Don't expect to see Michael Bennett lining up behind Philip Rivers anytime soon. LaDainian Tomlinson is finally 100 percent healthy and calling for more carries as the season progresses. Tomlinson is on pace to log the fewest carries of his career, so he has plenty of ground to make up over the final seven games. Darren Sproles will keep his No. 2 job and has made the most of Tomlinson's table scraps.
So far this season, GM A.J. Smith's late veteran pickups have provided more insurance than impact. Since Sept. 1, the Chargers have added TE Kris Wilson, OG Kynan Forney and DL Ian Scott. Those three players have a combined 19 years experience yet have an aggregate of zero starts and only one game played this season. The lesson: Just because the Chargers ink a veteran, doesn't mean they are going to use him.
What about the rookie?
RB Jacob Hester
Scout.com draft analyst Chris Steuber firmly believes Hester has a future in San Diego. And Hester might catch a break next season if Sproles leaves as an unrestricted free agent. However, Bennett is under contract through 2010 and practice-squad RB Eldra Buckley has shown great potential. All in all, Hester faces an uphill climb into the rotation.
What does Bennett bring that Hester doesn't?
Bennett is a homerun hitter who can separate from defenders once he's in the open field. The problem will be busting him free, especially for an offensive line that can't even consistently open holes for the two-time reigning rushing champion. As Tim Yotter of VikingUpdate.com pointed out in this scouting report, Bennett's reputation as a speed back is a bit misleading. Nonetheless, his career averages of 4.4 yards per rush and 8.1 yards per reception show his big-play ability.
Hester suffers from the same problem as sophomore DB Paul Oliver -- the lack of a true position. Many NFL scouts have identified Hester as one of those players who is good at a lot of things but not great at anything. On a team oozing with great players, those jack-of-all-trades types often have a hard time carving out a role.
What's your take?
What are your thoughts on the addition of Michael Bennett? Can he make an impact this season? Will he take over as the No. 2 back in 2009? Click here and let us know your opinion in the message boards.
Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.