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Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain?

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Posted: 02/11/2014 2:10 PM

Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


Positional Analysis: RBs

Led by the resurgent Ryan Mathews and the versatile Danny Woodhead, San Diego's running game improved by leaps and bounds in 2013. The progress must continue in 2014 and it'll likely start by adding another weapon in free agency or (more likely) the draft. Read More...



Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead formed one of the league's most productive tandems in 2013, but the other half of San Diego's backfield will be replaced prior to next season. There are plenty of options for Tom Telesco to sort through, but the one I like the most is drafting Coastal Carolina RB Lorenzo Taliaferra and signing free agent FB Greg Jones (Houston Texans/Jacksonville Jaguars).
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Last edited 02/11/2014 2:10 PM by MikeLombardo

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Posted: 02/11/2014 2:41 PM

Re: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


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Play every down like the season's riding on it !
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Posted: 02/11/2014 2:57 PM

Re: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


I'm looking at the 4th round to replace Ronnie Brown.
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Posted: 02/11/2014 3:34 PM

RE: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


I dont mind RB as much as some here. I just wouldnt use him as a typical RB. I like his hands out of the backfield and he doesnt fumble.

But hasnt he played long enough that his min. contract is still pretty substantial?
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Posted: 02/11/2014 3:42 PM

RE: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


I love Seastrunk...West sounds like a winner too or the kid from Zona, Carey.

One of these three should be available in the third hopefully, that's what I would do.

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Posted: 02/11/2014 4:50 PM

RE: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


I'll happily be the odd man out on this one. This is no way, NO WAY, I would spend a draft pick on a RB unless the long-term plan was to let Mathews walk. And while I realize that there are probably several on this board that wouldn't mind seeing that happen, I simply cannot feature it. As many folks have pointed out countless times, the RB position has changed in both importance and draft position over the last several years. As such, I ABSOLUTELY believe that Mathews back-up can be found as an UDFA. Feel free to rip me a new one. Telesco has WAAAYYYYYYY too many other actual holes to fill in starting positions on the defensive side of the ball (NT, OLB, CB, and SS) and offensive side (OL - please, for the love of all that is holy, rid us of Clary). Just my twocents.gif.
Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is!
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Posted: 02/11/2014 4:58 PM

RE: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


I agree. 

Heck, Mathews going down wouldnt have been that big of a deal in the playoffs if the coaches were ready for it. 

redlegman wrote: I'll happily be the odd man out on this one. This is no way, NO WAY, I would spend a draft pick on a RB unless the long-term plan was to let Mathews walk. And while I realize that there are probably several on this board that wouldn't mind seeing that happen, I simply cannot feature it. As many folks have pointed out countless times, the RB position has changed in both importance and draft position over the last several years. As such, I ABSOLUTELY believe that Mathews back-up can be found as an UDFA. Feel free to rip me a new one. Telesco has WAAAYYYYYYY too many other actual holes to fill in starting positions on the defensive side of the ball (NT, OLB, CB, and SS) and offensive side (OL - please, for the love of all that is holy, rid us of Clary). Just my twocents.gif.
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Posted: 02/11/2014 5:01 PM

RE: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


I agree to a point Red. I think they should draft a RB but not until the 6th or even 7th, where I believe they can find a good versatile RB. I am against drafting one anywhere before that. There are other positions that are more important to draft. A player that I wouldn't mind them picking up in free agency would be Jonathan Dwyer. He does have the power but I'm not sure if he has the receiving skills.
redlegman wrote: I'll happily be the odd man out on this one. This is no way, NO WAY, I would spend a draft pick on a RB unless the long-term plan was to let Mathews walk. And while I realize that there are probably several on this board that wouldn't mind seeing that happen, I simply cannot feature it. As many folks have pointed out countless times, the RB position has changed in both importance and draft position over the last several years. As such, I ABSOLUTELY believe that Mathews back-up can be found as an UDFA. Feel free to rip me a new one. Telesco has WAAAYYYYYYY too many other actual holes to fill in starting positions on the defensive side of the ball (NT, OLB, CB, and SS) and offensive side (OL - please, for the love of all that is holy, rid us of Clary). Just my twocents.gif.
Without struggle, there is no progress.
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Posted: 02/11/2014 9:23 PM

RE: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


I figured when we got McClain we were doing the Tomlinson-Neal combo again. That's what I loved about Tolbert, he's a bruiser but can
also spell Mattews. So that's what type of back I hope we can get.I
think using a fullback more will really open up Mattews' game, and
of course that also sets up the change up of Woodhead.




