Does Ryan Mathews Have The Mentality To Be A Top-5 Back?

June 19, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (right) watches as running back Michael Hayes (34) participates in a ball protection drill at Charger Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Greg Cosell did an interview with Evan Silva on RotoWorld and they evaluated Chargers RB Ryan Mathews. Cosell thinks Ryan has the skill set to be a Top-5 back in the league, but he is unsure if he has the mentality to do so.

“A lot of guys have great skill, but when you’re asked to carry the ball over and over and over again against defenses that hit you,” he said. “… I mean, LaDainian Tomlinson just talked about this in an interview — about getting hit hard on every play. There’s a mindset that goes along with that. And I think we’ll have to see. This will be the year we see if Ryan Mathews truly has that mentality.” – Greg Cosell (Rotoworld)

Does Ryan have the mental toughness to be the back that we need him to be? Teams are going to put big hits on him and he will have to keep grinding through. He will have to fight through injuries and get past some frustrations and still find ways to make plays.

Topics: Ryan Mathews

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  • BatmanPorchia

    @chargersbuzztap yes he does

  • LeonardoVelazquez

    I’ve always felt like Ryan Mathews is very insecure, he lacks confidence and you can see that on the field.  After one mistake in a game he panics and they do not get anything out of him the rest of the game because he gets ultra conservative (though it doesn’t help that normally they would just take him out of the game and put Tolbert in).  I remember him getting nose bleeds in preseason games, I think it had to do more with nervousness than anything.  
    More than his mentality though, is his injuries are what could keep him from being that top 5 RB (and Norv not giving him the ball enough/in the right situations).  
    I think he’s an Adrian Peterson/Darren McFadden type player, they’ve all got a perfect combination of size (over 6 feet/ very muscular/heavyweight) and speed and athleticism.  Hopefully he’s not bit by the injury bug. 

    • BReisinger86

       @LeonardoVelazquez I agree, you can see how insecure he is in his interviews….. Has trouble looking into the camera, Etc., Idk how much that translates onto the field but you can tell that he has not quite come into his own yet 

  • BReisinger86

    I’ll be honest, I’m not convinced he does yet… We’ll see how it goes this season, but hes yet to prove that, and he is only a couple years removed of obsessing over world of warcraft in front of a computer. I’m sure he’ll get to that point eventually and i think he has grown tremendously this off season.. But i don’t think he is quite there yet

  • RMainwaring

    I don’t care what anyone thinks. All players have to go through a learning curve. Mathews does have the mentality and at the end of the season he will have proven it. Yeah, he has dropped the rock a few times, but remember Tiki Barber had fumble problems too. He eventually learned how to hold onto the ball and became a prolific back. Mathews isn’t stupid. He knows what he has to do.

  • boltsfan1972

    Ryan will be fine!!!! If he gets in a slump or an ego problem he has Brown and McClain two seasoned vets to Keep him even keel !!!!

    • BoJackRusso

       @boltsfan1972 Exactly. He’ll be fine. He has talent and he’s just hitting his groove. He hasn’t even started to show what he can do. If any confidence issues do arrive, he has plenty of guys around him to remind him of what he’s capable of and pull him right back up.

  • charger17/tkc

     @BReisinger86 @LeonardoVelazquez  I belive ryan is not insecure at all…. He’s just not a celebrity football player! I belive he has complete confindence in himself listen to this interview http://www.chargers.com/media-vault/videos/Ryan-Mathews/b91db697-50ea-4a4f-9a84-4a2dee4b1f5a

  • RussellGrant

    Not that I make a habit of defending Fresno Bulldogs but Matthews has the mentality to hit those defenses back.  He can be a beast and if the line and McLain are blasting holes open, you’ll see him bust more than a few DBs in the mouth. 

  • MikeTuck

    I think Mathews has a blue collar mentallity in that he’s not worried about being that elite RB. Instead improving himself and playing each play to it’s best and letting the play speak for him when it’s time to. In the mean time I think mathews really wants this team to be a team and get to the Superbowl. Ryan doesn’t seem to have the EGO that goes with the care about what he’s voted before. Mathews is a Bulldog at heart and in play. This year he’ll showup and play better than the last reguardless of fumble statements or injury comments. He’s the type warrior we need running behind McClain. Defenses are going to get sick of getting banged up by these two.

  • street

    his mental toughness is still in question. if he is healthy he is top 5..

