Going into the 2013 season, the Chargers made a lot of changes all over the organization from the front office to the field. The additions of Danny Woodhead and Fozzy Whittaker might have led some to believe the backfield in San Diego received a facelift. While taking a closer look, there are the obvious returns of both Ryan Mathews and Ronnie Brown.
Many fans were excited about the free agent signing of Danny Woodhead. The interest of people was certainly peaked as Fozzy was able to make the 53 man roster. The level of excitement surrounding the re-signing of Ronnie Brown did not even reach a dull roar. I was one of the very, very few fans to state that retaining Brown should have been in the cards. And then there is Ryan Mathews….
The opinions on Mathews range all over the board. Yet, that range usually consists of varying levels of negativity. People are able to recognize the physical abilities of the former Fresno State Bulldog. That being said, he still has yet to put it all together.
When looking at the 2013 San Diego backfield, the plays are trending toward a new face receiving the bulk of the time on the field. Take a look at the plays per Running Back below.
Danny Woodhead 79 plays
Ryan Mathews 66 plays
Ronnie Brown 53 plays
As you can see from the numbers, despite all 3 players having completely different styles, the numbers aren’t incredibly far apart. It is also obvious that Woodhead seems to be the most reliable of the backs in the eyes of the coaching staff. Old man Ronnie Brown’s numbers prove that his spot on the team is not only welcome, but necessary. Mathews does seem to receive a high majority of the carries on running downs, but when it comes to crunch time and plays in which reliability is a must, Mathews is passed over for Woodhead and Brown.
I am interested to see if the gap between Woodhead and the other two main RBs continues to increase. The team seems to really like what Danny brings to the table. Another thing to keep an eye on is how much Whittaker is integrated into the mix. Though he is seeing time as the primary Kick Returner, he has not been called on to carry the ball often.
Quite honestly, I couldn’t care less about who is toting the rock for San Diego. I just want the guy they put out there to be the best man for the play and the situation. If the Chargers agree with that theory, then we could perhaps be seeing this running back by committee approach for the duration of the 2013 season.