The Marked Man

This isn't Rowdy Roddy Piper as Frank Gibson in the 1995 movie ‘Marked Man' but in NFL circles it can be just as daunting to have the "X" so firmly placed on your head each week.

That is what LaDainian Tomlinson is confronted with each week as a member of the San Diego Chargers.

Each week the talk of his demise is plotted and opposing coaches are vocal about preventing him from running their defense ragged.

Simple it may sound but the execution is thwarted by a player who uses the cutback lanes for his Sunday stroll towards the end zone, creates mismatches in the flat and squirts through small holes with the efficiency of a mouse.

Quarterback Drew Brees joked about him being "Superman without the cape" and he certainly appears to be flying through the opposition at times.

His ability to go from 60-to-0 and back up to sixty in the blink of an eye has teams scheming to defend him if they hold any hope of beating the Chargers.

"I am always a marked man," the Pro Bowl running back admits. "You go to stadiums and teams are looking to stop you. They have signs in the stadium that say stop you."

Even when defenders are stacking the box, which is all too common, Tomlinson finds a way to sneak through.

There is sliver in ever defense.

"You have to have the patience to find a soft spot and you have to hit it full speed," added Tomlinson.

As he goes for the record this week, rest assured the Eagles are ready for him.

"He is good at everything," Philadelphia coach Andy Reid said. "He is good at running the football, receiving the football and obviously if they need him to throw the ball, he's good at that too."

The question is whether they can be the ones to stop him. Since the first two weeks of the season when defenses held him in check, the Chargers have found ways to get Tomlinson involved.

There is a reason for that.

"We have them adjust to what we are doing rather than what they are doing," Tomlinson said.

And defenses have only a small chance with that kind of attitude being exhibited.


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