Do you take more pride in juking a defender or simply running over him?
Tomlinson: “Probably juking. For me it’s just a little more gratifying than running over a guy. ”
How have teams tried to slow you down?
Tomlinson: “A lot of teams have done a lot of run blitzes. They’ll play situations on first down, with the personnel we have in the game, and they’ll think we’ll be running the ball. They’ll [call] run blitzes to try to stop our running game or slow our running game down. ”
Are you surprised more teams don’t use fullbacks in their offense?
Tomlinson: “Yeah, I am surprised, because fullbacks are vital for our offense. They allow you, a lot of times, to get the extra blocker, whether it be a linebacker, or even a safety. Otherwise, you probably couldn’t be able to block a guy like that. ”
How has it been playing with Lorenzo Neal, and how has he been so successful for so long?
Tomlinson: “It’s been terrific for me because I’ve learned a lot from him. As long as he’s been in the league, I’ve learned how to maintain in this league and continue to work and be good at it. It’s a joy to be around him because of the kind of person he is. He’s a great guy, always keeps you laughing. But he’s very serious when it comes time to play football. Other than that, he’s just a great guy to be around. ”
What is your relationship with Titans QB Vince Young?
Tomlinson: “Vince is a great young guy. Obviously, being from Texas, we’ve run into each other quite a bit. He’s a young brother, that’s what he is. Every time I see him and watch him throughout the year, I get excited for him. He’s a young guy, but he’s performing. He’s doing a great job of leading this team. He’s stepping up as a leader, and that’s what it takes. I look forward to continuing to watch him grow and develop. Like I said, he’s a little brother. Any time you see a little brother do well, you’re happy for him. ”
How much has Antonio Gates opened things up for you on offense?
Tomlinson: “For my success, he’s been a big part of it because of the fact that he’s able to stretch the field, have safeties focus on him and even linebackers focus on him. Sometimes they double-team him and try to take him out of the game. That helps me a lot. Also, just him as a blocker, he’s come a long way in blocking. He’s really becoming an all-around tight end. He’s helped me a bunch. ”
Are the Chargers peaking at just the right time after starting out the season 1-3?
Tomlinson: “I think that’s the idea. We know, for the most part of the season, we haven’t really hit our stride and played our best football. We feel like hopefully we can play our best football down the stretch. We have won two straight, and we’re gaining confidence. Hopefully we can continue to do so. ”
What are the lessons learned last year after going 14-2 and losing in the playoffs?
Tomlinson: “Really and truly, the regular season doesn’t mean anything. Obviously it does, trying to get to the playoffs, but once you solidify a playoff spot, then the regular season is over. It’s one-and-done, and you’ve really got to be prepared to play week in and week out. If you don’t then you go home. The experience factor is huge. You can’t underestimate the experience factor of a playoff game. People who have been in the playoffs, say New England versus us last year, their experience was just overwhelming for us. That’s why they made the plays towards the end of the game to win it. ”
How do you feel about your name being mentioned with Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton’s?
Tomlinson: “It really hasn’t set in, because in my mind, I’m still not on his level. In my opinion, he’s the greatest running back and greatest football player to ever play. I’ve idolized him since I was a kid. It hasn’t really sunk in yet, what people say. I’m just enjoying the ride. ”
How does it affect a team to travel two or more time zones away for a road game?
Tomlinson: “Last week, it kind of helped us. We went out (to Kansas City) on Friday last week. We usually go out on Saturday. Last week it gave us an extra day just to kind of get used to the time zone. I think coming out Friday will help us get used to it and being ready to play when kickoff kicks off. ”
How does the Titans defense look this year compared to last year’s Titans team, which the Chargers defeated 40-7?
Tomlinson: “They’re playing with a whole lot more confidence, I think. They know exactly what they’re trying to do and accomplish on defense. Last year it was early in the season, so they were still finding themselves. This year is later, and those guys obviously know what they do best. They do it to perfection. They’ve got some great players over there – Albert Haynesworth and Keith Bulluck leading those guys. They’re doing a good job at executing their gameplan. ”
How much better is the Titans run defense when Albert Haynesworth is on the field?
Tomlinson: “He obviously makes a difference, I don’t think there’s any question. He’s one of the best defensive tackles in the game. He’s one of the most dominant. Obviously, when he’s in there, you really have to pay attention and you have to try to double-team him. One guy can’t block him. So that helps. If one guy can’t block him, then you have to take up two blockers. That means someone else is going to be free to get to the football.”