Same as I did with the WRs, I'm going to take a look a the Chargers' current crop of RBs and try to figure out who will make the team and who won't. Let's start by looking at how the team managed their crop of HBs and FBs in 2008.
- Started the year with LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles, Jacob Hester and Mike Tolbert.
- Claimed Michael Bennett from the Tamp bay Bucaneers during Week 11
It's my opinion that the Chargers started the season a little light at RB, but I think the idea was that Hester was a jack-of-all-trades. Hester would be the third (and goal-line) HB and the backup FB. Hester made it known, through his play, that he wasn't much of a goal-line HB but made a fine FB. When Tolbert was hurt, Hester took his spot. Bennett was signed to keep everyone fresh and add another weapon, but left the team without a power RB.
I think 5 RBs will be kept this year instead of 4. Tomlinson has shown himself to be a little bit more injury-prone than in the past, Sproles risks injury by returning kicks and Hester is not an option as a starting RB should anything happen to LT.
The common perception seems to be Tolbert getting cut and Gartrell Johnson making the team. I can't argue against that. The Chargers could use Brandon Manumaleuna and Kris Wilson as backup FBs. If Hester gets hurt, they move one of those guys to the backfield and sign Kory Sperry or Charles Davis (I suspect at least one of them will be on the practice squad). That's a safer bet than moving Hester to FB last year was.
This would give the team two legitimate starting RBs (LT and Bennett), an incredible weapon in Sproles (who wouldn't be forced to run 25 times a game under any circumstance) and a powerhouse in Johnson (who can run the clock and wear down a defense, or just be a goal-line back). There's two things that AJ Smith seems to love in a roster: depth and versatility. This group of 5 RBs provides both. Here's the RBs that will make the cut:
Do you have any thoughts about Bolts From The Blue? Any tips you want to send our way? Whenever you have something to say, don't hesitate to e-mail me directly.