One of the biggest questions floating around out there regarding the early stages of this offseason is, “Why did we sign Donald Brown?” Clearly GM Tom Telesco has a soft spot for him, but still….why? There wasn’t a WR out there to complement Keenan Allen? Didn’t Ryan Mathews have his best year last year? Did Danny Woodhead not give us that extra spark and change-of-pace guy we haven’t had since Darren Sproles left?
Ryan is heading into a contract year and, as we all know, has been plagued with injuries dating back to Fresno St. What I saw out of Mathews coming out of college was a shifty and strong RB; one that is not afraid to take on hits. As many NFL teams turn to the RB-by-committee approach, San Diego was used to focusing on one guy.
Thus far his career in San Diego has been grinding and exhausting as a fan (especially FF players drafting him). However, what I have seen is a player who continues to fight and prove people wrong. Sure, we all would have loved for him to come out of the gates having seasons like the one last year, but “You win some, you lose some.” With his injuries, lack of aggression in the redzone and inability to punch through holes, a ton of pressure was placed on Philip. Now with his resurgence, he looks like the back we all knew he could be, and Philip looks like the old Philip we all love.
Maybe it was the criticism that motivated Mathews. Every person is different. What motivates one person might not work with someone else. Perhaps he needed to hear the negative comments, the sarcasm, name calling…etc. to motivate himself to the next level. All I know is that he didn’t “hear” those comments. As Woody Hayes once said, “You can’t let praise or criticisms get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” That negativity wouldn’t have worked for me…I would have dug a hole and stayed there.
So is this Brown signing another way to motivate Ryan? Maybe. But I think being in the last year of his contract and the success he had last year should be all he needs to continue to thrive. However……with a history of injuries, the possibility of leaving the Chargers after this year and only one recent successful year, bringing in Donald to fill in on an “if-needed” basis was an intelligent move. Despite Brown not having a stat-filled, overly productive career up to this point, look at what he did when over-paid Trent Richardson struggled mightily?
The Big White Kahuna.