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John Gennaro
Chargers Blogger

John Gennaro

A die hard San Diego Chargers fan and writer for Bolts From The Blue.

LT Needs an O-Line

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The rest of the personnel on the team lead me to conclude that, while he may not be the better RB in another system, Darren Sproles is the better fit for the San Diego Chargers right now. This is a team that has not had a great run-blocking offensive line since 2007, and LaDainian Tomlinson needs blocks in front of him to make plays.

Coming out of TCU, the knocks on LT were that he was undersized and that he didn't have enough speed, but he was shifty and could be a weapon if utilized properly. The Chargers did the right thing in putting him behind big, bruising offensive lines and Lorenzo Neal. Giving him the space he needed to make plays, and keeping defensive linemen and linebackers off of him, is part of what made LT the record-breaking running back that he is. While the scouting report on Darren Sproles is essentially the same, he brings with him much greater speed and acceleration which allows him to get around the corner on a run or turn a screen pass into a long touchdown. Thus, even without a big bruising offensive line or fullback, Sproles can still make something happen.

In reality, LT and Sproles are pretty even. LT's vision as a running back is unmatched in the league, and he has some strength and juke moves that Sproles does not. However, with an offensive line that is in shambles I'd rather have the guy that can fly past defenders than the one that has to try to juke or stiff-arm them if they go unblocked.

With LT and 2/5 of San Diego's offensive line already nursing injuries, the most effective way for the team to put up points would probably be to spread the defense out and let Philip Rivers throw to the open receiver. Once the defense is looking pass, Darren Sproles can fly through a hole and be gone in the blink of an eye. However, if Sproles is seeing more time at RB that means some of his kick and punt return duties will be passed on to someone else and that will hurt the Bolts in the special teams game.

If I've learned anything over the past two seasons watching Norv Turner, it's that LT is his guy if he's ready to go. Norv is always trying to set up the pass with a strong running game, and LT offers more consistency than Darren Sproles' Barry-Sanders-like losses mixed with big plays. However, LT typically needs a strong offensive line to keep the chains moving whereas Darren Sproles can make plays with his incredible speed even if it means running around 11 defenders.

By John Gennaro  |  September 16, 2009; 12:54 PM ET  | Category:  Running Backs , San Diego Chargers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: LT's So Last Year | Next: Sproles Is the Go-To

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