As with the rest of the article, this is looking at what the present, not at what is likely in the future.
Ladainian Tomlinson’s had an off year, averaging only 3.3 yards per carry on his way to 730 yards. It was his first sub 1,000 yard season, as well as first sub 50 catch year (he had 20 receptions for 154 yards).
Some was by way of injury, some was because of a patchwork offensive line and no true blocker to ride behind. Ultimately however, he lacked the crispness of years past and posted only one game over 75 yards (a 96 yard effort against a porous Chiefs defense). Its unfortunate, but hard to argue that the miles have finally caught up to him.
Behind him, Sproles had a tough year as well (a sign not all of the ground-game downturn was running back centric). With defenses more aware of the speedster, he was stunted far more often than in years past. In the five games where he carried more than seven times, he never averaged more than 2.9 yards per carry. But as a receiving back he had a career year, putting up nearly 500 yards on 45 catches.
Hester and Tolbert split the fullback duty, with Hester technically being the starter. Neither distinguished themselves as a lead-blocker. With one 15-yard run against Kansas City taken out of the equation, Hester averaged 2.85 yards a carry on 20 attempts. He also averaged about the same yardage per catch with nine receptions.
Tolbert proved more useful with ball-in-hand on limited opportunities. He put up 5.9 yards per carry on 25 attempts, while posting 17 receptions for nearly 200 yards.
Possible Needs: A big body. At halfback they need a big pile-mover who can pick up a first down on third-and-one or two as well as grind out against a front seven when holding on to a lead. The capacity to break tackles rather than slip through gaps is better suited to the team’s current run-blocking situation.
Aside from that, a big fullback that can lead block would be a nice luxury as well.