misleading, since one of those carries was supposed to be a pass by him. The Chargers have won just four times in Tomlinson's career when he has run 16 times or fewer. They have won just once when he has fewer than 16 carries.
    Turner has steadfastly maintained the issues are execution, the quality of the defenses the Chargers are playing and the way those defenses are playing the Chargers. It is not play-calling, he has said time and again.
    “We're not running the ball as well as we have in the past,” he said. “When you run the ball well you run it more.”
    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=15 width=240 bgColor=#dfdfdf border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>Silent running
    Through 10 games, the Chargers have run the ball fewer times – with less success – this season than after the same number of games in any of their previous three seasons. Here are their 10-game rushing totals since 2003:
    2003 243 1,271 5.23 10 2-8
    2004 321 1,401 4.36 15 7-3
    2005 296 1,297 4.38 15 6-4 2006 322 1,526 4.74 22 8-2 2007 269 1,076 4.00 11 5-5

  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Offensive guru, my ***. :icon_evil:
  3. Chargers-Superhero

    Chargers-Superhero Just win the Damn SB !!!

    Mar 10, 2007

    The funny thing is, LT is leading the NFL in TD's for a running back, and is 6th in the NFL in rushing yards.:icon_huh:

    Can you IMAGINE how crazy his stats would be if the O-Line wasn't sucking crap this year:icon_eek:
  4. Chargers-Superhero

    Chargers-Superhero Just win the Damn SB !!!

    Mar 10, 2007
    Oh, and NORV SUCKS:tup:
  5. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

    Aug 3, 2006
    That's why I wanted to see Hardwick back this week. They ain't as mean when he ain't around.

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