It’s here folks, the off-season. No more NFL games for 7 months. Time for players to get much needed rest and time with their family’s. Time for a little arthroscopic invasion to come scrape out that knee to make room for next season’s scar tissue. The season never stops for the players, just us fans. Once again it’s the same old song and shuffle. The restlessness, the anxiety, and the flat out frustration of Chargers fans everywhere is enough to shake the Just For Men out of Dan Fouts’ whiskers.
One of the bigger ones lately has been, “Where did the running game go?” Nobody seems to have an answer to the post Lorenzo Neal era of running woes in San Diego. It’s easy for people to wag the finger at L.T.in pure ignorance, but one you take a look at his role in the new Norv Turner scheme then it becomes clear that L.T.was right about all along. The chargers went from beingan elite running team to an elite passing team seemingly overnite, meaning L.T. is not their bread and butter anymore. You can turn the rushing statistics inside out but it boils down to three simple things. L.T. gets less carries in the new scheme as it it, but throw Darren Sproles into the mix and pickings become slim in what used to be the promised land of opportunities for LaDainian. It’s very sad how the general populus blames Tomlinson for everything, when the personnel and offensive line should be held more accountable.
Look at it this way if you’re a believer in the statistics. By the end of the season, L.T. churned out an average of 3.4 yards per carry. Granted, nothing like what it used to be, but stay with me. The other “feature” back, Darren Sproles averaged around 3.7 yards per carry. Next time you are out on a football field, so me a favor and measure three-tenths of a yard and tell me, with a straight face, that the amount is considerable enough to be arguable. If you want to blame Tomlinson, blame Sproles as well, but if you want an informed opinion then look no further than the men in front of both of them. Mike Tolbert is not Lorenzo Neal. Not even close. However, it still isn’t that simple.
Slim pickings has been a big theme lately. Of course, I am talking about the free agency crop for the year. This particular organization has never been one known for wheeling and dealing in free agency. They have always been firmly commited to building for the future through the draft. Plus, the Chargersfree agency problems go far beyond aquiring new players. That is the least of their worries. Before they even think about any potential trades and free agent deals, the Chargers have to work out new deals for their laundry list of potentially devastating free agent possibilities. Vincent Jackson is a big one. Their priority should be to secure their own potential free agents first before they start looking at, say, Julius Peppers or Joey Porter. Still, holding your breath and waiting for the Chargerssuits to shell out that much cash for a game changing free agent is as naive as thinking adding Jon Runyanor somehow voodoo-ing Lorenzo Neal back into the starting position is goingto fix the running game.
Trust me, they are aware of all of these things. Lorenzo Neal won’t be resurrected because of his age, and the Chargers will never really take free agency too seriously. Still, I hope they prove me wrong someday. I would LOVE to see Julius Peppers out here. It’s just not their philosophy. They would rather reach into the draft and take a rookie that they can lock down for 7-10 years if they wanted to. They are not a team so desperate they they will reach for quick fixes to be a dominating force in the league for a year, or two, or maybe five. They build to be reckoned with for years and years to come. The pieces are falling into place for the Chargers to make more than a couple of championship runs. Those of you here in San Diegowho love tacos are aware aware that patience is the essence of fine mexican food. The same goes for football. New Orleans can certainly tell you. Sometimes it takes 50 years to win a Super Bowl.
San Diegofans deserve credit, though. Well, the majority of them anyways. Staying classy has been in practice here and it needs to stay that way. You deserve a championship and it’s coming. Just need to stay dilligentand keep our poise until the day comes. I may not have been the first person to say something like that but I am proud to say that I believe it. You stay classy, San Diego.