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New Chargers offensive coordinator Greg Roman: 'Can you imagine Justin Herbert with a great running game?'

The Los Angeles Chargers haven't boasted a top-10 rushing attack since 2007 -- Norv Turner's first season in charge of the club when LaDainian Tomlinson was dashing around the park.

New offensive coordinator Greg Roman would like to get back to those days.

"Can you imagine Justin Herbert with a great running game?" Roman said on Thursday, via ESPN. "We don't know, but I can imagine what it might look like. So that's kind of the vision."

The Chargers never finished higher than 21st in rushing yards under Brandon Staley. Last year, the ground game struggled mightily, with Austin Ekeler generating a career-low 3.5 yards per carry.

Roman believes boosting the run game will help the entire operation.

"I think in this league, you can really, really help dictate the defenses if you have a strong running attack," Roman said. "If you really talk to most defensive coordinators in this league and got 'em off to the side when they're playing a really good running team, they're sweating a little bit. They're sleeping a little less that week."

Roman has famously coordinated offenses that included a dynamic running quarterback.

In San Francisco under Jim Harbaugh, Colin Kaepernick burst onto the scene. In Baltimore, Roman unleashed Lamar Jackson's unique game-breaking ability. In Roman's two years coordinating Buffalo, Tyrod Taylor rushed for more than 560 yards in each campaign.

Herbert isn't immobile, but he's not going to be the focal point of the running attack like Kaepernick or Jackson.

"It's going to be a little different," Roman said. "I think you're going to see probably a multiple running game. You'll probably see the use of motions and shifting, and then you'll see a pretty diverse passing game.

"Right now, everybody's got a blank slate of who we can be or what we can do. Could be anything right now, our principles and whatnot of what we do offensively won't change, but how they come to life on the field will."

Roman and Harbaugh have always been at their best with a power-rushing attack, dating back to their Stanford days together. Having a threat at quarterback makes life even more challenging on defenses, but it's not a prerequisite.

The biggest question for L.A. is who will be taking the handoffs. Ekeler is set to be a free agent, as is primary backup, Joshua Kelley. That leaves Isaiah Spiller, who has 55 career carries in two seasons, as the main back on the roster. L.A. has also signed Jaret Patterson and Elijah Dotson to reserve/futures contracts.

The Chargers are currently projected to be over the salary cap. Once they dig themselves out, will running back be what the new brass wants to spend its dollars on in Year 1? L.A. could look to the draft to bring in its primary runner in 2024.

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