  • @kencaminiti21

    Off the top of my head:
    - Adrian Peterson
    - LeSean McCoy
    - Darren McFadden
    - Chris Johnson
    - Adrian Foster
    - Frank Gore
     
    Is Ryan Matthews better than any of those guys?  He also gets a break because so many teams are using RB by committee now.  I think Matthews is going to have a good season but Top5 may be a little ambitious. 

  • Bleu

    I dont think that being a top five back should be his goal because he has the skillset to be much more than just a ball carrier. also there is no team which possesses a top five back that has a qb like Phillip Rivers so you really cant expect that type of production from RM24. When it comes to versatility that is his strength because his hands are so good. Health is the key for him as well as holding onto the ball. the thing is this, we have, yet to see RM24 with a true fullback clearing the way for him. Hester is a solid player but he isnt that blue-collar bruiser you need at the fb position, but now that we have mcclain alot of the critics will be blew away by him this season. RM24 will be top ten carrying the ball but he will be top 5 recieving out that backfield thats my opinion. when you are not a one dimensional player you are more effective.

  • MikeTuck

     @KenCaminiti21; Mathews numbers makes him a great back already. I’ve went over comparing his to Marcus Allen and Tomlinson. He’s ahead of both going into his 3rd year and if he gets the featured back mode ( especially having Mcclain ) he’ll prove that the Chargers have their featured back for many years to come. Seriously, look at Games played, total yrds, carrys, Avg, Fumbles, And Recieving and it will surprise you at the comparisome. I’ve always felt when they drafted him he’d be a Marcus Allen type of all purpose back and he stands a great chance of beating his numbers.

    • street

       @MikeTuck by the way there mike l.t. had 1200 yards and 59 catches his first year and 1600 yards and 79 catches his 2nd year…oh and a combined 24 t.d.’s  that and he didnt miss a game… what are you smoking??? because its better than mine.

  • MikeTuck

     @street Mathews mental toughness and physical toughness are better than Tomlinsons were. If you read the pieces on Mathews you’d question everything about him, insted do some research on comparing his production to other backs. I did to Tomlinson and Marcus Allen ( who mathews reminds me of, and thank god we have him and Oakland doesn’t) Mathews comes out on top and he hasn’t even had a chance to be a featured back. Turner if he puts his trust in mathews this year will have his Emitt Smith he’s been looking for. Mathews is something I’d wager on and I hate gambling.

    • street

       @MikeTuck interesting that you call me out there mike…. you are a strange dude. luckily for me the 12 years of playing the game and 35+ years studying and watching the game give me just enough confidence to not let your wacky get me riled up. i purposefuly dont compare ryan to our last feature back….its not really relevant or fair…get out and get some exercise buddy.  go bolts!

  • arnie

    Ryan Mathews has all the tools, and the talent to be the best RB….. no, to be the Fing MAN in Charger town! Why i say that, because i still comparing him the another great Charger RB. LT. You see when Lt came on board, the Chargers knew they were going to run the ball. a lot. so they built the team to do just that. LT got a lot of work in and quickly established himself as a elite RB.Mathews, was drafted in  the wake of “abruptly” losing LT. with high expectations placed on him, mostly by us fans and still playing in the shadow of #21, Mathews has shows flashes of potential greatness.  inspite of being on a now “pass protect offense”, and a HC that can’t seem to be more creative with running the ball anywhere else, except up the middle, Ryan has shown he can make plays when he should’ve been stopped in the back field.Now about being in the shadow of LT. it’s unfair but let’s be reasonable, if you want me to stop whining about LT, make me forget. Or at least give something else to look forward to cheering for on sunday. i’m going to keep reminiscing about the past, until the future looks better..

    • boltsfan1972

      @arnie Too many fans worry about past players do I have respect for past greats such as Seau,Fouts and LT sure but its the past live in the now I bet you still worry about what your ex girlfriends are doing respect the past but live for the future!!
      I’m as frustrated as anyone I want my team to win and win now but Means,Jackson or Harrison can’t win us a championship only the current roster can so worry about them #BoltUp

      • arnie

         @boltsfan1972  @arniei never said i was worried about past players. But is the current Roster getting the Chargers any closer to winning a championship? it would be nice to push the accomplishments of great players aside, because they’re not here. but that’s not being realistic. Why? to be specific, LT literally was the face of the franchise, and ran this organization back to being a winning team. however Lt came, not be with the Chargers is not my point, nor is living in the past.  The point of the topic is is Mathews a a top five Back? in my opinion he has all the tools. But regardless of his abilities and talent, he is living in the shadow of great RB. Is it fair? No. but that is the reality. whether or not Mathews can elevate himself to a level that LT did, we.. that’s for the future, and as always the future is uncertain. So, until the future becomes the present, we must live in the “here and Now”. and right “now” Mathews has got a lot of work ahead of him.
        I want Mathews to be successful. i need him to dominate at his position. because every year i’m always rooting for the current roster to win it all. Now as for relationships, i’ve been married for 15 years, so any Ex girlfriends are long gone from concerning myself with. i got here by living in the “here, and now” one day at a time. because living in the future is wishful thinking.
         

