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Read between lines to see Bolts’ message to LT

Discussion in 'American Football' started by CoronaDoug, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Official Hater

    Feb 14, 2007
    Read between lines to see Bolts’ message to LT
    SATURDAY, APRIL 24, 2010 AT 12:02 A.M.

    Contact Tim:
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    The chassis is unchanged. The engine is untouched. If Ryan Mathews represents a new set of tires for the San Diego Chargers, does that mean their running game is no longer a clunker?

    Just asking.

    Replacing LaDainian Tomlinson with a pair of fresher legs is a move sure to invite comparisons, but it may not mean dramatic or immediate improvement. What it means is that the Chargers have gotten eight years younger at a position where athletes age like Labradors.

    But if the same people are doing the blocking, is it reasonable to expect markedly different results from the NFL’s worst rushing offense? Is the Fresno State Flash just that special? Are we to believe the Bolts’ recent rushing woes were wholly attributable to LT’s lost steps?

    Seriously, what’s up with that?

    “The thing that people forget is that LT missed two games last year and was really a non-factor in two,” Chargers head coach Norv Turner said Friday. “He sprained his ankle in the opener and missed four games. He was hurt the year before with the toe and everyone forgets that he had the turf toe and he was limited. So those things have an effect.

    “I expect us to be a real good running football team next year.”

    Though Turner left a lot unsaid, his implication was clear. The Chargers obviously believe Mathews can pick up where LT left off, that he can flourish where LT flagged, and that he can do so with the same supporting cast.

    “A big part of our improvement is going to be the young (offensive linemen) that played for us last year — those guys getting a year better,” Turner said. “(Louis) Vasquez was a rookie, (Brandyn) Dombrowski was a rookie. Jeromey Clary missed half the year.

    “I look at games we ran the ball well. I look at the Tennessee game. I look at the Denver game in the middle of the year. The things we (were) doing are right. When we played at the level we’re capable of playing and had the matchup that allowed us to run the ball, we ran the ball pretty well. We didn’t do it as consistently as we need to and we have to be able to do it with matchups.”

    Some of that is coachspeak. Some of it may be excessively optimistic. Collectively, the Chargers finished 32nd out of 32 NFL teams last season in yards per carry (3.3), and there were times their offensive line might have been running in sand for all of the surge it created. There were days when Tomlinson might have seen more daylight in a dungeon.

    Yet there were also holes LT was not able to hit with his accustomed authority. Glancing blows he might have bounced off before were more often enough to bring him down. The collective toll of 2,880 NFL carries was telling, and some of the moves that made LT great were gone.

    “Does (Mathews) have a gear that LT has lost?” Turner was asked Friday.

    “Everyone wants to evaluate that,” he replied. “I’m not going to get into that. I know (Mathews) ran 4.37 (over 40 yards). He ran in the 4.4s consistently. … He’s got the juice to go all the way. He’s got the power to run inside. He’s a complete back.”

    If you can’t read between those lines, go see an optometrist. While the Chargers have remained deliberately vague and appropriately deferential in discussing Tomlinson’s release, their draft strategy fairly screams of scorn. It was almost as if General Manager A.J. Smith has replied to LT’s blame-dispensing exit interviews with a symbolic gesture that could be loosely translated as: “Well, we’ll just see about that.”

    No, payback was not the purpose behind the pick. The Chargers chose Ryan Mathews for what he can do, not for what he might symbolize. Still, in piecing together Smith’s plan after three rounds of the draft, one of the major themes is that the GM views his challenge as a tuneup as opposed to an overhaul; and his vehicle as a classic, not a clunker.

    Twice in two days the Chargers have traded multiple picks in order to move up and grab a particular player. Thursday, it was Mathews, in the first round. Friday, it was Washington linebacker Donald Butler, in the third round. That pattern suggests Smith sees the Chargers as a team with a few specific needs rather than one in need of extensive upgrades.

    Smith’s maneuvers conjure the poker player who draws one card, not to fill an inside straight, but in pursuit of a full house.

    “We all know we want to get better, but this team won 11 straight games,” Turner said. “Twenty of the 22 players who started those 11 games are still on our football team.”

    Replacing Tomlinson was plainly a priority, but in trading away their second-round choice and in taking Butler in the third round, the Chargers appeared almost cavalier about their shortcomings on the defensive line and in the secondary. We’re likely to hear a lot more about that if some of the Chargers’ younger players don’t progress.

    That goes double for Ryan Mathews. Maybe triple.

    “You really can’t compare to LT,” Mathews said during a Friday news conference at Chargers Park. “He’s a great man, a great runner. He’s a legend. You really can’t replace him.”

    The Chargers would like to think they just did.

  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Idiotic article.

    If this was some kind of message to LT, it was an expensive one.

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

    Jul 11, 2006
    I for one am very tired of hearing about LT, he's not on this club and he crapped on them upon his exit. I don't care what happens with him now. All I care about is the Bolt's and who's still part of them. If we win the Lombardi this year, I won't shed no tear's for LT. He made his bed now he has to sleep in it, later LT have a great season.
  4. Rainman

    Rainman BoltTalker

    Sep 4, 2006
    No kidding!

    If the Chargers' brass REALLY wanted to "show up" or embarrass L.T., they'd have shored up the defense with picks #28 and #40, and taken a guy like Ben Tate or Jonathan Dwyer in the 3rd.

    THAT would demonstrate that A.J. Smith & Co. believed that L.T.'s production could be replaced easily, as in "You're gone? No sweat!"

    I could make just as strong as case for contending that the Chargers' actions in the draft communicate-- if it's a message at all in the first place, which I doubt-- that you have to spend big to get an adequate replacement for L.T.

    Not sure what ax Tim Sullivan has to grind, but it's pretty evident he hasn't gotten laid in a while. :icon_banana:

    Maybe we can take up a collection and buy Tim an inflatable... uh... friend. :)
    • Like Like x 1
  5. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

    Aug 14, 2006
    Obviously we wern't sending him a message.

    But I think there is something he can take out of the fact that we drafted a RB and no offensive linemen, and clearly expect the running game to be better.


    Oct 4, 2009
    If we're sending him a message Matthews will wear #21
  7. BoltzRule

    BoltzRule Well-Known Member

    Jun 4, 2006
    I agree, by taking a RB late and saying he could replace LT would be taking a shot at LT. Especially if the higher focus was placed on defense.

    By trading up for a RB it's saying that we're simply looking for better production from the RB position. I know LT has pride but I bet even he can admit that a RB should get more than 1000 yards. Whether that was the right direction to go in, we'll find out this season. Either it was the line or it really was LT.
  8. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

    Aug 15, 2006
    Umm, I thought we sent him a pretty clear message when we cut his ***.
  9. bigmike.x.09

    bigmike.x.09 Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Mathews will get a ring as a Bolt, sadly I can't say the same about LT.

    we should make a remake after we get ours
  10. LV Bolt Fan

    LV Bolt Fan Well-Known Member

    Aug 1, 2006
    I don't think the message was loud or clear enough! :icon_rofl:
  11. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

    Aug 3, 2006
    Any idea that this draft was any kind of message to LT is absurd. We have filled the most pressing needs of this team with the first four choices and among the UFDAs, there is some BIG beef at tackle, guys who were tabbed to go in the middle second day of the draft by a number of people. There is also a Boise State TE who goes 245 and projects as a fullback. There is also a WR named Seji Ajirotutu(I think), a Matthews teammate, big, tall, fast, good hands. We got four choices who will make the team because the slots are already open with the cuts and trades. We have had a very effective draft.


    Oct 4, 2009
    apparently not:no:

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