December 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) is tackled by Carolina Panthers defensive back Josh Thomas (22) after running for a first down during the second quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY SportsWith the recent injury to Ryan Mathews, it is becoming more and more apparent that Ryan cannot be the workhorse back that we had hoped. He needs to be in a rotation in order to keep him fresh and to keep him away from that injury bug. He needs to be taken out in passing downs, because he still has not perfected the art of blocking for Philip Rivers. He also needs to be limited in some situations because there is a fear of fumbling. If there was no injury history or a fumble history, then he might be able to reach that potential.
His potential is hampered by the fact that he is a china doll. He can’t stay on the field. His history of injuries is frustrating and is reason for bringing in another back onto the roster that can take on a big load. Ronnie Brown wasn’t supposed to get the amount of work that he has, but it was needed. Brown has struggled running the football and teams know that he is a one dimensional threat when he gets into the game. He is a pass catching back that knows how to block for the quarterback. Teams have started keying in on him in the passing game and know that the team will be throwing the ball when he is in the game.
This offseason, the Chargers will need to find another back that can split the workload. Here is a list of players that are becoming free agents at the end of the season: Rashard Mendenhall, Reggie Bush, Peyton Hillis, Felix Jones, Shonn Greene, Danny Woodhead and Bernard Scott. There are a couple of names on that list that could make a nice impact for the Bolts. Or the Bolts can look into adding someone in the draft to help spell Ryan.
Either way, the Bolts can’t start out the season thinking that Ryan is going to be the workhorse runningback on offense. He has split time in the backfield since he has been on the roster and has never been able to take on the full load. Sometimes I wish that he was given more opportunities, but every time he gets that chance, he fails with a big fumble or an injury. Right now, he is a rotation player. Find that other back to share time with him.