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O-Line is NOT the problem with our running game

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by in_a_days, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. in_a_days

    in_a_days dgaf

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    Pass protection has been stellar for the last several weeks. Rivers very consistently has time to throw and a clean pocket. Yet we're pathetically ineffective trying to move the ball on the ground.

    LT is a shell of his former self. You only have to be a little better than the other guys on the field to be great. And LT has been great for almost ten years. He's just not there anymore. He can't bounce to the outside or step through the line with quite the same power and speed. It sucks, but it is what it is. I really hope he's willing to restructure at the end of the season and he wants to stay around as a situational back. I really love the guy, but he has fallen back to earth and just doesn't have exceptional talent anymore.

    We have actually been pretty solid in short yardage situations. Our backs are not getting swallowed up in the backfield frequently. Our o-line surge is almost always good for a yard or two, but after that it falls on the legs of the back to break a tackle or throw a stiff arm to break it to the second level. And that just is NOT happening.

    I also infer that Sproles simply is not an every down RB in this league. He has more speed and agility that LT at this point, but his 3.3 YPC is nothing to brag about.

    Our o-line is too consistent and nasty blocking the pass for me to believe that they don't LOVE grading the road for whoever takes the ball behind 'em. If we are sucking running the ball it's because of the talent (or lack thereof) at the RB position. The fortunate thing is that in the modern NFL, with QB and WR happy rules, it just might not matter. :bolt:
     
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  2. LaDeezie21

    LaDeezie21 BoltTalker

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    I just think that the focus has shifted from running to passing. If the O-line was really opening holes, Sproles would be tearing it up when he gets the ball. But that isn't the case. I'm not saying that LT is the same guy from 06 but he's not bad at all.

    The Chargers are a passing team now. Long gone are the days when they ran it down the oppositions throat. I think that the amount of running they do is good. It's better to have more weapons available to your QB in Gates, Jackson and Floyd on a consistent basis than to rely on one guy (LT).

    LT got it done when it counted. That being on the 1 yard touchdown and all of the big chunks of yards he got at the end of the game. THAT is just as valuable as breaking a few long runs if you ask me. That took time off the clock and got us closer to fieldgoal range.
     
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  3. reddenedbeard

    reddenedbeard Well-Known Member

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    When the Oline does open up the holes, Sproles and LT both have been unable to break tackles. Sproles is too small and is getting hit this year which is something that really hadn't happened before. LT just doesn't have that jump step any longer and seems to get cut down in the open field. Someone also needs to tell LT to start lifting his knees more often so he doesn't get that damn tripping tackle that he has been prone to the last couple of seasons.
     
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  4. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    Lt doesn't have the same command of that jump move he did so well just a few short years ago. Also I have noticed he goes down when defenders hit his ankles, unlike before he'd just run threw it.
     
  5. Dublin Bolt

    Dublin Bolt BoltTalker

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    It's like his balance is gone which is incredible. Half the time he is falling over himself. In the good ol days he had the most incredible balance, Barry Sandersesque in fact.

    Look, there is no doubt LT is nowhere near the player he was but I also have to say the run blocking has been poor. At the end of the day we have a late rounder playing center, a RG who never ran block in his life and an UFA at RT. And Dielman has not been the old Dielman for me neither.

    The only guy getting away with it for me now is McNeill because he is primarily a pass blocker minding Philip's back for a living.
     
  6. IFiredCHart

    IFiredCHart Well-Known Member

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    Dielman has been savage this season, IMO, and Vasquez is one mean dude.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the "balance" point--half of the time, LT seems to stumble over his own jukes, but he still provides a valuable commodity when we are inside the 2 :).
     
  7. JoeRockhead

    JoeRockhead BoltTalker

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    I have to agree LT's acceleration is not the same. He does not burst through holes like he used to. What did Gale Sayers say? "Give me three inches of daylight, thats all I need". LT used to only need that and BAM he was gone. He still is a good back, and is helping our team. His acceleration is just slower. At the goal line he is still a GO to guy, and is hard to stop. The line is not blameless, but it is not all them.
     
