Observation deck: Looking to keep LT fresh

As San Diego looks for ways to keep LaDainian Tomlinson fresh, expect him to catch more passes this season, writes John Clayton.

Originally Published: August 13, 2007
By John Clayton |
SAN DIEGO -- Five observations from San Diego Chargers training camp, gleaned from the team's practices:

1. Catch this
Reigning MVP LaDainian Tomlinson might get a few more receptions than he did last season, but don't expect him to match his career high of 100 receptions. Tomlinson, who rushed for 1,815 yards on 348 carries and caught 56 passes for 508 yards last season, may get more catches as head coach Norv Turner tries to keep Tomlinson fresh. Knowing it's less taxing on Tomlinson's body to get him the ball in space on a pass play in which he's going against a linebacker or a defensive back, look for Turner to take advantage of Tomlinson's receiving skills. Plus, the Chargers have the luxury of using Michael Turner on inside runs this season. He averaged 6.3 yards a carry and is a big, powerful runner up the middle. And since Michael Turner will leave in free agency after the season, Norv Turner has this last chance to take full advantage of the one-two punch. Tomlinson figures to get around 2,300 combined yards this season. Last year, he had 2,323 yards and scored 31 touchdowns. Having Turner around to take some of the load off the inside runs will keep Tomlinson fresher for later in the season. With the Chargers, it's all about getting into the playoffs healthy and with strong legs.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer