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Chargers prepping big role for Ryan Mathews

Ryan+Mathews+Oakland+Raiders+v+San+Diego+Chargers+6RonCehxw2Kl Getty Images

Running back Ryan Mathews is preparing for the biggest season of his short NFL career.

Darren Sproles and Mike Tolbert are gone, leaving Mathews as the man in the backfield for the Chargers. They have big expectations for Mathews in San Diego this season, expectations that head coach Norv Turner outlined to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“I personally think he’s ready to take that next step,” Turner said, while moving his hand up to illustrate how high Mathews could rise this season. “That means, to me, the production goes way up, and he’s more of the guy that is on the field most of the time. I think he’s grown a lot in terms of understanding his responsibility when the ball is in his hand.”

Mathews ran for 1,091 yards and six touchdowns last season while also catching 50 passes out of the backfield. Those stats came in 14 games with Tolbert on the scene, which means Mathews played on less than half the offensive stats. Given all that, it’s not hard to see Mathews turning in an even bigger season in 2012.

The keys to unlocking that season will be staying healthy (Mathews has missed six games in his first two years) and starting the year off in the best possible shape. The latter was a problem for Mathews last year — he couldn’t make it through a conditioning test on the first day of camp — but it shouldn’t be one this summer. Mathews’ teammate Jacob Hester said that the tailback looks like “Arnold” with his shirt off, a development that could help him terminate any doubts about his ability to handle an expanded role.

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23 Responses to “Chargers prepping big role for Ryan Mathews”
  1. ricksaints says: May 27, 2012 9:16 AM

    Could b a good 2nd round draft pick in ur fantasy draft.

  2. swagjag says: May 27, 2012 9:25 AM

    “I think he’s grown a lot in terms of understanding his responsibility when the ball is in his hand.”

    Unlike his barber when the clippers are in his hand.

  3. bouchez9393 says: May 27, 2012 9:38 AM

    He’s too soft, he only missed 6 games because he only had half the snaps, with a full load he’ll miss atleast half the season! He doesn’t even get hit when he gets hurt, he just gets hurt from running! I’ve had him in fantasy for the last 2 years and I will NEVER draft him again, he’s to scared to play in the NFL, he could bi bigger than Arnold, but muscles don’t mean your a tough guy!

  4. 4t9er says: May 27, 2012 9:49 AM

    Why bother, he will eventually be in the NFCS j/k.

  5. claydefayette says: May 27, 2012 10:24 AM

    Same story, different year. Mathews should finally blow up though.

  6. flyerscup2010 says: May 27, 2012 10:31 AM

    does he mean arnold like from “hey arnold”?

  7. fballguy says: May 27, 2012 10:38 AM

    He plays like Arnold from Different Strokes.

  8. jameslongstaffe says: May 27, 2012 10:41 AM

    He has not had any major injury, if he gets in top condition he can handle the load. The guy has phenomenal talent!

  9. humb0lt says: May 27, 2012 11:20 AM

    Ryan Mathews is the best RB in the AFC West heading into 2012. He is poised for a monster season, and will be a major reason the Bolts win the AFC West and charge deep into the post season. The Super Bowl express begins in San Diego July 25 when rookies report.

  10. gooboy6 says: May 27, 2012 11:23 AM

    He can’t pick up blitz

  11. spellingcops says: May 27, 2012 11:43 AM

    Humb0lt, you’re an idiot. You realize that the broncos had the #1 run game, the raiders have dmc, and the chiefs have jamaal Charles, right? The chargers will never win the SB. They’re choke artists. AJ Smith & Norvell are allergic to success and especially to SBs.

  12. tdk24 says: May 27, 2012 12:16 PM

    He could be in a similar situation like Mcfadden, just needs that one season to make it all click. But then stay healthy at the same time.

  13. rockthered1286 says: May 27, 2012 12:53 PM

    Matthews is the 3rd best rb in his division, about 10th best in the AFC. Talk to me after a full season workload

  14. raiderapologist says: May 27, 2012 2:25 PM

    humb0lt says: May 27, 2012 11:20 AM

    Ryan Mathews is the best RB in the AFC West heading into 2012. He is poised for a monster season, and will be a major reason the Bolts win the AFC West and charge deep into the post season. The Super Bowl express begins in San Diego July 25 when rookies report.

    It’s not the despair that gets you, humb0lt. It’s the hope.

  15. humb0lt says: May 27, 2012 3:02 PM

    In 2011, Ryan Mathews had the best YPC average, 4.9, of any RB in the AFC West that carried the ball more than 115 times. He also caught more passes for more yards than any RB currently in the AFC West. He’s a dual threat that is poised for a huge season as the Bolts make their Super Bowl run. At age 24, he’s the youngest starting RB in the AFC West, and he’s never suffered a major, season-ending, injury.

  16. ripseau says: May 27, 2012 3:11 PM

    Could b a great player. Already has a great success story. Talk about rags to riches

  17. wgnbrn says: May 27, 2012 3:12 PM

    @spellingcops the only reason the broncos had a running game was because of lil baby Jesus tebow. Now they have the slowest qb in the league!! And dmc is more injury prone than any of the other rbs in the west. And Jamal Charles can’t do anything if kc doesn’t figure out their passing game.

  18. doe22us says: May 27, 2012 5:36 PM

    He has to stay healthy.

  19. raiderapologist says: May 27, 2012 9:08 PM

    humb0lt says: May 27, 2012 3:02 PM

    humb0lt says: May 27, 2012 3:02 PM

    In 2011, Ryan Mathews had the best YPC average, 4.9, of any RB in the AFC West that carried the ball more than 115 times. He also caught more passes for more yards than any RB currently in the AFC West. He’s a dual threat that is poised for a huge season as the Bolts make their Super Bowl run.
    ———-

    McFadden ran the ball 113 times in 2011 for a YPC of 5.4. That is known as a c-hair split if you aren’t a fantasy tool. Mathews got more work in the passing game, but some offenses throw more balls to backs. In the last three seasons the Chargers have gone from 13 wins, to 9, to 8. The Super Bowl express is going in the wrong direction. Choo choo. Turn that rain around, hump.

  20. joetoronto says: May 28, 2012 6:32 AM

    raiderapologist says:

    In the last three seasons the Chargers have gone from 13 wins, to 9, to 8. The Super Bowl express is going in the wrong direction. Choo choo. Turn that rain around, hump.
    *************************************************
    Great stat, this shows you just how delusional Dumbolt is.

  21. blasterpastor says: May 28, 2012 2:08 PM

    It might help to have a better team. Rivers and Matthews can’t do it by themselves. After last year, I’m not very high on the Chargers.

  22. dasmol says: May 29, 2012 2:36 PM

    A Canadian raider fan calling someone else delusional. Classic.

  23. jonsnowsd12 says: May 30, 2012 6:48 PM

    He just hasn’t showed me he can live up to the hype he had coming out of college. Fumble problems and he’s injury prone. They needed to add a number two guy in the worst way. McClain was brought in to be a Tolbert type back.

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