I have been off the Ryan Mathews train for the last two seasons at least. Mathews history with the Chargers has been one steeped in injuries, fumbles and terrible numbers during the times he is healthy enough to see the actual field. The old regime made him seem like the next big thing when they traded up to the twelfth spot in the draft to get him. They traded up from the 28th spot in the draft to exchange places with Miami. We know how that deal has gone so far. And let’s see, in the 16 spots that passed between 12 and 28, DE Jason Pierre-Paul (15), S Earl Thomas (14), C Maurkice Pouncey (18), WR Demaryius Thomas (22), and WR Dez Bryant (24) all could have been had if the Chargers has stayed put.
As for running backs, in the second round Dexter McCluster, Ben Tate and Toby Gerhart were still available but wait…the Chargers included their second round pick in the package to trade up to get Mathews. Also plucked during that second round were names like Rob Gronkowski, Sergio Kindle, Daryl Washington. Oh yeah, the Chargers still had Darren Sproles on the roster at the time. Buyer’s remorse anyone?
This offseason when the new regime arrived, they took a look at Mathews and decided to give him one more chance. He is still a young 26 and the incumbent. New head coach Mike McCoy decided he will be a featured cog in his revamped offense. Mathews is supposedly in great health and he played great in preseason. For the first time since his drafting, I was excited to see if Mathews had turned the corner and we were going to see the dynamic runner AJ Smith thought he had drafted in 2010.
Then the season started. Mathews first touch of the ball against Houston in the season opener on Monday Night Football came on a 14 yard lob from Philip Rivers for a touchdown. Mathews showed the same straight-forward style he showed in the preseason only this time he got nowhere. Mathews had 13 carries for 33 yards and mysteriously disappeared for a quarter and a half stretch during the game. In the second game against Philadelphia, Mathews fumbled in the red zone, giving the ball to the Eagles. Mathews again disappeared for a large part of the game afterward. Mathews did have 16 carries for 73 yards, a quarter of that production coming from one 20-yard run. Last week against Tennessee, Mathews had 16 carries for 58 yards.
It took three games for me to fall, no, JUMP back off the Mathews’ bandwagon.
I’m done with Ryan Mathews.
So apparently is Mike McCoy. Mathews has not shown up on the injury report so why has he disappeared during long stretches during games? The feature back doesn’t watch from the sidelines for over a quarter if he’s trusted to carry the load. McCoy is doing what he said he would and giving Mathews plenty of touches but aside from that first pass of the season, McCoy’s faith has yielded unfavorable results. The team is suffering because of their lack of a running game.
If this continues, the Chargers number of consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance could extend to four. The only positive to come from that is Ryan Mathews will no longer be around to steal money from the organization. In his short career Mathews has a 1:1 touchdown to fumble ratio (14 tds, 13 fumbles) and has missed 20% of his games due to injury.
It is time to call an end to the Ryan Mathews experiment. The Browns shipped their 2012 top pick Trent Richardson to Indianapolis last week for a first round draft pick. In addition to offensive line depth, running back is going to be a need area to fill now. GM Telesco will have to be aggressive and bring in a solid back who can stay on the field, keep the ball secure and get good positive yardage.
T.J. Yeldon anyone?
Mathews reputation preceeds him so who knows if anyone would do Telesco the honor of taking him off the Chargers hand, ANY trade will do. The sooner the bust is gone, the better. Yes, I know the season is only three games old but like a good referee, I’m calling this fight. His body of work during his pro career supports the argument. How many more 15 carry, 50 yard games do you need to see to know this is NOT WORKING?? I’ll take any trade for Mathews and feel like we won the day. ANY trade! I have ideas…
5. Mathews for a free pizza at the Q. It will only be four slices because Mathews can never make it through a season whole but we’ll take it!
4. Mathews for a season free of Chargers blackouts.
3. Mathews for a new stadium.
2. Four words: Annie Heilbrunn Swimsuit Calendar.
1. Mathews for Tebow! As a running back only. At least Tebow gained positive yards and doesn’t fumble. There, I said it. Satan is ice skating right now.
If nothing else, I’m all about solutions. I have no optimism Mathews finds his groove but I do still have faith in the Chargers, which is all that matters. I think it’s time to start the #FozzyWhittakerforstarter movement in San Diego. What do you think Bolt Nation?
The Greg One