Poll Position: Can Ryan Mathews Gain 1,000 Yards?

December 2, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) runs for a short gain during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

(Cast Your Vote At The Bottom)

What to do about Ryan Mathews? It seems to come up a lot, doesn’t it?

Viewpoints range from “give him ONE more chance”, to “cut him”, to “we are stuck with him“, to “he just hasn’t had the opportunity to flourish under Norv Turner”. Whatever your viewpoint is, it’s probably partnered with some serious frustration. Except for that lone Pro-Bowl year (where he was a third “alternate”), he has not lived up to the expectations of a 1st round draft pick.

Mathews has clear problems on the field, whether we like it, or not. After setting out to prove that he is not the “China Doll” some suspected he was, he ended up breaking two collarbones in 2012. That just about sealed the deal on that label. His fumble-itis was another concern going into 2012. As soon as he returned, he immediately put the ball on the ground at the worst possible moment.. earning him a spot in Norv’s doghouse, and on the bench. Again, he pretty much validated those concerns there. He finished off the season with only one touchdown, putting a big fat dunce cap on a season where he was supposed to break out. If you ask me, his vision is what’s really holding him back from breaking off those big runs. So, hopefully they can help him with that.

As if this weren’t bad enough, he has been pretty good at drawing some unwanted “off-season” media attention over the last couple of years. Last year, it was crashing his car “coming home from his Mom’s house” at midnight. This year, it is a case of mis-information, involving an arrest story. As we know, it turned out to be false. At a glance, both of these incidents seem somewhat innocent. However, I keep thinking to myself “Was there ever a time when I crashed my car on the freeway at midnight”? Despite a fender-bender here & there, I have never come close to doing something like that. I have partied at the Gaslamp clubs downtown plenty of times myself. But, I have always had the foresight not to “regularly” be spotted partying at clubs like that. I realized very quickly that you can get in a ton of trouble down there, doing that type of thing. Especially, when you are a single guy, an NFL player, and have tons of money. Trouble seems to find that kind of scenario, as we have seen throughout the NFL many times before.

Ryan is young, and he deserves to have some fun. But, I think I speak for a lot of people (including the players) when I say that Mathews is already under a lot of scrutiny. These moves are not showing wisdom, or the actions of someone that has learned his lesson. He just got done pissing off a lot of his teammates (whether he is right, or wrong), by saying on national television that the team was “complacent” last year. I actually agree with him, but it didn’t go over well in the locker room AT ALL! Even Mathews has recently admitted that he needs to study harder, after being singled out by Ladanian Tomlinson. Players from the team also agreed with Tomlinson, prompting Ryan to come to this realization. I like Ryan, but if you are looking for an example of somebody who can’t get out of his own way, he is most definitely it. When you add the major on the field concerns, with the minor off the field concerns… the concern is approaching code red.. one could even say “Defcon 4”!

Well, that’s enough beating up on the young man. For all of his shortcomings, I can see great potential in him. When he IS healthy, and not coughing up the ball.. he is a pretty darn good running back. If he can improve his vision, and learn how to get out of bounds (instead of charging for an extra yard that isn’t there) he could change some people’s minds. It would be wonderful if he could have that elusive “break out year”, that we are all holding our breaths in anticipation of. The talent is there, but the focus needs to be there, as well. Hopefully, the new strength & conditioning staff is making him their #1 priority! He needs to be face-down in his playbook, and watching film at his house.. not partying downtown.

This leads us to our poll question. How many yards do you think Ryan Mathews will have this season? I know it is a little bit premature, as we still don’t know if this is the backfield we will start the season with. But, use an “if the season started today” approach. Please comment below, letting us know what you voted for, and why you voted that way. With all of the controversy surrounding Ryan Mathews, and our rushing attack, I’m certain there are a multitude of different opinions out there.

Keep Bolting Toward Excellence!

Peter Thompson

 

How many rushing yards will Ryan Mathews gain in 2013?

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Topics: Ryan Matthews, San Diego Chargers

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  • http://boltbeat.com/ ChargerGirl Cindi

    As long as he keeps drinking his milk! He is going to make up for lost time. #IBelieve

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Ryan Mathews was here.

