The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Time to hang 'em up?

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Looking at the numbers, it almost seems as if LaDainian Tomlinson would help himself above all if he took a powder and thought about life after football. The Chargers placed 18th in Football Outsiders' Adjusted Line Yards stat, which places credit/blame on offensive lines for the success/failure of running plays based on down, distance, and opponent. However, no team was worse than the San Diego in actual running backs yards per carry --- 3.54. What this tells us is that although the Chargers' line is no great shakes, the real problem resided in the backfield.

In 2009, Tomlinson placed 42nd in our DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) stat, which measures cumulative performance in yards above or below replacement value. With a DYAR of -14, he was right down there with Jamal Lewis, who just retired, and Clinton Portis, who will be very close to that mark sooner than he may imagine. His DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, our per-play efficiency stat) was down in that same area -- below replacement level. His Success Rate, which measures a player's consistency, was among the worst among NFL running backs. In other words, if you took a pretty good running back in the draft, and put him in a committee behind a good offensive line, you'd probably get better results than if you picked up Tomlinson on a one-year veteran minimum flier.

The simple fact is that running backs live fast, "die" young, and very rarely leave good-looking statistical corpses. I would rather remember Tomlinson for the great things he did in San Diego than watch him struggle with the harsh reality of the here and now as so many have before him.

By Doug Farrar  |  February 23, 2010; 12:55 AM ET  | Category:  Doug Farrar , Free Agency , Running Backs , San Diego Chargers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Tomlinson could end his career as an effective role player with a playoff contender, but that's about it. His days of being an every-down back are over.

Posted by: linroy62 | February 23, 2010 9:47 PM

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