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Versatility aids Hester, Tolbert

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    By Kevin Acee
    Friday, November 27, 2009

    On the Chargers' final 12 offensive plays of Sunday's lopsided victory at Denver, Jacob Hester and Mike Tolbert each carried six times. Tolbert lined up at fullback six times, Hester four times. Twice, Hester was the lone back.
    “It was kind of funny having two guys able to do that,” quarterback Philip Rivers said.
    They're not Lorenzo Neal, and the Chargers don't want them to be.
    “They're two unique guys,” Rivers said. “ Just football players.”
    Hester and Tolbert are splitting time at fullback, and while neither is the lead blocker that the popular Neal was during his five seasons as a Charger, they are carving out roles that play off their being more athletic and versatile than Neal.
    Rotating both at fullback allows them to be fresh and more effective on special teams as well.
    Tolbert has 10 carries for 69 yards, Hester 14 for 61. Tolbert has a rushing and a receiving touchdown. Hester has two touchdowns on special teams, one off a strip and 41-yard run, one off a punt he blocked. Tolbert has six catches, Hester five. Tolbert leads the team with 13 special-teams tackles, Hester has five.
    “I like them both and they can both do what we need them to do,” coach Norv Turner said. “We're getting the most out of those two guys.”
    Injury updates
    Vincent Jackson (ribs), Shaun Phillips (ankle) and Travis Johnson (shoulder) returned to practice after missing Wednesday.
    Shawne Merriman (foot) and Luis Castillo (calf) remained working inside. Turner said he “has concerns” Castillo will not play Sunday against Kansas City. Merriman has taken to not practicing a day or two each week in order to rest some nagging injuries.
    Scott Mruczkowski continued to work at center with the first team, cementing the fact that Nick Hardwick's return is at least a week away.
    1st, 2nd and 3rd
    There are a lot of reasons the Chargers haven't lost in five games. One prominent reason is their not having to convert third-and-long as much.
    The Chargers' offense faced 20 third downs of at least 7 yards in the season's first five games, during which time they had a 2-3 record. Over the past five, they have faced just 11 third downs of seven yards or greater.
    In the past five games the Chargers converted 44 percent of their overall third-down tries compared with 38.7 percent in the first five.
    “We haven't had as many third-and-longs,” Rivers said. “First and second down is key. It's always been key. It expands what you can call (on third down), whether it be a run or intermediate passing stuff.”
    The Chargers' first-down efficiency actually has remained about the same, but their average to go on second down has decreased by more than a yard (down to 7.83 yards).
    Going long
    Sure, it was at 5,280 feet, where the ball seems to sail as if pumped full of helium. But, still, it was nice to get a long one in.
    Nate Kaeding's 47-yard field goal in the second quarter Sunday was his first try beyond 29 yards in four games. He tried a 43-yarder in Kansas City, but his last make from beyond 39 yards was Oct. 19 against the Broncos.
    “The long field goals are always good to get,” Kaeding said. “Being the pessimist that I am, I kind of worried that I'm going to get lulled to sleep by all the 25-, 30-yard field goals. I practice the long ones every day, but you still get anxious until you get out there and get one in a game.”
    Kaeding is 4-for-7 from beyond 40 yards this season and 16-for-16 from 39 yards and in.
    Buchanon to attend
    Willie Buchanon not only will be attending Sunday's game as an honoree as one of the 50 greatest Chargers, he will be fulfilling his regular duties as a uniform inspector.
    Buchanon had seven interceptions as a Chargers cornerback from 1979-82. He now works for the NFL during games at Qualcomm Stadium making sure players do not violate the league's uniform regulations.
  2. IFiredCHart

    IFiredCHart Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2009
    I was definitely encouraged by Hester and Tolbert showing a power running game in the 4th quarter of last game at a clip of 5 yards per carry...perhaps it could carry over into our red zone offense or as a 3rd down back running scheme.

    Jacobs should have taken notes before getting stuffed on every attempt last night.
  3. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

    Jul 27, 2007
    Tolbert looks like he wants to get a little friendly with Jacob....
  4. Enormo

    Enormo BoltTalker

    Jul 22, 2007
    Srsly. Very geh.
  5. IFiredCHart

    IFiredCHart Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2009
    I just noticed the expression on #26's face...almost like "no you din't!".

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