  • Pels04

    Like you said he absolutely has the talent to be a 1,000yd + rb. I personally think he could be one of the best backs in the league if he could stay healthy. The fumbles are bad but im not too worried about it as of right now. I love the way he runs, but definitely he needs to be smarter and maybe a tad less physical. I have high hopes for him this year because we upgraded all the coaches around him. That has to mean he will be better……right?!?!

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Agreed.. McCoy & Whisenhunt will certainly improve the play calling. Ironically, Ollie Wilson is returning as the running backs coach this year. So, that hasn’t changed. TT & McCoy didn’t let him go, so I’m gathering he is the most capable option. Let’s hope that he can help RM24 regain that Pro-Bowl level… assuming there are no injuries. Wilson didn’t have a whole lot to work with last year, quite honestly. Here’s to this years stable being better than last years.

  • davacho

    1200 yards 9 td.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      I would LOVE that!

  • hendroxy

    Of the first opinions mentioned in the opening, I am of the one that Mathews hasn’t gotten a chance to flourish.
    With all the people in the NFL that actually have off the field issues, I don’t think it’s fair to place that tag on Mathews because of a couple stories that really had no negative connotations. The”arrest” story never should have been published and someone should have lost their job. The car crash ended with zero drama for him or the team.
    His fumbles are comparable to AP’s in his first couple years (though probably more ill-timed) so I’m not worried about that yet.
    Injuries and the worst play calling I’ve ever seen from an NFL team are what have held him back.
    We have a new, intelligent, adaptable playcaller and he’s healthy (for now).
    I’m excited.

    • Nick in PB

      Good points hendroxy! He may party a little too much but I can’t get on a guy for being down at the gaslamp, after OTA were over and he even went home early, hopefully to avoid trouble. I really don’t think he’s had a chance to flourish. His finest year, we still had Deilman and McNeil on the Left side! Any RB needs some blocking up front to be successful. No doubt about it, he has to produce this year or we will see someone drafted at his position next year.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      I think you’re right. It isn’t fair. Maybe it’s just the “complacency” statement, which ended in backlash from a teammate. Then the LT statement that ended in backlash from the teammates.. and before that, failing the conditioning test in camp.. the car crash, and the Gaslamp report. These things are painting a picture that I don’t necessarily believe is accurate.. but, keep your nose down, as Manti would say.. lol. I don’t believe what the media says.. but his fellow teammates are voicing their opinions too.

  • John Alton

    I believe he can. He has done it before. Why not under Mike McCoy. He now has better coaching and a new offensive system. I can see 1200-1300 and 8-10 TDs.
    I am not worried about the fumbles. That can be overcome through proper coaching.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      The fumbles worry me, but I think the damage can be mitigated.

      • arnie

        Winning cures everything Peter. The example with AP, his fumbles were easily dismissed, because he could still break off a 40 yard run on the next play and end up with 150 on the day. if mathews was getting 1,000 yard seasons, with 6 TD’s, this would not even be an issue.

        • John Alton

          People forget that AP fumbled away the NFC Championship in 09. Norv never used Mathews properly. He tried to play him like LT and Emmit. Running backs need a line that can open a hole, he did have that last season. Last years O-line could not block a pop warner defense.Like I said, better coaching will fix his fumbling..

          • arnie

            Nah i didn’t forget, that’s why i made the comparison. AP has proven he can be productive, so his fumbles have been “over looked” for his production. Mathews has yet to show that. So i agree with you, better coaching and O-line will get ryan on the right track.
            I still think he’ll fumble, just not as much, but if he’s productive we just won’t care as much.

        • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

          Now, THAT’S mitigating your damages! I would love for that to be RM’s story! Let’s get some W’s!

  • Bill Nichols

    I’m going to answer before reading the meat of this story. And my answer is, YES, Hell Yes, and F- Yes he can. He already proved he could, and now with a more, let’s say, enhanced O-line, hell to the yes, yeah, he can do it. And he will, promise that fellow bolts……… Oh yeah, if he doesn’t get hurt of course :)… Bolt Up baby!!

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      I think you are saying yes.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      YES!

  • tubbs45

    My simple answer is YES. He can run like a motha, but he needs to preserve his health and not take unnecessary risks (hit-wise). I like the fact that we brought in some bruiser linemen… I cant wait to watch them lay some friggin pavement!

