The Chargers brought back running backs coach Ollie Wilson, who filled the same position with the Chargers during LaDainian Tomlinson's rookie season in 2001. Wilson spent the last six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, where he showed a preference for deploying a two-back system.
From 2002-2005, the Falcons rolled with the one-two punch of Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett. In 2006 and 2007, Jerious Norwood assumed Duckett's spot in the platoon system.
The two-back system worked like a charm in Atlanta. In 2006, the Falcons led the league with 183.7 rushing yards per game -- better than even the Chargers could muster during Tomlinson's MVP season.
Wilson won't turn to a running-back-by-committee situation in San Diego, not with the league's best legs on the roster. However, the No. 2 running back figures to see increased action next season.
Michael Turner garnered the bulk of the carries behind Tomlinson over the last three years, but that will change in 2008. Turner is an unrestricted free agent who won't be back.
The Chargers will likely target a running back during the draft. They were shopping the aisles of the Senior Bowl for a running back who fits their power running scheme. If Wilson can coach up the new rookie like he did Tomlinson, the Chargers running game will be in great shape.
Also rejoining the Chargers is wide receivers coach Charlie Joyner, who replaces James Lofton. This is Joyner's second stint in San Diego after he spent 10 years playing with the Chargers (1976-1986). After his playing career, Joyner went on to coach for the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.
Joyner is familiar with San Diego's offense, having coached the division rival Chiefs for the past seven years. In 2007, the underrated Chiefs actually passed for 11 yards more per game than the Chargers.
Joyner has a knack for developing young talent, something that will come in handy in San Diego with second-year players Buster Davis and Legedu Naanee.
Joyner worked miracles last season with Davis' college teammate, Dwayne Bowe, who led all rookie receivers with 70 receptions and 995 yards.
Numbers aside, Norv Tuner likes Joyner. When Turner first started his coaching career, he watched hours of film on Joyner. Turner hopes Joyner can help the Chargers run the "Air Coryell" offense of today.
One point of emphasis Joyner will make with his receivers is coming back to fight for the ball. Joyner wants to ensure that if his guy doesn't catch it, no one does. The Chargers receivers left Philip Rivers out to dry too many times last season. Don't expect that trend to continue with Joyner in the fold.
Amberly Richardson is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a correspondent for Scout.com. She has contributed to the official Web sites of Shawne Merriman, Lorenzo Neal, Shaun Phillips and others for Sixthman Communications.
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