Is LaDainian Tomlinson done?

There seems to be two schools of thought on LaDainian Tomlinson at this point in his career: You either fall into the category that believes he has nothing left in the tank, or you think his declining production is in direct correlation to the Chargers’ poor run blocking over the past couple of years.

At least one NFL general manager “with multiple Super Bowl rings” falls into the latter of the two categories.

From the New York Post:

“If you watch the films from the end of last year, the guy had nothing left,” a general manager with multiple Super Bowl rings said last week. “It’s not a knock on him personally. All those carries are going to catch up to anyone.”

The above quote comes from one of New York Post columnist Bart Hubbuch’s most recent columns. Hubbuch also writes that, “it didn’t take a grizzled NFL scout to notice in the Jets’ recent workouts that Tomlinson just doesn’t look like the same player who terrified opposing defenses with his slippery moves and sublime hands for nine seasons with the Chargers.”

Well, no kidding. LT will turn 31 in a couple of days and it’s not like the Chargers limited his carries earlier in his career. He was their workhorse for the better part of nine seasons and there’s certainly a lot of wear and tear on those tires.

The question is, can he still be productive? In a two-back system, I think the answer is yes, especially consider that the Jets have a better O-line than the Chargers, although the loss of Alan Faneca certainly hurts. Assuming the Jets keep all of their backs fresh, LT can still be a valuable piece.

That said, I highly doubt we’re going to see a resurgence here. Again, he’s on the wrong side of 30 and has been slowing down over the past two seasons. I still think he can be effective, but he might not come close to the 730 yards and 12 touchdowns that he produced last season. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a nice complement to Shonn Greene in New York’s running game.

I think it’s a little early to stick a fork in him this season.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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