The League

David Aldridge
Sports Reporter

David Aldridge

A nationally recognized sports journalist.

Give LT a Break

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Geez, a guy has one 300-yard all-purpose playoff game and saves his team's season, and folks want to throw LT2.0 under the bus.

Look, Darren Sproles was incredible Saturday. But are the Chargers better without LaDanian Tomlinson?

Was Sonny better without Cher?

Was Laverne better without Shirley?

Am I dating myself terribly with these '70s references?

You get the idea.

In eight NFL seasons, Tomlinson has never--never--gained fewer than this season's 1,110 yards on the ground. In a season where he was injured and the questions began about whether he's on the downhill side of his career, Tomlinson scored 12 touchdowns. In 729 regular season touches the last two seasons (rushing and receiving), Tomlinson has fumbled exactly once.

No question Sproles is tough; he would have never made his first cut as a rookie if he didn't have something special. And he's a dynamic return man, maybe the best in the league. But that's just the problem with special; it becomes mundane and ordinary if you use it too much. Sproles had 61 carries and 29 receptions during the regular season; that's the load of a specialist, a sparkplug -- not an every-down back. The Cowboys thought Marion Barber was a 25-carry guy instead of a change-of-pace guy; they found out otherwise. Devin Hester didn't seem quite as devastating a kick returner when he had a bigger role on Chicago's offense this season. Guys that play every down usually wear down.

A one-two punch of LT and LD -- Little Darren -- is what will keep defensive coordinators up nights and let Phillip Rivers sleep like a baby the next three or four seasons.

By David Aldridge  |  January 5, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  San Diego Chargers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The Chargers need all the backs they have. The league is changing and the day of the one back is gone. LT is a great player and is still an asset to the team and the league.

Posted by: rbprtman23 | January 5, 2009 2:14 PM

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