Play every down like the season's riding on it !
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Posted: 02/11/2014 9:43 PM

Re: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


Who replaces Mac and Brown?


Where was Mac and Brown when Ryno went down?


Veteran pressence is one thing but it does nothing to help win games if they are doing the same job cheerleaders do.


Mac should have been that short range power back. Brown has no more burst. Its been time to replace these two if they aren't useful on the field.



All they really need is a price friendly developmental and early situational back. The perfect candidate would be the mix of both Mathews and Woody.
It's not about how many times you get knocked down.  It's whether or not you are willing to get back up. 
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Posted: 02/11/2014 9:59 PM

Re: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


Tolbert refused to play FB when he was here in San Diego.  He was half hearted in his efforts.  It's why they converted Hester who was brought in as a power RB into that role.  In doing so it ruined Hester as a RB.  He lost more than a step in speed and what agility he had.

Tolbert's blocking here in San Diego wasn't good by any means.

I'm not convinced they will use a two back set with a regular FB.  It was part of Whisenhunt's original offense, but his use of a FB declined quickly as the season went on.  They began to run inside zone and power successfully without a FB lead.  Whiz found out quickly that a FB limits Rivers' options in changing the play and it telegraphed run to the defense.

Mathews got his best yardage without a FB when they ran a 3 WR set forcing the defense into a nickel package.  I think they will use a double TE more than a FB in their sets. 

Right now with only Kerwynn Williams behind Mathews and Woodhead, I'd say they will draft a RB.  I doubt they have the money to pickup a quality FA so IMO they can find better talent in the mid rounds of the draft and save on the cap.

When you look at prospects focus on one cut power runners, with 4.4 type speed.  Enough speed to get outside, but with power to break tackles on inside runs.  Probably a RB in the 5'10" to 5'11" height range, at about 210 - 230 lbs range.
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Posted: 02/11/2014 10:07 PM

Re: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


+1, although I don't think Hester was much of a RB to begin with, and we couldn't really "ruin" him.  He was a wasted pick IMO, especially considering we moved up to get him.

Tolbert was a good power runner, and found the endzone quite a bit for us.

I agree that the FB position is fading in the new Rivers offense, and that 3 WR sets work best with Rivers (or 2TE sets).

Personally, although many here would think that drafting RB as high as the second round is too high, I think that we should target CARLOS HYDE in the second round if he's there.  It would give us the insurance we need with Mathews injury-prone history, and would give us leverage to negotiate Mathews' next contract.


beachbolt wrote: Tolbert refused to play FB when he was here in San Diego.  He was half hearted in his efforts.  It's why they converted Hester who was brought in as a power RB into that role.  In doing so it ruined Hester as a RB.  He lost more than a step in speed and what agility he had.

Tolbert's blocking here in San Diego wasn't good by any means.

I'm not convinced they will use a two back set with a regular FB.  It was part of Whisenhunt's original offense, but his use of a FB declined quickly as the season went on.  They began to run inside zone and power successfully without a FB lead.  Whiz found out quickly that a FB limits Rivers' options in changing the play and it telegraphed run to the defense.

Mathews got his best yardage without a FB when they ran a 3 WR set forcing the defense into a nickel package.  I think they will use a double TE more than a FB in their sets. 

Right now with only Kerwynn Williams behind Mathews and Woodhead, I'd say they will draft a RB.  I doubt they have the money to pickup a quality FA so IMO they can find better talent in the mid rounds of the draft and save on the cap.

When you look at prospects focus on one cut power runners, with 4.4 type speed.  Enough speed to get outside, but with power to break tackles on inside runs.  Probably a RB in the 5'10" to 5'11" height range, at about 210 - 230 lbs range.

Last edited 02/11/2014 10:09 PM by yantha

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Posted: 02/11/2014 10:15 PM

Re: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


The FB may just very well be window dressing in the offensive scheme for 2014. I'm curious to see what this kid Kerwynn Williams from Utah State can do. I do see a RB getting drafted this year but not until the 4th or 5th round at the earliest and that's kinda pushing it because of the needs on defense and depth for the O-line. There are some good blue collar backs available in this draft who could make some noise in this offense with Mathews and Woodhead. 
beachbolt wrote: Tolbert refused to play FB when he was here in San Diego.  He was half hearted in his efforts.  It's why they converted Hester who was brought in as a power RB into that role.  In doing so it ruined Hester as a RB.  He lost more than a step in speed and what agility he had.