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Can somebody edit Shaun Phillips into this picture, squished into the asphalt… and then put DJ Fluker’s face on the back.. smiling all big? LMAO!

      • tubbs45

        Its small but I’ll do some more work on it…. lol

        • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

          YES!!!!! It was a valiant effort, Tubbs!

  • ECAVILLE/Ace of Spades

    I remember when Leron came on the squad and everybody was exited about having a top grade fullback to pave the way for Mathews. Now that we have all the other right moves like new strength and conditioning staff, new head coach. People don’t have new found hope? We even lucked out with a new Docter. This is the time to electrify the competition with all of our many play makers like Rivers, Gates, Mathews, Weddle, Alexander, Woodhead, M80, Allen (ACE), Freeny, Butler, Liegit, Reyes, ect.ect.ect. this team is ready to dominate the so called dominating. We under the radar and ready electrify that ass!

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      “dominate the so called dominating”.. I like that ; )

  • FitzWilly

    As long as Captain Lady-Parts doesn’t trip over the 50 yard line, and rupture one of his Ovaries
    then yes he can
    Get your shit together RM
    There I said it :)

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Hee Hee… nice.

  • jonpviv

    Your article states “face-down in his playbook, and watching film at his house.. not partying downtown.” Apparently that IS what is happening unless you have sources who have been spotting him down there……..and your statement on vision…..”if he can improve his vision” is kind of ridiculous. At this stage of the game, going into, what, his 4th NFL season?, vision is something you would have or not have, it is not something that you develop and work on. Vision on a court or field is almost a gift, not a muscle that you can develop.

    The football movie with Omar Epps as a running back in college, where he was made to carry the ball on campus…….I always wondered why the chargers didn’t do that to Mathews…….that all being said, I have absolutely no idea what this player is going to do this year. I believe he has the skills to rush for 1500 yards and score 10 + t.d.’s but can it happen? Only God knows. It’s just a guess either way. I just HOPE he can live up to his potential this year.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Great comments, Jonpviv!

      However, I do disagree on the vision statement. You CAN learn vision by watching film, and through proper coaching. If you want to succeed, watch the best do it, and try to emulate it. Even if you aren’t the best at it, you can “fake it til’ you make it”. I have watched enough film & games to see that he went left, when he should have gone right. This is why he hasn’t had those big runs. If he can’t improve on that… then we,need a new back. I am confident that he can learn vision, though.

      Also, Mathews was already carrying around a football last offseason, to solve the fumbling problems. Saying that his fumbling isn’t a problem is not being truthful. Also, he WAS in Gaslamp partying that night. It was only 8:30, though. I’d bet money that wasn’t his first trip, if you know what I’m sayin’.Who goes to a bar in Gaslamp with the intention of not partying, and meeting girls.. especially when you have RM24 looks.. lol ; )

    • BruisingChargers

      Improve his vision? Maybe he can get “Lasik Vision” eye surgery to improve his vision problems and start using Super Glue to help his “Fumble-itis” problems. Also, instead of going to the Gas lamp bar parties, he can host oh..I don’t know maybe host a “Chargers film study party” at his own house. I also do not like seeing him fly up in the air to score touchdowns like the game towards the end of last year (can’t remember who they played) being as fragile as his bones appear to be.
      I voted for the 600-799 range but, hope he does better. Excited to see how Hill comes along in training camp………..

  • shayaaa

    Is it just me or why is 1,000 yards even considered great for a number 1 RB? Averaging under 63 yards a game just doesn’t seem that amazing to me..

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      I am with you there. I figured I would set the watermark for Mathews at 1,000, and hope he beats it… especially after last season. I would like to see something closer to 1,200 yards, myself. Ray Rice only got about 1,150 last season, and only had seven games where he averaged about 100 yards. But, he did have 9 TD’s, so that softens the blow a little.. lol. I would love to see that kind of production from RM24 this season.

  • Sergio Quintero

    Much like Philip, the talking heads seems to forget how horrible the Oline was, and that also affects the RB’s.

    I will believe the chargers improved their Oline, and they have a great Oline coach whose specialty is improving the run game.

    In terms of Mathews he should average from 65-85 yards a game, how many games he plays, lets hope he plays about 15. So put me down for about 1,100 yards.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Sounds fair enough.

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