With all to respect to Adam, my employer, I’m going to have to disagree that Tomlinson can be the Chiefs next Marcus Allen.
LaDanian Tomlinson is not worth his contract. He is at most, worth the league minimum as a veteran presence and mentor. That is it. Even behind a good line, Tomlinson probably isn’t going to perform very well. He has a ton of mileage on his legs, more than a guy like LJ who rode the pine for a while. He is also an unnecessary injury risk.
In the NFL, if you have good blocking, you can plug almost any talented back into your offense and he will get yards. If a guy is fast and he isn’t blind, he can run through a gigantic hole, untouched, for 5 yards. Mike Shanahan proved this by plugging any dirt bag he wanted into the Broncos lineup. They were all fairly successful, however, none of them were Terrel Davis. They weren’t special, but they got the job done.
If you have crappy blocking, you need a special back who can make things happen on his own or who can squeeze through the smallest of creases. Like Jamaal Charles does for the Chiefs. Like Barry Sanders did for the Lions.
If you have both of those things, well, then you have Ladanian Tomlinson of old. You have Chris Johnson.
The Chiefs have one of those things. If they fix their blocking issues, then a guy like Jackie Battle or Kolby Smith or Dantrel Savage will be able to run through those holes and pick up yards. Better yet, they will be able to do it faster and with more efficiency than a 31-year-old running back with a ton of mileage on his legs.
Marcus Allen was special. He is certainly an exception to the 30 year old running back rule. The Chiefs were a good enough team when they picked up Allen that they could gamble on plugging an old guy into their offense to get them short yardage. The blocking was there.
But part of the reason Allen was so fresh when he got to Kansas City was that he got so few carries his last few years with the Faiders. He averaged 94.5 carries per year from 1989-1992. Even still, the fact that he had all those good years in Kansas City afterwards was amazing.
Here is one more interesting stat for you. Marcus Allen played 11 seasons for the Raiders before coming to the Chiefs. Tomlinson has played for the Chargers for 9 seasons.
When Marcus Allen arrived in KC, he had 2,090 carries from scrimmage under his belt.
If Tomlinson were to be signed, he would arrive with 2, 880. That is only 142 carries less than Marcus Allen had when he hung up his cleats at age 37, after 16 years in the league. Tomlinson simply has too many miles.
The Chiefs are a young team with a lot of talent and potential. They are not the Chiefs of the 90′s yet. They need to bring up their own players. They need to improve their blocking and when they do, I would rather have a guy like Battle or Smith spelling JC, than a guy with 2, 880 carries on his legs.
I did not include receptions in my analysis when comparing LT and MA but in case you are wondering, that is pretty much a wash as well. Allen had 587 receptions in his 16 years and Tomlinson already has 530 in 9.
Often times, when I am writing an article, I just go with the flow. The expert below was in the middle of this article but I felt it diverted too much from the clearer argument I was attempting to make about the differences between Tomlinson and Allen. I am including it below because I think it is interesting and it points out something you already know, that Norv Turner is a moron.
Consider it the deleted scenes or special features from this article.
I point to the Chargers game against the Jet’s as a perfect example of how feeding carries to a guy like Tomlinson, when you have younger, faster backs on your team, is foolhardy.
Tomlinson got 12 carries for 24 yards in the Chargers loss to the Jets. He averaged an abysmal 2 yards per carry. Darren Sproles got 2 carries for 33 yards. Small sample size? Sure. Sproles busted off a big run for 22 yards. Still, on his other two carries he averaged 5.5 yards.
Why in God’s name did the Chargers give the ball to Tomlinson 12 times when they had Sproles? Because he was a veteran? What the hell were they thinking only giving Sproles 3 carries? They did give him 3 catches for 30 yards. This guy is a gamer. Are they that stupid?
This is a perfect example of why Norv Turner is a moron. Rivers is not Peyton Manning. He is an excellent QB, as much as I hate to admit it, but he is no Manning. There is no reason why the Chargers went into that game, chucking the ball 40 times against a team with one of the best corners in the league and running the back with the lowest YPC of all RB’s who got at least 200 carries, 12 times at 2 yards a pop while only letting Sproles touch the ball 6 times.
OK, I digress. This is supposed to be an article about why the Chiefs should stay away from Tomlinson and why he can’ But you see my point right?
The Chiefs went through have a season of their own stupidity, running Larry Johnson straight into Rudy Niswanger’s ass a million times for 2.7 YPC until Larry, being the genius that he is, finally got rid of himself for us.
The Chiefs don’t need to repeat the same sort of mistake with Tomlinson.