I complain about Tomlinson a lot. So much so that some of my friends think that I want to trade or release him. I don't. Not even close. I understand everything he's done for the Chargers and would like to see him win a super bowl with us and go into the hall of fame as a Tony Gwynn-like figure in the city.
What most people don't realize is that when I bitch about Tomlinson I'm really bitching about our coaching and the roster of the team. Not just this year, I've been on this rampage for about 4 years now. My point is this...I know he's a dynamic playmaker, but wouldn't he be an even more dynamic playmaker if we kept him fresh?
Most teams seem to be going by this philosophy. Keep your RB fresh in the game, get a big play in the 4th quarter. Keep your RB fresh in the season, get a weapon in the playoffs. Keep your RB fresh each season, extend his career. Why are we not taking this path?
In his previous 7 seasons Tomlinson has averaged 338 carries. He's on pace to just about get another 300 carries this year as well. How does this make any sense? Are there any other RBs in the league that are Tomlinson's size and age and carry this much?
LT is listed at 5'10", 221 lbs. I think he's more like 5'8", 210 lbs but that's neither here nor there. LT is 10th in the league in Rushing Attempts Per Game. Let's compare size with the top 9.
M Turner - 5'10", 244 lbs, 26 years old (1st year starting)
A Peterson - 6'1", 217 lbs,23 years old
M Forte - 6'2", 216 lbs, 22 years old
C Portis - 5'11", 221 lbs, 27 years old
W Parker - 5'10", 209 lbs, 28 years old
R Grant - 6'1", 226 lbs, 26 years old
M Barber - 6'0", 225 lbs, 25 years old
T Jones - 5'10", 215 lbs, 30 years old
S Jackson - 6'2", 235 lbs, 25 years old
L Tomlinson - 5'10", 221 lbs, 29 years old
Alright, so the best comparisons to Tomlinson this year in terms of size, age and carries per game are Clinton Portis, Willie Parker and Thomas Jones.
Thomas Jones has gone over 300 carries ONCE in his nine years in the league. He has 705 less carries in his career than Tomlinson.
Fast Willie Parker has gone over 300 carries twice in his five years in the league. He has 1,508 less carries in his career than Tomlinson.
Clinton Portis has gone over 300 carries three times in his six years in the league. He has 631 less career carries than Tomlinson.
Now that you've read that, let's do this once more. Tomlinson has gove over 300 carries SEVEN TIMES in seven seasons. He will make it a perfect eight for eight after this year. By comparison Thomas Jones is downright fresh, as is Fast Willie. Keep in mind that Willie Parker and Portis have been having trouble staying on the field the last two years as well.
Am I saying that Tomlinson is done? No. I hope not anyways. What I'm saying is maybe the toe was no accident. Maybe LT is going to start breaking down because we've pounded him into the ground for 8 straight seasons. Maybe instead of drafting a guy who "might be able to fill both holes", we should draft one guy per hole in our roster this time.
It's not all on the offensive line. In Running Back Years, our boy LT is OLD. I've seen some of that this year and really hope it gets addressed in the offseason. It's time to start getting 150-200 carries of "fresh LT" each year to bring some life to his legs and our running game.