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LT hopes a little goes a long ways

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Casey Pearce
    Posted Aug 16, 2009

    LaDainian Tomlinson had just five touches in his first preseason action in four years, but he believes his work Saturday night can go a long way toward getting off to a strong start.
    LaDainian Tomlinson[​IMG] got his wish Saturday night: he saw his first preseason action in four years.
    If he had completely had his way, he might have gotten more than the five touches he received.
    “Right as I was starting to get a rhythm it was time to get out,” Tomlinson said following the Chargers’ preseason opener. “I was just starting to feel it out a little bit and then it was over. That’s the part you don’t like about (the preseason). I wanted to stay in there, but I understand the bigger scheme of things.”
    Tomlinson was on the field for 11 plays Saturday night. He logged four carries for 10 yards and one reception for eight. His longest run went for six yards, and LT thought he was extremely close to breaking it for a long one. Head Coach Norv Turner thought that had LT played longer, he would have had a better chance of hitting a home run.
    “I think if he had stayed in and played the second quarter there were a couple runs he had in the first quarter that might have gained real big gains,” Turner said
    LT’s workload wasn’t a huge one Saturday, but he believes he accomplished his goal.
    “I wanted to get in there and get some rhythm and some tempo and some timing with my linemen and fullback and I thought we did that,” Tomlinson said. “It felt good.”
    Prior to Saturday night, LT hadn’t played in the preseason since 2005 and hadn’t even dressed for a preseason game since Turner took over as head coach in 2007. While LT won a rushing title in 2007 without any August game action and topped the 1,000-yard mark a year ago, he felt some preseason action could help him get off to a better start in 2009.
    In each of the last two years, it’s taken him until the fourth game of the season to top 100 rushing yards in a single contest.
    “Maybe this will kind of save us from that first game where it still takes a game or two,” Tomlinson said. “Maybe it’ll help us start a little faster.”

    That’s Turner’s hopes as well, and that’s exactly why Turner let Tomlinson decide if he would be on the field Saturday night.
    “I think that there’s no question that it’s a different speed,” Turner said. “I think for his timing and being with the offensive line and everything we’re trying to do as a team, I think it’s good for him. I know it’s good for our team.”
    Both Tomlinson and Turner hinted that Saturday wouldn’t be the final time Chargers fans see LT on the field this preseason. San Diego has three remaining contests before their regular-season opener in Oakland, and Tomlinson wouldn’t mind a chance to build on what he did against the Seahawks.
    “I think we’re going to wait and see, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be the only one,” Tomlinson said. “It was a good night and I hope we can build on that.”
  2. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    You can bet LT would've sat if Coryell were calling shots

    By Nick Canepa
    Union-Tribune Columnist
    10:03 p.m. August 15, 2009

    If you're keeping tabs on turnstiles at sanctuaries, you can include Norv Turner among the faithful who make the pilgrimage to the Don Coryell Shrine for reflection and genuflection, to soak in its waters and eat the fruit from his coaching tree. Turner is a disciple, so they read from the same scripture, speak the same footballese.
    They think alike — but not so much in August, when they obviously have different ideas about exhibition football, which of course isn't football at all.
    Coryell believed in having fresh legs when the real season began, which he always thought was a major reason why his Chargers of the late 1970s and early 1980s started strongly. There was no whip, but a feather.
    Coryell didn't much believe in two-a-day drills during training camp. In 1983, as I recall, they didn't run one. I recall veteran players lounging under eucalyptus trees. When the exhibition games came, Dan Fouts and his kids would play a few downs. Heck, there were weeks during the regular season when Fouts didn't practice, period.
    Turner is entering his third season as Chargers coach, and his first two years didn't begin with much enthusiasm — 1-3 in 2007 and 0-2 in 2008. Going uphill might be good if you're Sir Edmund Hillary, but it isn't always advisable in the NFL.
    So Turner played his regulars for a while last night as the Chargers opened their preseason with a thrilling 20-14 loss to Seattle. My guess is that, given the starters didn't exactly move offensively like Patton's Third Army, they may see even more duty next week in Arizona.
    But, really now, some of this is silly.
    Earlier this year, in jest I asked Turner if he had plans to use tailback LaDainian Tomlinson during the preseason. His reply: “He might play — if someone else is the head coach.” Good answer. Everyone knows LT doesn't play in August. Even Turner's predecessor, Marty Schottenheimer, handled Tomlinson as he might a Fabergé egg.
    So last night the Chargers won the toss, elected to receive, and when they lined up for their first play from scrimmage, guess who was at tailback, and it wasn't Ryan Seacrest. Why, it was LT. I had heard this rumor! It was true? Well, bless my soul!
    He carried the ball four times for not much, although there was a nifty 6-yard run where he looked very much like LT always looks with more than one good leg. He also caught a pass from Philip Rivers for very little. Tremendous. He went over and sat down. Fans got their 90 bucks' worth there.
    I realize LT has wanted to run the ball during exhibitions. He's a football player. It's what he does. Granted, he's been hurt the past two seasons, so some doubters think he might need the work. But I've seen him in practice. He may be 30, but he runs younger. He's fine. He's ready. He takes care of himself.
    There's no valid reason to expose him now. Without a healthy LT, the Chargers simply haven't been as good when it matters. He can still run. What a shock.
    LT didn't get hurt, but what if he had? Most positions require work for timing, trying new things, all that. But tailback isn't one of them. Tomlinson missed most of his rookie training camp in 2001 and, by golly, he rushed for 1,236 yards and 10 touchdowns, and he caught 59 passes for 367 yards on a 5-11 team. How could that be?
    Easy. He's a great back, and great backs are different than any other position in sports. Thoroughbreds, my friends.
    Anyway, that was about that. The many hundreds of intelligent fans who filed out at halftime didn't seem to care that new Qualcomm Stadium policy allows no re-entry (as in none). They'd seen enough, and they were not returning.
    I saw Rivers throw passes to tight end Antonio Gates before retiring for the evening after two series. Malcom Floyd still can make spectacular catches. Neither team did much against the other's first-team defense. Billy Volek, Rivers' backup, was 4-for-4 for 54 yards on the Chargers' second-quarter drive that ended with a 2-yard scoring run by tailback Michael Bennett.
    Nate Kaeding missed a 33-yard field goal to end the first half. That's bad, even in August.
    Punter Mike Scifres remains incredible.
    Outside linebacker Antwan Applewhite is a disturber who makes things happen and must be very closely examined. The former Aztec just looks like a keeper, a football player.
    Veteran Steve Gregory and rookie Kevin Ellison each had big hits and will make the free safety position, as expected, something to watch all month.
    Darren Sproles did very little (another wise move).
    I'm sure I heard Shawne Merriman's name at least once (the fans wildly welcomed him back).
    Rookie receiver Charly Martin deserves a long look (he gets open and catches, which is meaningful).
    Oft-injured Buster Davis caught a long pass.
    There seemed to be no serious injuries.
    The Seahawks didn't show me much, either. But what else could you expect from two scoops of vanilla?
  3. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

    Aug 3, 2006
    I would give LT a little action in the first part of the last exhibish-if getting his timing down is what makes him a slow starter. Low risk-high return.
  4. Zot

    Zot Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2009
    I guess the only question I have is, why aren't we practicing at "game speed."

    I don't want to see him play in the pre-season, period. It's to much risk for not enough returns.

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