It could be a while before we find out how Roger Goodell is going deal with the alleged bounty scandal that is ripping through the Saints organization and every other team that Gregg Williams has been a part of. One thing we can be certain of is that Goodell is going to take the matter more seriously than LaDainian Tomlinson does. L.T. believes placing bounties on opponents is simply a form of motivation, and that the Saints do not deserve to be harshly disciplined.
“We’ll have to wait and see what the commissioner does as far as discipline, but in all honesty I mean I think it’s kind of part of the game,” Tomlinson said during an interview with XX 1090 Sports Radio in San Diego. “I mean to be honest with you I don’t think you can discipline them guys too much.
“I don’t think it’s cheating at all. Absolutely not. Because like I said it is a form of motivation. If I’ve got a group of guys and they are going against the top offense in the league – if I want to challenge my guys – I say, ‘Guys if we pick off this guy twice I’m giving somebody such and such. Whoever does it. Hey! That is not cheating!’ That is just motivating your players to play a little bit harder and play a little bit better.”
On Sunday LaDainian Tomlinson pinned the Jets’ locker room problems on a rift between Mark Sanchez and the wide receivers. He took his statements even further during an interview on Inside the NFL.
“And I’ve been around some locker rooms and quarterback-receiver situations and what-not,” Tomlinson said. “But it was as bad as I’ve been around. You know it was at the point where I think the players could no longer do anything about it. There was nothing that the players could do. So when it gets to that point there are certain changes that need to happen.”
Tomlinson says the Santonio Holmes-Mark Sanchez feud was really bad.
“It got out-of-hand toward the end of the season,” he said. “That is why it got out in the media. This is something that happened (in the) third or fourth week of the season, that was going on, and nobody knew about it because the players kept it under wraps. Until we went on that losing streak and guys started to speak up and speak out about certain things.”
Wondering where some of the complaints in the New York Daily News article ripping Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez came from? Running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who has spent the past two seasons with the team, says look at the wide receivers.
“I think some things that happened in the locker room between obviously him and the receivers, I think that’s where this is coming from,” LT said as a guest on ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown. “Some of the disconnect that happened throughout the year. Maybe, some of the arguments that you guys heard about throughout the year. So, I think that’s where this may be coming from.”
I have no doubt that Tomlinson is on the money with his guess. In October, receivers Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes reportedly were questioning the team’s offense. Holmes had an unproductive season by his standards and was underutilized. He ended up benched in the season finale in Miami.
We can’t say for certain who the anonymous sources are, but there is little doubt there were issues between Mark Sanchez and his receivers. I don’t excuse people if they were bad influences in the locker room, but I certainly would understand their complaints about being underutilized.
When LaDainian Tomlinson got a Jets tattoo on his calf over the off-season we mocked him for his precocious attitude. At 31 years old, Tomlinson had battled through injuries the previous two years with the Chargers and wasn’t his old, explosive self. The New York Post said during training camp that Tomlinson was done, confirming our belief. Then the preseason games began and Tomlinson made a few nice plays.
Fast forward to Monday Night Football where Tomlinson led the Jets with 78 total yards on 13 touches. Tomlinson showed the ability to break a tackle that we hadn’t seen for a few years. He was nifty, shifty, and speedy. He wasn’t the Tomlinson of old, but LaDainian looked like a capable back.
Perhaps even more shocking than Tomlinson’s strong performance was Shonn Greene’s poor game. The second-year player from Iowa had just 27 yards on six touches and two fumbles (including one costly loss). Greene came on strong last year, going for over 100 yards in back-to-back playoff games. He averaged 5.6 ypc and scored two touchdowns in the Jets’ three post-season contests. Greene appeared poised to take over the starting gig and dominate as the team’s featured back this year, but his fumbling combined with Tomlinson’s strong performance have things looking less certain.
Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was adamant this week that anyone who fumbles will be temporarily removed from a game. The leash will obviously be short with Greene, and I believe he’ll still be the man in New York this year, but for the time being we’re looking at a twilight zone situation. At 31 and years removed from his best football, LaDainian Tomlinson has worked his way back into potentially a featured role. I never would have guessed this would happen.
Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
It’s only June and we’ve already noted that LaDainian Tomlinson hasn’t impressed in a Jets uniform after signing there this offseason. Due to a combination of age and carries, LT’s body has already been breaking down and he’s just not the same. That’s why it probably wasn’t such a good idea to fully commit himself to his new team by getting permanent ink on his body. We mentioned how LT got a new Jets tattoo earlier this month and luckily for us, a Sal Paolantonio report on ESPN showed us those tats. Here are pictures of LT’s Jets tattoo and his old Chargers tattoo:
LT probably figures he has a few more years left in his career and doesn’t see what we do. It’s a shame, because if I had to make a guess, LT’s right calf will read 2010-2011 on it and that just won’t look very good.
Photo Credits: ESPN
Welcome to New York, LaDainian Tomlinson. I told you you should have waited a little longer before getting a New York Jets tattoo. You may end up not enjoying your stay. The New York Post is already on LT’s case, and the Jets have yet to even practice in pads. Here’s what NY Post writer Bart Hubbuch wrote about the running back in his article, courtesy of Pro Football Talk:
Even without pads or contact, 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. Tomlinson appears bulkier and definitely a step (or three) slower than he did in his prime, which is to be expected from a running back who next week turns 31 — increasingly the point of no return in the NFL — with his incredible amount of mileage.
And here’s what Hubbuch claims an accomplished G.M. had to say about Tomlinson:
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 bottom line here is that if LT can’t come in and give the Jets quality touches immediately and prove he can have a significant impact on their running game, the media will eat him alive. He’s the perfect specimen of someone the New York media would love to tear apart; a high-profile, aging superstar who has shown in the past that he’s easily rattled and has a bit of a temper. For the Jets’ sake, I hope he doesn’t let this type of coverage phase him too soon. If he does, their marriage will go south very quickly.
