Will this be Tomlinson’s final year in San Diego?

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, running back LaDainian Tomlinson is likely playing his last season for the Chargers.

LaDainian Tomlinson is still a player who can help the Chargers win, but it seems clear he can no longer win games for them and is likely closing out his final season in San Diego.

The Chargers are averaging 3.1 yards a carry, worst in the NFL. And unless they can start getting some leads and let Tomlinson and others pound the ball while the line gets in a rhythm, that doesn’t look to get much better.

Sunday was the fourth time this season the Chargers rushed 21 times or fewer. They are on pace to rush just 364 times, which would be their fewest since 2000 and third-lowest total ever.

Tomlinson is a player who has served the Chargers incredibly well over his career and it was good to see San Diego rework his contract in the offseason. But it’s been apparent the past two seasons that he’s running on empty and as the article suggests, it looks like his time in San Diego is coming to an end.

That said, in LT’s defense the offensive line hasn’t been good either. The holes just aren’t there like they have been in years past and LT isn’t the only one suffering from it: Darren Sproles is only averaging 3.5 YPC, which is only a mild improvement over Tomlinson’s 3.2 YPC. I still don’t see the same explosion and decision-making out of LT as I did in previous years, but the O-line has played a part in Tomlinson’s decline.

If the Chargers do decide to part ways with LT, they need to find a back that can run between the tackles in the offseason because they could pair him with Sproles to form a nice 1-2 combo. They need a back that can wear opponents down throughout the course of games, because they don’t have that now and their offense remains unbalanced.

Looking back at things, it probably would have been wise to hang onto Michael Turner and part ways with LT, but how would the Chargers know that Tomlinson would break down the past two years? They probably had an idea that his time as a primary back was winding down, but they weren’t going to cut him before last season and pay Turner at the same time. It was unfortunate timing that Turner became a free agent when he did.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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