December 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) runs for a first down during the second quarter against the Carolina Panther at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Fixing the Chargers Running Game Part 1: Free Agency

December 9, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) carries the ball as Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons (94) defends during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The San Diego Chargers won 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Last season the chargers finished 27th in the league in rushing………Twenty Seventh!!!!

Last season we attempted to salvage the loss of Mike Tolbert to the Carolina Panthers, by signing free agents Jackie Battle, Ronnie Brown and LeRon McClain. After witnessing the results and realizing that none of these guys could help carry the load when Ryan Mathews went down, it is clear that the running game of the chargers was sorely overlooked in 2012.

So how can this problem be corrected? I think we have taken the first step in the right direction with the hiring of new offensive line coach Joe D’ Alessandris. Phase two: which free agent RB would be the best addition to this team?

The three biggest names on the market to this point are Reggie Bush, Ahmad Bradshaw and Shonn Greene.

Let’s start with Ahmad Bradshaw. Now I know that Bradshaw’s name got chargers fans buzzing about the possibility of acquiring him this offseason, but this would be a very high risk high reward signing in my opinion. As we have all witnessed in the past few seasons, Bradshaw has been the victim of multiple injuries (Hello Ryan Mathews!!!) and currently his latest foot surgery is expected to keep him out until the end of April. Bradshaw is a battering ram of a running back when healthy and If he can stay in that condition and that’s a big IF, could be a great one/two punch combo.

Next up is Reggie Bush, it doesn’t seem as though he will be making his way back to Miami next season. At 27 years old, Bush is looking for possibly one last big pay day to cash in before his time is finished. Over the last two seasons, Bush rejuvenated his carrier in Miami by totaling over 2,600 yards from scrimmage. He has great playmaking ability in open field, excellent lateral movement, explosiveness off the first step and may be the replacement to spell the sorely missed Darren Sproles.

One other option is Shonn Greene. Despite coming off a back to back 1,000 yard campaign, the Jets are looking for a youth movement at the running back position. Green shouldn’t garner too much attention as a starter on the open market, he does not have the type of home run capability that is worth those dollars anymore. However, Green could cement himself as a short yardage back in a two back scheme.

Finally there is one more prospect that may present himself if he is released. Currently the Carolina Panthers have a salary cap nightmare at their running back position. DeAngelo Williams may be a good signing for this team. I believe he still has some rubber left on the tires and may just need a change of scenery to be re-juvenated. Also, let’s not forget…..he does have some familiarity with our new head coach Mike McCoy from his time as a coordinator in Carolina.

What are your thoughts? If the Chargers brought in a free agent running back, who would you want to bring in?

In part two of this segment, we will talk about how the Chargers can fix the running game through the draft.

By Jake Hefner


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  • arnie

    If those are my choices, then I go with Shonne Greene. Of all the backs mentioned, he is the most durable, productive and still has some gas in the tank. My other reasoning is, Mathews has shown he can make plays in the passing game, and when he gets outside the tackles. Shonne is that hammer in the middle. He can’t get those tough yards when we need them. He like Mathews can make big plays, when it’s late in the game.
    Did I also mention, he’s probably the cheapest of the group.

    • arnie

      i forgot to mention, in that photo up there, did ryan’s teammate decide, “well i can’t block you, so i might as well join you.” lol

  • ryu

    Are you serious Arnie, Shonne Greene is the worst starting RB in the league. He is a trotter and a mule of a running back behind arguably one of the best offensive lines. I’m glad the decision is not up to you bc that would be a AJ/Norv pick in my mind.

  • Nolan

    I like shonne green hes actually a pretty good runningback just think he needs a compliment aka #24

  • Tom Spalsbury

    I like Reggie Bush.He’s USC Alumni.

  • Ernie Padaon

    i have hated Shonn Greene for so long… I really hope that he doesnt join the team. think there will be better options through the draft than that

  • tiiiiiiiiiiit11

    Chris Ivory would be the best pickup, I think. He would also come at a discount compared to Reggie Bush or other rbs. I also think we should pick up a darren sproles-like utility back in the later part of the draft.

    On another note, how do you break both clavicles in 1 season. Somone give Ryan Matthews a glass of milk to go with his monthly tampon!!

    • Ernie Padaon

      hahahaha… i would love to get chris ivory. he is a restricted free agent though and it would cost us a draft pick. let’s see what offer the Saints give to him and what kind of draft pick we would have to part with.

  • Preston Niedert

    Chris Ivory would be a nice pick but I doubt tom telesco has even thought of it. Shonn greene would be the cheapest of the RB to sign and should be consider. Steven jackson if he leaves the rams would be nice pick up he misssed only two games in his 9 years in the NFL. that more then ryan matthwes has in his NFL career.