Chargers: Mike Tolbert Needs to Know His Role and Smash 'em in the Mouth

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Chargers: Mike Tolbert Needs to Know His Role and Smash 'em in the Mouth
SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 16: Running back Mike Tolbert #35 of the San Diego Chargers rushes with the ball against the San Francisco 49ers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 16, 2010 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Mike Tolbert made the type of play that all of us have come to expect from him on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, but that's not a good thing. Tolbert once again fumbled the ball inside the opponent's 10-yard line. Luckily Jeromey Clary dove on the ball, risking his health in the process, and saved the Chargers possession.

Insert Georges St. Pierre quote here: "I'm not impressed by your performance."

I have also noticed at least a couple of times where Tolbert tried to break a run to the outside and got swarmed by the opposing defense when he could have run it up in the middle and gained two or three yards rather than lose that many or more.

A big running back making these type of negative plays is a huge liability. How many second-and-13s can the Chargers overcome after Tolbert sees daylight on the outside, but his big body can't accelerate fast enough to make that LaDainian Tomlinson in his prime type run?

It takes a rare combination of speed and acceleration to make a play like that. That is not Tolbert's game and he really hasn't shown anything in the preseason to convince anyone that he's realized that yet.

Head coach Norv Turner has already pointed it out. What more needs to be said to convince this guy?

You'll notice on most of Tolberts big runs he's no nonesense, one cut, GO!

Tolbert has the type of body and natural hard-charging running style that could make him a San Diego sports legend, but not if he misuses his gifts by trying to match outside runs with Ryan Mathews. He can't do what Mathews does, nor does he need to. 

Speaking of legends, I was quick to point out that Tolbert should have started the 2009 playoff game against the New York Jets over LT. Now I realize how much more reliable in the red zone LT is than Tolbert, any day of the week. 

I'm still a big believer in Tolbert's ability.

Tolbert is much better than his preseason play has suggested. It's up to the coaching staff and veteran players to recognize that Tolbert is not playing within his skill set and set him straight. Tolbert appears to be looking for big plays rather than letting big plays develop. It's a classic case of overlooking the small stuff that leads to the big stuff and failing to make anything happen in the meantime.

There is no reason to believe that if leaders around the team don't step in, he'll change his running style for the regular season. In Tolbert's case, he needs to take a step back in order to charge forward like he's capable of.

Let's get one thing straight, you can't make as many huge plays as Tolbert has and not be a beast!

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