Matt Waldman’s RSP Film Room Scouts Hall of Fame runner Ladainian Tomlinson, illustrating the skills and traits that not only made Tomlinson an elite back but also showing things that all backs, coaches, and scouts can transfer to their approach.
Ladainian Tomlinson could do everything that a team in the modern era would want from a running back. Blessed with breakaway speed, lateral agility, and a low center of gravity, Tomlinson could flip the field and earn the hard yards.
When studying his performances, the things that stood out the most weren’t strictly tied to raw athletic ability:
- Tomlinson repeatedly demonstrated a great pre-snap understanding of defender alignments.
- He was an expert at scraping against his lead blocks to hide from opponents or at least reduce the time opponents had to generate a productive pursuit angle.
- Tomlinson’s footwork helped him generate balanced lateral movement that cleared him from pursuit in tight quarters better than most backs.
- His stiff arm was a versatile weapon that aimed for power but could counter with deception.
- Why Tomlinson’s decision to reach a maximum leaping highpoint as early as possible with green zone runs was an excellent strategy.
Here’s the YouTube video. If the NFL won’t allow it to be watched from here, you can go to my YouTube Channel to access it. You can also listen to it as a podcast if you prefer or lack the opportunity to watch video.
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