For starters, I have no problem admitting that I was a bit disappointed with the drafting of another running back in the this year’s draft. That being said, one of my senior writers is doing his best to get me on board with the selection. That writer is Jamie Hoyle. Hoyle is a huge Arizona State fan and alum. He has nothing but great things to say about the selection of Marion Grice in the sixth round. And from what I’ve watched on tape and heard via multiple people who I respect, he’s the real deal.
The jury is still out.
The Charger backfield is crowded. But is that a problem? I’m here to explain that it’s a great problem to have. The uncertainty regarding the health of Ryan Mathews is something to keep an eye on. Danny Woodhead was on the field nearly as often as Mathews in 2013. Despite Mathews having what could be his most successful season as a Bolt, there is uncertainty about his return following the 2014 season.
The addition of Donald Brown provides the Chargers with insurance in case of an injury, or future departure, while Ryan is still wearing lightning bolts. Let me be clear: I’m a huge fan of Ryan Mathews but I refuse to not be realistic. He’ll have to have a similar campaign to 2013 to continue his career in San Diego, in my opinion.
When looking at the Charger running game, having Mathews, Woodhead, Donald Brown and Marion Grice seems to be a portion of the offense that should be feared by opposing defenses. Each player has strengths that are necessary to an offense being effective on all parts of the field. It’s safe to say that each player is sufficient, or a serious weapon, in both the running and receiving of the ball in America’s finest city.
We must remind ourselves that Mathews is not a product of the new regime. They know more than we do. Though Mathews ran incredibly hard and aggressively, acting as though we can predict his future with San Diego is a mistake. Tom Telesco holds all of the cards. It would not surprise me if the team settled for a trio of Brown, Woodhead and Grice after 2014. But is that going to be the case? Are they willing to watch Mathews go and be a star elsewhere? If that’s not a huge question regarding the Bolts, then I’m not sure what is.
Danny Woodhead came in as free agent last year and, without a doubt, was incredibly impressive for the majority of 2013. He finished second on the team in receptions with 76 balls caught. He accumulated over 1,000 total yards and 10 touchdowns in his first year in San Diego. Thoughts are being spread around that, though this is his contract year, he’ll be a member of the Bolts for quite some time. Sounds good to me.
Donald Brown was a free agent acquisition that made a lot of fan’s jaws drop. Not me. I’m regretting the fact that I only tweeted about the need to add a player like Brown, as opposed to posting about it. Brown was under-utilized in Indianapolis; partially due to the trade of a first-round pick for Trent Richardson. Oops, Indy. Not a fan of guys that average, roughly, 3.5 yards per carry. Donald is a receiving threat out of the backfield. He’s also an underrated blocker from the running back spot. His addition will pay dividends to the Charger offense this year and going forward. Book it.
Now let’s talk about the Grice selection. He’s a guy, as illustrated by Hoyle, that is a monster in the redzone and has fantastic hands as a receiver. Some feel as though he’ll line up in the slot more than he will as a ball carrier. With his credible hands and the ability to make the first guy miss, I’m very comfortable with the addition of another weapon in the San Diego offensive arsenal.
This is where we analyze what the future production of Ryan Mathews plays into the 2014 Chargers. He ran as hard as any running back in the NFL last year. He still has a propensity to run into the back of his offensive lineman; patience is clearly not his strong-suit when running the ball. But Ryan ripped off multiple long runs in ’13. He looked very solid and gave me hope that we had our running back for the long-term. But, again, he’s a player that was drafted by the past regime; those that will not be named in this article. His future in San Diego is up in the air. And, quite frankly, I’m not certain that it should be. But the NFL is a business.
The Charger running back position may be crowded, but that’s a damn good problem to have. I expect this team to run the ball nearly 60% of the time in 2014. For an exact percentage, stay locked into BoltBlitz.com. I’d guess around a 56% running the ball with the rest of the gameplan being geared toward Rivers doing what he did in 2013. Efficiency and quick-timed passes will still remain the norm. I do expect the team to go down the field more often in the passing game. But that’s for another post, another day.