        • boltsfan1972

          @arnie Ryan Mathews is Ryan not LT and he also doesn’t have a Jets tatt on his leg I am not Ready to Crown Mathews Major of SD but he will have a productive career I think McClain is a Better blocker than Jacob and if O-line picks up where it left off I think Phillip and Ryan will have a ProBowl season

        • arnie

           @boltsfan1972  @arnie where did i say Mathews was LT? and what does having a jet tatt have anything to do with Mathews performance on the field? Again i believe Mathews has all the tools to be a top 5 RB. The organization has not made it easy for Ryan to have the numbers of a top five back.  i was trying to make a comparison that it’s unfair, to Ryan, to try and compare him to LT’s career, so early in Ryan career.  Ryan is in a pass first offense, LT was in a run first. so the results are different.  beside LT  wasn’t so hot his first years either.
           
          As for better blockers, as i stated before, by making a comparison to this organizations commitment to the run, “when LT was playing” was very clear. The coach was run first HC. the GM drafted and acquired players to support the HC commitment to the run. The current Gm and HC have moved to pass first Offense, and have only Now addressed the the poor performing run game, after dismantling it.
           
          Ryan, has been unfairly compared to the Chargers Run, of the past, because the philosophy is on pass protect now. Jacob Hester is not the blocker Lorenzo Neal was.  and addition of McClain to give Ryan the success he should have already. Ryan should be leading the league or least a Top 5 RB, if the focus was on running the ball first.
           
          But  why would you want this O-line to pick up where it left off? it was “first” in giving up sacks.. 
           
          All in all i expect Ryan and PR to have Pro bowl year as well. i never stated anything but support for this team.

        • boltsfan1972

          @arnie The O-line played better the last 4or 5 games so I was saying they need to up from there . Its hard to believe Ryan doesn’t have run over 40 yards yet. This is his year I hope.

        • street

           @arnie  @boltsfan1972 its just a totally different league now.. l.t. was one of the last of the feature backs.. personally i truly dont think ryan has the durability to have been a 300 carry guy. luckily that comparison is irrelevent because We Gonna Sling IT!!!
          and ryan is going to be awesome in his role…tape those Fu%kin ankles…..

      • street

        word word and word…

    • boltsfan1972

      @arnie Now Sir my difference in opinion is just that. I mean no disrespect towards you . Even though our views may vary our goal is the same . A SuperBowl Victory for the Chargers

      • arnie

         @boltsfan1972  @arnie no disrespect taken. we’re both here because we love our Bolts. i just don’t understand what difference of opinion we have?
        i believe Ryan has all the tools to be a top 5 RB, IMHO. even if his numbers don’t show it.  I believe Ryan is “unfairly” criticized because..
        1) he’s following in the footsteps of a Hall Of Fame RB. like it or not, future success is often judged on “past achievements”.
        2) the offense is pass first and pass protect, instead of run first and focus on run blocking.
        3) The organization hasn’t put the right people on the field to open the holes. (LT used to have) until this offseason.
        4) it’s only his third year in the league.
        5) Norv is his HC.
        this is my opinion…

  • MikeTuck

     @street I compared numbers. I think Mathews runs and plays like marcus did. pretty smart player. But you’ve humbled me by your wisedom. LT was God and Mathews and his Yards per carry mean rellatively nothing when compared to two fine backs. I don’t know what I was smoking, maybe the same sound bites you buy into everytime a article comes out questioning Mathews. If he blows it this year and drops off considerably I’ll neel to your self rightious bullcrap. But for now I’ll stick with my evaluation of the 2 RBs. No great line last year, he came in out of shape so he didn’t play 2 games. The rest of the team tore it up. And our Oline was pummeling the opositions Dline, in all those loses. mathews was only getting 4.9 yards a carry. Backs like mathews get better the more they carry but he was limited to 16 carrys. He also didn’t have Neil blocking.  But yeah I can see where that is confusing to a veteran of the game. He a disaster at ball handling though, 5 drops a year. Not that players through the history of the NFL have had problems fumbling upon entering the league. Mathews 3rd year, lets see peterson had 7 fumbles his third year and 9 the next. I’d say his mental toughness for coming in and failing his phyisical. then putting up the numbers he did without much negative play might be a sign. And anyone that can rurvive a life in Bakersfield has to be mentally tough. Nothing like being the gateway to Barstow. I’m sorry did I question your wisdom!!