  8. Charger Dave

    Charger Dave Dead account

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    My thoughts exactly - even on his longest run yesterday, (11 yds), LT was brought down by an ankle tap.

    He still has that nose for the end-zone though - and remains serviceable like Priest Holmes was (until he met Shawne Merriman in San Diego). Like the man said - its good to know he can still contribute - and he does.
     
  9. Dublin Bolt

    Dublin Bolt BoltTalker

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    We'll have to agree to disagree. Imho this has been Dielman's worst year. Vasquez, I believe will be a real good un. He is a monster and will only improve the more he learns about run blocking, the 'meanness' will serve him well in that regard.

    Gr8 to have the banter though and gr8 to see u posting so much. Keep em coming!. :icon_toast:
     
  10. Zeus

    Zeus BoltTalker

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    I agree to a point. Here is how I see it.

    When there is a hole, and sometimes a huge one, Sproles and LT can't get through it all the way or past a guy for a huge gain. Hence the 5 yarders. Everytime you see a 5 yard or more gain a better healthy younger RB would of had a lot more. Some of those holes are HUGE.

    There are some problems with blocking. F-back blocking, along with lack of blocking by our WRs and TEs. I see this poor blocking in our special team returns as well. Seriously our offensive blocking is very poor.

    In addition the reps LT gets is greatly diminished along with Sproles. It is harder to break out a big run with limited reps.

    Finally teams do stuff the box, when they don't we get decent yardage, which is why they do try to stop the run which opens up our passing game.

    LT isn't as good at the LOS as he used to be, but he is one of the best goal line RBs in the league.
     
  11. Skuzzlebutt

    Skuzzlebutt BoltTalker

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    LT has lost a step, but I think this O-line was built to protect the pass. They did a GREAT job of that yesterday. The O-line could make LT look much better and vice versa, but they have both lost a bit which results lesser product.
     
  12. in_a_days

    in_a_days dgaf

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    I'm no coach... nor offensive tackle for that matter... but it's always been my understanding that pass protection is generally more difficult than run blocking. There is a lot more reading and reacting, and you have to hold up for a lot longer. Whereas run blocking is more a matter of hitting your lane and blowing somebody up.

    I've often heard that offensive linemen love being up by a couple scores late in the game when a team can just rush rush rush.

    But I also strongly agree with Zeus that our fullback blocking is atrocious. Tolbert has done some impressive things with the ball this year, but Lo Neal he is NOT. And I'm on record as not thinking much of Hester in any regard...
     
  13. Sydalish

    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

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    Combo of LT being mortal and the Oline/FB just not opening the running lanes they used to = SD Running Game 2009
     
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  14. CasualKnowledge

    CasualKnowledge BoltTalker

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    It's a down year for running backs anyway. LT isn't the LT of 06, but he's still LT. He's huge to red zone success, and with only 8 running backs with double digit touchdowns (LT with 10) this year, that's just fine by me. And O line is part of the problem. Pass protection has been awesome, no doubt. Run blocking has been inconsistent. Where is Hardwick?
     
  15. HEXEDBOLT

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

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    I meant no disrespect towards LT, I know his burst isn't there or his cutting ability of the past, nor his little jump move. I do feel the early ankle injury may in part be the culprit for what seems to be his lack of moves.

    I highly doubt his eye's aren't seeing the holes, it's more that his body can't get there quick enough or finish the play. I want to see LT hang em up in San Diego and yesterday he was ever so close to breaking some huge runs.

    His ankle is getting better and I suspect he will tear it up from here on out, he looked good yesterday, I believe it will just keep getting better and with the playoff a real possibility, is there a better time to come on?
     
