One Must Add 700 Pounds To Stop Tomlinson

It wasn't easy for Broncos fans to watch something they hadn't ever seen before last season; LaDainian Tomlinson running wild up in Denver.

It was a shock to the system, and helped further illustrate that their defensive line experiment failed badly. I guess the experiment wasn't a total failure. We did, at least, learn that if you need defensive linemen, you'd better not go shopping at the dawg pound. But Martha Stewart probably could have told us that.

Denver took Jarvis Moss with their first round pick and Marcus Thomas with their fourth. These two players were teammates at the National Championship winning Florida University. They helped form arguably the most talented D-line in college football. And if you need some d-line help, it's probably a good idea to grab some guys from the best in football, rather than the worst.

With their second round pick, the Broncos snatched up defensive end Tim Crowder from Texas. But even after addressing the need at defensive line in the draft with three of their first four picks, Shannan didn't stop there.

Nope, they needed more beef to stop the Chargers offensive line from running them over. Rick Jussel has a fun little read over at The Daily Sentinel in Colorado:

Prior to last season, Tomlinson had been held in check by Denver, especially in Denver, where he averaged only 53 yards per game rushing.

Something happened last season, however, that changed all that.

What happened was the addition of Marcus McNeil, a rookie left tackle — make that road grader — who combined with a huge young group to pave the way for Tomlinson.

Denver once could slow Tomlinson by swarming all over him with their quick front line and quicker linebackers.

Last season, Tomlinson simply ran behind McNeil and his buddies at will, especially down near the goal line.

In two games against Denver, Tomlinson scored seven touchdowns and piled up 300 all-purpose yards in helping the Chargers score 88 points.

Here are the bare facts:

McNeil goes 6-foot-7 and weighs in at 340 pounds at left tackle.

Left guard is 6-4, 310-pound Kris Dielman.

Center is the runt of the group in 295-pound Nick Hardwick.

Mike Goff is a 6-5, 311-pound right guard and Shane Olivea is a 6-4, 312-pound right tackle.

Add to that 260-pound tight end Anthony Gates, 290-pound second tight end and blocking specialist Brandon Manumaleuna and All-Pro blocking fullback Lorenzo Neil, who goes nearly 260 pounds, and you can see Shanahan’s realization that his defense had to get bigger.

Read: Let's bulk up with the Broncos

June 12, 2007

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