Tolbert's blocking here in San Diego wasn't good by any means.

I'm not convinced they will use a two back set with a regular FB.  It was part of Whisenhunt's original offense, but his use of a FB declined quickly as the season went on.  They began to run inside zone and power successfully without a FB lead.  Whiz found out quickly that a FB limits Rivers' options in changing the play and it telegraphed run to the defense.

Mathews got his best yardage without a FB when they ran a 3 WR set forcing the defense into a nickel package.  I think they will use a double TE more than a FB in their sets. 

Right now with only Kerwynn Williams behind Mathews and Woodhead, I'd say they will draft a RB.  I doubt they have the money to pickup a quality FA so IMO they can find better talent in the mid rounds of the draft and save on the cap.

When you look at prospects focus on one cut power runners, with 4.4 type speed.  Enough speed to get outside, but with power to break tackles on inside runs.  Probably a RB in the 5'10" to 5'11" height range, at about 210 - 230 lbs range.
Wherever The Fear May Be, Look It In The Eyes
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Posted: 02/11/2014 10:37 PM

Re: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


Of course I'm a bit bias but I really like Bishop Sankey out of UW.  He fits the parameters other than his weight.  I think like most rookies once he hits his stride in an NFL strengthening regime he will gain 10 lbs easily and be in that 215 lb range.  What I like is that he is a complete RB.  Good receiver out of the backfield.  Pass blocking experience, and did it well.  He has the speed to get outside running a 4.4, but he's also a very good inside runner showing good power to break arm tackles and gain that extra yardage after contact.

Unfortunately most teams like to take RBs in the second round and the top of the 3rd.  I would be very surprised if he drops to far enough in the 3rd round for the Chargers to have a shot. 

This team needs a second RB who can shoulder the starting duties long term should Ryan go down again.  Sankey is that kind of RB.
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Posted: 02/11/2014 10:58 PM

Re: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


Sankey is legit! Over 1,800 yards rushing and 20 TD's for 2013. I agree he'll go 2nd to 3rd round and I'd be shocked if he lasted to the back end of the 3rd. Sankey and that rb Carey from Arizona were the class backs in the Pac-12.
Wherever The Fear May Be, Look It In The Eyes
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Posted: 02/12/2014 6:18 AM

Re: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


You took a simple post and turned it into that?
BTW I get what you' re saying, but jeez!
tact (tăkt) n. 1. Acute sensitivity to what is proper and appropriate in dealing with others, including the ability to speak or act without offending.

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--- beachbolt wrote:

Tolbert refused to play FB when he was here in San Diego.  He was half hearted in his efforts.  It's why they converted Hester who was brought in as a power RB into that role.  In doing so it ruined Hester as a RB.  He lost more than a step in speed and what agility he had.

Tolbert's blocking here in San Diego wasn't good by any means.

I'm not convinced they will use a two back set with a regular FB.  It was part of Whisenhunt's original offense, but his use of a FB declined quickly as the season went on.  They began to run inside zone and power successfully without a FB lead.  Whiz found out quickly that a FB limits Rivers' options in changing the play and it telegraphed run to the defense.

Mathews got his best yardage without a FB when they ran a 3 WR set forcing the defense into a nickel package.  I think they will use a double TE more than a FB in their sets. 

Right now with only Kerwynn Williams behind Mathews and Woodhead, I'd say they will draft a RB.  I doubt they have the money to pickup a quality FA so IMO they can find better talent in the mid rounds of the draft and save on the cap.

When you look at prospects focus on one cut power runners, with 4.4 type speed.  Enough speed to get outside, but with power to break tackles on inside runs.  Probably a RB in the 5'10" to 5'11" height range, at about 210 - 230 lbs range.

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Play every down like the season's riding on it !

Last edited 02/12/2014 6:22 AM by viseman61

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Posted: 02/12/2014 7:56 AM

Re: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


Who cares if Tolbert refused to play FB? The problem they have now is they don't need a FB.

I've said it time and time again that Ryan Mathews college career was successful because Fresno ran a zone style blocking scheme with no FB to clog the backfield.

Even in offset I formations Fresno would motion that player way from Mathews before snapping the ball. Its not hard to understand that empty backfield is something that plays to Mathews hand.


what does surprise me is why knowing that McClain has had success as a short range ball carrier that you wouldn't use him to you advantage when Mathews went down.