  16. foober

    foober BoltTalker

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    which brings up the problem were gonna have next year. Do we keep LT one more year and let sproles go. Or let LT go and keep sproles. I don't think we can keep them both. Plus we still need to sign mcneil and a couple others to longer contracts. I really think this will be LT's last year with the chargers.

    I myself would keep sproles. LT is about done with his career. while sproles has a couple more good years left in him. But we do have to find another good quick/fast back to rotate with sproles.
     
  17. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    We dont have to sign some of our soon to be free agents. If the CBA is not renewed, those whould would ahve been free agents in 2010 wont be until 2012. It goes from 4 years to 6.
     
  18. in_a_days

    in_a_days dgaf

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    And speaking of that very point, did we spoil our ability to resign Sproles by franchising him this year? He's pulling in 6.6 mil for this season... Do we have the leverage to knock him back down to like the 2-4 mil a year range? 'Cause I don't know how much more than that he's worth.
     
  19. IFiredCHart

    IFiredCHart Well-Known Member

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    I will also agree to disagree--Dielman has had better years than this--I have seen him push linemen out of the way this year, but in years past, he used to MAUL strong-side DEs and clear huge holes without help.

    But I would not be surprised if Dielman has focused a bit more on staying at home to help Mruz given our center situation. At this point, the run is a luxury, but the pass is our identity. :tup:


    Honestly, I would much rather have a top-tier pass-blocking line than a top-tier run-blocking line that doesn't stay at home, is undisciplined, and lets LBs and DBs through without a challenge. I wonder if Norv has considered putting Manu at fullback for a few running plays--he looks like he is 100% bulk and could open a nice hole for Sproles to just gash.
     
  20. Boltergeist

    Boltergeist BoltTalker

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    Am I the only one that is actually encouraged by what we saw from the backs on Sunday?....That's a real good run stuffing front...and at the end of the game, LT had some real nice runs that were crucial to us continuing to run the clock down and secure that last FG and win....Sure, he was tripped up on the 11 yarder, but he made a great cut to get into the hole and showed more burst than I've seen all year from him to get through it....He had another quick burst of a run later in the drive.......and he also had one other pass reception for a 1st down where I was really impressed with his tenacity to get the 1st down. We are a pass first team...It took me a long time to accept this...and I think LT also....but it looks like he's bought in to me...he's doing whatever needs to be done...He had a great blitz pickup that was pointed out during the telecast...He remains our primary goal line threat with double digit TDs (harder than most think...ask Marion Barber)....and when he's split out, I've seen him running out his routes hard. Extremely impressive TEAM performance by him yesterday IMO.

    We all agree LT is not the same as he was 3 years ago....We also should be in agreement that part of this is due to a fundamental shift in offensive philosophy far less reliant on the old I formation set with a fullback leading the way...and our runblocking has been a work in progress if that. Even PR said in an interview now long ago that teams continue to key on and run blitz LT which opens things up for him...so that says a lot about other teams and whether or not they still consider him a threat.

    My personal belief is that LT has been recovering all year from his injuries and has been slowing playing his way into shape to be at his best in the post season....He looks to me like he is getting stronger....and I have a sneaking suspiscion that he's got something in reserve for the playoffs this year.

    Even teams with strong running games have had their issues..this is becoming a pass first league....Many of us salivate over having a back like Adrian Peterson.....If you've paid attention, he's only had 3 100 yards games this year....and those 3 games are really all that's maintaining a respectable average for a guy in his prime...running behind a goliath OLine...with a perfectly complimentary pass game....Heck, AD had one game of 13 carries for 19 yards.....and he has no age, Oline, or injury excuse. Me thinks the Vikes scheme has shifted too with Favre coming on board in Minny.

    Want another example? Try Matt Forte in Chicago.....Sometimes the young "stud" back isn't always what he was in his first year when he starts getting keyed on.