Face facts, Jets, LaDainian is pretty much LaDone [NY Post]
New York Post welcomes LaDainian Tomlinson to town [Pro Football Talk]
UPDATE: Here’s a picture of LT’s Jets tattoo
Mike Tannenbaum can breathe a little easier now. I’m sure the contract status of some of his key players — such as Darrelle Revis and Nick Mangold — has the New York Jets GM feeling a bit uneasy. Have no fear, Mike. Your newly-acquired, aging superstar of a running back is fully committed to the team. In fact, LaDainian Tomlinson is such a proud member of his new organization that he decided to get some new ink to prove it. When he got to New York, LT got a New York Jets tattoo on his calf to go along with the lightning bolt he already has which represents his time spent in San Diego.
We already know athletes like to spend their down time getting new ink, as Shaq showed us when he came back from injury with the Cavs. Like Shane Mosley’s tattoo, I guess you can at least say Shaq’s are unique. I just don’t see why LT already did this. Rex Ryan seems to appreciate it as evidenced by his saying, “I think that shows the type of commitment he has.” But the reality of the matter is Tomlinson could very well be running on empty. He certainly looked like he was last season.
If he indeed has lost the explosiveness he once had — which I strongly believe is the case — he could end up having about as much of an impact on the Jets as Santonio Holmes will during the first four games of the season. If that ends up being the case and the Jets start losing games, we all know LT will be pouting on the sidelines and his new tattoo will be nothing more than a brand mark he shares with thousands of fat, drunken Jets fans.
Jets leave permanent mark on Tomlinson [Pro Football Talk]
I was recently alerted to the new Nike ad campaign called “Train Like It” that features LaDainian Tomlinson rolling Knightrider-style to do outrageous training stunts with MMAer Kimbo Slice. This has to be a Nike campaign because there’s no way a player actually drinks leather, punches animal carcasses, and pulls Cadillac SUVs as part of their real training regimen. Seriously, who actually trains by punching refrigerators?
Even with the gloves on, I’m still not sure Norv Turner would approve. Make sure you check out all the other videos as well — they’re equally crazy. And given the recent news about his shredded knee, I’m surprised to hear it wasn’t Shawne Merriman training with Kimbo this off-season instead of LT. Just for the record, I am predicting a major knee injury for LT this year — it’s incredible he’s gone this long avoiding one.
Wednesday it was announced that LaDainian Tomlinson was pulling out of the Pro Bowl because of his knee injury. Later in an interview with ESPNews Tomlinson said the severity of his knee injury should have been explained more to the public so that he wouldn’t have been criticized by analysts the way he was. Turns out Tomlinson has a sprained MCL — not that we’re doctors here. The point, as I discussed with my pops the other day, is that Norv Turner actually is one deceptive mofo. Follow me for a second.
For two weeks in a row, All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates was listed as doubtful with a toe injury. Both against the Colts and Patriots, Gates was doubtful after hurting his toe against the Titans. Doubtful means just that — doubtful to play, like 25% chance. Most guys who are listed as doubtful during the regular season don’t wind up playing. About half of questionable guys play, and most guys who are probable play — just as the words would indicate. Moreover, Philip Rivers was doubtful as well for the Patriots game with a partially torn ACL. Both Gates and Rivers played. Now LaDainian Tomlinson, despite his knee injury, wasn’t even on the official injury report for the Patriots game. He lasted what, three plays? So get this — Gates and Rivers are doubtful, but they play the entire game. Tomlinson isn’t even listed as being injured, yet he gets replaced in the 1st quarter. What does that tell you?
If you put this all together, you come to realize that Norv Turner totally played the fans, the media, and pretty much everyone else except the Patriots. He absolutely manipulated the injury report. He got everyone to believe that Rivers and Gates were the problems and that Tomlinson was OK. He made everyone think the running game would be the focus and that the passing game wouldn’t be working. Au contraire, mon frere. It was actually just the opposite. Instead, Rivers came out looking like a hero, and Tomlinson an absolute dud. Norv Turner is indeed a master manipulator. And yes, he’s a heck of a lot smarter than we all thought.
Injury reports courtesy of Rotoworld:
LT’s recent injury report
Philip Rivers’ recent injury report
Antonio Gates’ recent injury report
After Darren Sproles took the swing pass from Rivers for a touchdown, and Turner ran for 70 yards as an injury sub, the issue became prevalent. My Dad inferred that maybe it wasn’t all LT — maybe it’s the Chargers’ line. I’m not so sure about that since Tomlinson has been doing it for like 7 years with different lines in front of him and no passing game to work with, but there’s something to be said about the way the Chargers played without Tomlinson against Indy. Brian Baldinger made a bold statement on the radio this week saying the Chargers were better off and helped by Tomlinson getting hurt. On the surface that sort of comment is ludicrous; how could last year’s MVP leaving a game improve the team? Then you start to realize that maybe the defense dropped a few men out of the box to defend the pass and that Sproles made a play LT wouldn’t have, allowing San Diego to win the game.
Sure the Chargers are probably better off with LT in the lineup, but just remember that when he’s not out there, it’s not like the team is only lining up 10 players — the Chargers have many other players who can capably fill the holes. That’s probably why we’ve seen the Giants be successful without Jeremy Shockey; Eli’s been looking at Amani Toomer as his secondary target and Toomer’s made plays. Yes, San Diego will be hard-pressed to win if Rivers, Gates, and LT are banged up, but they won’t be out of it. Just remember that the Chargers probably wouldn’t have won last weekend if their MVP hadn’t been hurt. And as weird as it initially sounds, it actually makes sense.