BTW ditto on Sankey. Been name dropping him as long as I've been name dropping Attouchu.
It's not about how many times you get knocked down.  It's whether or not you are willing to get back up. 

Last edited 02/12/2014 10:39 AM by Thisfrickinguy

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Posted: 02/12/2014 10:21 AM

Re: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


Actually when you look at Hester in his early years he was an outstanding STs player.  But as he bulked up to play FB he lost the speed and athleticism to a factor on STs.  Also he came in faster than Tolbert who showed time and time again he couldn't get outside, where as the trimmer version of Hester could and did.  Hester also was money on short yardage.  Didn't fumble and had the power to get the tough yardage.

People give Tolbert a pass but he wasn't a good RB here in San Diego.  He actually fumbled about as much as Mathews.  He was a Norv favorite and it bothered me when Mathews would get them to the Red Zone and Norv would bring in Tolbert.  That is what artificially inflated Tolbert's stats.

Both Mathews and the young Hester are good zone blocking RBs who also have the power and burst to run a power scheme.  Mathews is and Hester was (before becoming a FB) one cut power runners. The problem with Tolbert was lack of field vision.  It's why he spent more time dancing looking for the hole than just being decisive and seeing the hole or cutbacks.

Playing FB is a lot more complicated than most understand.  A good FB not only knows who he is schemed to block, but also how to read the defensive flow.  Once the play begins he can read the defensive reaction and understand where the hole is going to be.  He really is the lead blocker in that a good FB leads the RB to the proper hole or lane.

This has been the problem with McClain, and Hester before him.  How many times have we seen Mathews break off from his lead block and hit the hole elsewhere?  I have seen it on about 60% of the plays with McClain in as FB.  McClain doesn't read the defensive flow like a RB.  He simply tries to block the "assigned man" whether or not that guy is the guy he needs to take out.

That is the difference between Lorenzo Neal and McClain. It's the crucial difference.  If you don't have a FB that can read the defensive flow like a RB then don't use a FB.
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  • fouts05
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Posted: 02/12/2014 9:44 PM

Re: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


TFG, to me it seemed McClain really wasn't effective in short yardage when given a chance to run the ball.  Again I know he was great in Bmore and elsewhere.  IMO this is just another reason to dump this guy.  Also agree w/ Beach - in critical situations I didn't like the way he blocked.

It's funny I was pretty critical of Tolbert when he was here - thinking he didn't deserve the $$ he was asking.  But he was an amazing short yardage guy - something this team missed last year.  Hopefully we can find that guy this offseason.
Thisfrickinguy wrote: Who cares if Tolbert refused to play FB? The problem they have now is they don't need a FB.

I've said it time and time again that Ryan Mathews college career was successful because Fresno ran a zone style blocking scheme with no FB to clog the backfield.

Even in offset I formations Fresno would motion that player way from Mathews before snapping the ball. Its not hard to understand that empty backfield is something that plays to Mathews hand.


what does surprise me is why knowing that McClain has had success as a short range ball carrier that you wouldn't use him to you advantage when Mathews went down.


BTW ditto on Sankey. Been name dropping him as long as I've been name dropping Attouchu.
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Posted: 02/12/2014 9:54 PM

Re: Who Replaces Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain? 


Fouts, with my signature you can see how I stand on Tolbert. Hopefully you aren't dealt the same fate I was last night
when I brought it up lol.

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--- fouts05 wrote:

TFG, to me it seemed McClain really wasn't effective in short yardage when given a chance to run the ball.  Again I know he was great in Bmore and elsewhere.  IMO this is just another reason to dump this guy.  Also agree w/ Beach - in critical situations I didn't like the way he blocked.

It's funny I was pretty critical of Tolbert when he was here - thinking he didn't deserve the $$ he was asking.  But he was an amazing short yardage guy - something this team missed last year.  Hopefully we can find that guy this offseason.
Thisfrickinguy wrote: Who cares if Tolbert refused to play FB? The problem they have now is they don't need a FB.

I've said it time and time again that Ryan Mathews college career was successful because Fresno ran a zone style blocking scheme with no FB to clog the backfield.

Even in offset I formations Fresno would motion that player way from Mathews before snapping the ball. Its not hard to understand that empty backfield is something that plays to Mathews hand.


what does surprise me is why knowing that McClain has had success as a short range ball carrier that you wouldn't use him to you advantage when Mathews went down.


BTW ditto on Sankey. Been name dropping him as long as I've been name dropping Attouchu.


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