    Our offense is fine right now...In fact it's getting better...given our priorities, I prefer a sound pass blocking line, and they are doing a good job in that area.....Run blocking, not so much....but it's also not our emphasis......and I do think it will get better when it counts most.
     
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  21. reddenedbeard

    reddenedbeard Well-Known Member

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    Heh .. Another John Cappelletti.
     
  22. Bolt-tastic voyage

    Bolt-tastic voyage BoltTalker

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    This thread kinda makes me want to throw up all over myself. Are you people seriously complaining about LT right now? WOW! I don't know about you but I'd much prefer talk about the giant **** Wade Phillips took in his pants when our D stopped Dallas on the goal line on 4th Down. Or perhaps being 10-3 (2nd place in AFC) a couple games or 1 game with help away from clinching the number 2 seed in the playoffs. But hey that's just me...

    That look on Wade's face was priceless!
     
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  23. Chargers-Superhero

    Chargers-Superhero Just win the Damn SB !!!

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    Anybody know offhand if CJ Spiller is a senior entering the NFL draft??? Reminds me of LT a little.
     
  24. Daddy_O

    Daddy_O Well-Known Member

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    Nailed it. LT has been excluded from signifigant Playoff production due to injuries. The pass is getting it done. Save me some run game for the playoffs and watch em go WTF? I thought they were gonna pass on us?
     
  25. Eat My Boltage

    Eat My Boltage Well-Known Member

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    I still believe that LT is and will be a viable contributor to our offense for at least a couple of more years. He still has a lot of gas left in his tank. And yes it still is about our o-line, they are protecting Rivers but still not opening holes for our backs to go thru. Protecting is defenceing not blowing open holes in the d-line.:bolt:
     
  26. BoltWash

    BoltWash BoltTalker

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    LT's numbers are not that great, but I think a lot of that has to do with him not breaking for long runs. Chris Johnson averages 6.0 yards a carry, while LT only averages a little over 3, but CJ has a 60 plus yard run every flipping game it seems like. That does a lot for your average. LT only has 2 runs over 20 yds. LT is doing enough for our team, getting 3, 4 yard runs on 1st down, setting up more manageable 2nd and 3rd downs. WE are winning games, and have ERASED our red zone woes from earlier in the season. Its all good baby.
     
  27. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

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    He's averaging 3.2ypc, he will be lucky to break 900 rushing yards this season....in fact I guarantee he won't. He obviously doesn't have the same speed or strength to break those long runs anymore. Oh...and we're paying him roughly 6-8 mil a year, which is top 5 RB money.

    We all love LT and what he's done, but lets be honest its not like we can't upgrade at RB. There are maybe 20-25 backs in this league more effective than LT right now, including no-names like Justin Forsett, Jamal Charles, and Fred Jackson.
     
  28. 14fouts

    14fouts BoltTalker

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    I agree -I luv LT- but 3 yds a carry is not getting it done and sproles should never be a primary ball carrier neways we have a bunch other backs who dont get any carries tolbert, hester, bennet, drafted that johnson from colorado st. I think they should def restructure LTs contract and keep him as a situational goalline back not an every down back and maybe look for a good free agent fairly young rb to bring in next year
     
  29. Dublin Bolt

    Dublin Bolt BoltTalker

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    Guys, I truly believe this is LT's last yr as a Charger. Wouldn't it great were we to win it all and LT announces he is retiring as a Charger the day after?. :tup:

    The reason I say this is that it wil be a sad day the day he is 'let go' by the team (if the org has to make the call).

    I'll be surprised if we don't see a RB picked in one of our fist 3 picks next April. :cool:
     
  30. chargerlipz

    chargerlipz Leading the league in nose hairs.

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    Sproles' previous three season averaged 5.4 yards a carry. This year 3.3. He's only 26. Why would his numbers drop off so much if the O-line didn't have anything to do with it?

    Just a thought. As far as I can tell it's not just LT getting old, but the O-line ain't bringing it either.
     

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