Chargers running back Ryan Mathews is going through his second straight offseason as the subject of much discussion.
The difference is that the discussion is more positive this time around. People inside and outside the organization have been talking Mathews up at every opportunity with the common belief being that he could be on the verge of a huge season. Mathews ran for 1,091 yards in 14 games last season, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, and Mike Tolbert’s departure should mean a heavier workload this time around.
That’s very different than the buzz last year. Everyone was talking about Mathews failing a conditioning test at the start of training camp last summer, something that Mathews knows can’t happen again. During an interview with XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego, via SportsRadioInterviews.com, Mathews said that he’s coming to camp fit as a fiddle this time around.
“You can’t want to be the star running back and come into camp and not be able to do the conditioning test and that was my main thing is how my fans saw me and my team saw me,” Mathews said. “I don’t want to feel like that again. I had a great offseason and great OTA’s and mini camp, so I’m about to blow it away. It is going to be fun.”
If Mathews makes good on all the lofty predictions, it would mean he stayed in the lineup all year — he hasn’t done that in either of his first two seasons — and that will greatly increase the likelihood for fun in San Diego this season.