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Tomlinson or Sproles?

We’re flipping back to football for a couple days after doing some baseball.

The San Diego Chargers, my pick to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this year, host the Ravens on Sunday.

Should be a good game, and we’ll make predictions Friday.

But here’s what I want to know from you today:

Which running back gives the Chargers a better chance to win these days: Darren Sproles or LaDainian Tomlinson?

Tomlinson injured his ankle last Monday and was watching on the sidelines as the Chargers and Sproles made their final comeback against the Oakland Raiders. But there are some that believe LT should have stayed on the sidelines regardless.

That the short and shifty Sproles is a more effective weapon these days.

I am not ready to believe it. Not yet anyway. I think Tomlinson still has plenty left in the tank. I think he is still a feature back. I think he is still the best running back in San Diego.

Sproles has looked good, very good, at times, but he has never been a feature back before. So I can't automatically give him props over Tomlinson.

I may be in the minority, though.

Take away the fact that LT may be a little banged up right now, and answer this question: Who is the better back for 2009, LT or Sproles?

Daily Think Special: Who is better Tomlinson or Sproles?

Comments

LaDainian Tomlinson was the best running back in the NFL for years preceding last season's fall off in production. Despite LT having what, for him, was a less than spectacular season in 2008-2009, I still think that he is the superior running back and that Darren Sproles will have to do a lot more for quite a while to demonstrate for me that he has surpassed Tomlinson as being the back who gives the Chargers the best opportunity to win.

There's no way Sproles can handle 20+ carries a game all season. He's 5'6 and 185lbs, he's sure to take a beating.

Sproles will always be doubted due to his size as he was at K-State. Eventually they will find it hard to keep him off the field. Remember he presses more than any of the Linebackers on the San Diego team and is faster than most on the field. He's got to be fast to survive.

I think it depends on the defense SD is playing to answer that question. If SD is playing a speed defense, LT is the better option. If they are playing a power defense that lacks speedy linebackers, sproles is probably the better option. Sproles is the better running back when it comes to getting the ball in open space, screens, toss running plays, etc. However, Sproles cannot run the ball up the middle or between the tackles. LT is a much better running back at doing that. As a ravens fan I personally am more concerned of Sproles being on the field than I am LT. However, if LT were injured for example, sproles couldn't be the full time back, he couldn't carry the ball 20-30 times a game and he certainly couldn't run between the tackles. As a result, I think Sproles is more dangerous of a weapon now than LT is but only as a compliment to LT. Sproles without a power running back makes SD's offense one dimensional.

Dan - what are you smoking? The Chargers to the Super Bowl? Not with Norv Turner coaching. Never.

Being from Baltimore I can't see how you can pick the Chargers over Baltimore after the injuries they sustained Monday. The Ravens line and backers would wear down and crush Sproles as the game went on. If LT is hurt he would be like a wounded gazelle running from the lions, and they always get their prey. Maybe you could dress a cheerleader to distract their defense, no wait, that would just distract Merriman.

Since I will be out of town for the weekend here's my prediction: Sproles runs wild through the holes. Heap gets injured again, Ray Lewis blames the refs and the kool aid drinkers blame the NFL for scheduling a tough cross country road game. After all, it's never a question of the other team being better, it's always excuses when getting beat. New England in two weeks, then the Vikings two weeks after that. Oooo, get those excuses ready kool aiders.

Chargers 31
Ravens 17

San Diego is much better off when both backs are available. The combination of LT and Sproles is better than either one individually. As a Ravens fan, I hope only one of them are available to play Sunday and I don't think it matters which one.

I just hope that the Ravens utilize their 3-headed monster more than last Sunday.

LT might be the better back for 09, but I can tell you that Sproles is definitely the better back against the Ravens. The guys who go North and South as fast as Sproles tend to be the guys who do well against us. I know it was the preseason, but Leon Washington made lightning fast cuts and found tiny cracks to exploit in the run defense. Sproles can do that to us as well.

Whose the better back for them in 09? LT no doubt. Even in his off year in 08, he still had over 1,100 rush yards, 1,536 all-purpose yards, and 12 total touchdowns. He won't ever put up the numbers he had in 06 again but he can still be productive. As for our game, Sproles scares me more he could hurt us on returns or screens, not necessarily as a RB.

I think Sproles is far more dangerous at this point.

He does a lot well from a versatility standpoint and is the elusive, change of pace back the Ravens sometimes have problems against.

Sproles is better against the 3-4 and Tomlinson is better against the 4-3.

Well, I think Tomlinson is the best there ever was. I still think he has some left in the tank, and the Raiders game was tough, so it's kind of ironic that he already got hurt in the first game further fueling all the doubters. This just makes it that much more of an eye opener when he puts his cape back on.

But I also disagree with the notion that Sproles could never carry 20+ touches. Do you even watch him play? Yes, yes he can. This will also lift your eyes, but maybe not before a little adversity, they will both be forces to recon with, and this will be widely known by mid season.

Some much needed optimism.

I'm sorry Matty. Tomlinson as the best that ever was? That's absolutely ludicrous. Tomlinson was a league-leading back playing behind a stellar offensive line for many years.

Jim Brown. Barry Sanders. Emmitt Smith. Walter freaking Payton. Gale Sayers.

THOSE - and others -are the backs in contention for the 'best of all time' label.

LDT isn't even in the same league.

I agree with Nate; there's no way LT is the best ever. He always seems to come up lame in the playoffs. Nevertheless, when he's healthy he's the one who will wear you down and beat you. Sproles is better for that quick burst but I can't see him tearing it up vs the Ravens D. I can see him getting a TD vs our special teams though.

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