    • street

       @MikeTuck self righteous…..thats the pot calling the kettel black.. but yes your comments usually are confusiong to me….GOOD DAY SIR!

  • MikeTuck

    @ street; yes LT did. Numbers don’t show anything comparitive unless you use averages. He ran for 4.5 and Ryan 4.9. Lt was a featured back with lorenzo Neal blocking behind a really good line. mathews has gotten less carrys than LT and this year he gets McClain. Ryan only got 50 catches in two less games in which Turner didn’t design plays like Marty did. And true Mathews only averaged 9 yrds to Tomlinsons 6.2. again without a all pro FB blocking for him. You don’t need to get air because you’ve let it all out. I’m waiting to see how mathews stumbles out this year with that emature attitude that has him celebrating with his fellow players. grow up Mathews it should be about you. Tomlinson also fumbled 3 times his secound year Mathews had 8. He’s doomed to be one of those guys who can’t hold on to the ball.
       College Sports to professional sports, a transition in which players learn the speed and strenghth of the pros is quite a upgrade so the first few years they learn to develope themselves. Digital reporting has put these players under more and more of a microscope. Take that microscope and check out some of the greats first two seasons and their success. Then make a judgement. This is  just for opinion and I just crawled out from under a old dirty rock without much football experience. So when you crawl under your shiney nice rock with all your facts feel good your arguing with morons.

  • MikeTuck

     @boltsfan1972 ; Great point. Up to now Ryan hasn’t had his Lorenzo Neal, If McClain can provide that kind of blocking Mathews stands to redeem himself  ( not that I think he has to 4.9 a carry is nothing to scoff at) and with a lead block to get him past the line who knows. I love LT for who he was and what he gave us. but I think Mathews strengh and drive will put him in a class we haven’t seen in a SD uni. 

  • MikeTuck

     @boltsfan1972 Nothing personnal but why 1972? I was a squid in SD in 72 watching the Dallas/Miami game in bootcamp. Being a Allworth groupie I became a Chargers fan that year and Coryell locked me in for life.

  • MikeTuck

    @ Arnie and Boltsfan; Mathews came in out of shape, sophmore jinx, not a great line and not a great fullback as much as I liked Hester. This year, hopefully better line play ( God comes down and touches Clarys feet making him a tapdancer)  and the McClain upgrade gets Mathews in the secoundary. Czonka and Kick, you could count on at least 5 yards at a wack. A first in ten is 10 yards. A good mix of runs and passes keeps the defense honest to keep this kind of running game going. Our defense gets longer breaks to adjust and talk about the other teams offense. Mathews will hit some big ones but that isn’t what we need. Fouts and company scored to quick and the D never rested. If Mathews and Rivers can get 5-7 minute drives, our D will be fresh to attack hopefully causing more turnovers. That’s when you want a few plays to break a big one and demoralize them.D didn’t over do it and we gain ground. If we get stuck deep in our side of the field, grind again using a different mix of plays trying to get first downs over breaking one. The offense can still have fun and the D will never get tired.
       Turner did this in first halfs and then with a 14-21 pt lead he’d sit on it not taking chances. Chances are better in a make ten yard scheem. Use the clock, but last year the clock used them because of Turners finding the perfect play, Rivers would get the play call with 5 secs and have to call time out or penaltys were a plenty. BISACCIA; key to success, if he manages the clock and keeps the guys fired up with time to kill before the ball has to be centered. This is how Rivers Mathews and all the offense can find a rythem that the D can’t find.

  • MikeTuck

    @ Arnie& boltsfan1972. It’s all about opinion. Sunday couch QB. But I saw mathews  Last yearin pressure situations. Mathews loved LT and he’s going to want to emulate him, but Mathews has alot more leg power than LT and still has good vision. Mathews mark this idiot football groupies word. He’s going to have a fun-fun season. I would guess 2200 combined yards at least.
     
    Last year, out of shape 4.9 a carry and 9 yrds a catch. Less fumbles than LT’s first two years. Mathews 10 to LT’s11. LT 4.5carry and 6.2 rec.
      Mathews in college reminded me of Marcus Allen and I’ve been called everything you can call someone for it. Yet after all the fumbling squak about Mathews Allens career wasn’t all that better. and I think Mathews will have a Marcus Allen kind of career.

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