Chargers running back Ryan Mathews is treading closer and closer to “bust” territory, in part because he has spent too much time in his first three NFL seasons being broken.
Mathews knows that he has to stay healthy, and he recently talked about the situation with NFL Network.
“Everyone always ask me if I am made of glass,” Mathews said. “I just need to stop taking so many hits, quit fighting for extra yards when I don’t need to. It has been a little bit of bad luck too. I broke both my collarbones and that’s rare.”
While luck is indeed a factor when it comes to injuries, there’s only so much a running back can do to avoid contact. Still, it’s not impossible. Barry Sanders knew when to hit the deck and how to avoid taking a big hit. And he never took a big hit.
Mathews will have an even greater reason to show that he can perform at a high level, given the presence of a new coach (Mike McCoy), new offensive coordinator (Ken Whisenhunt), and new G.M. (Tom Telesco). Mathews realizes that the changes have come because the Chargers couldn’t get it done under Norv Turner.
“I think we were just complacent,” Mathews said. “At times, because he had spent a lot of time there, it was just the same routine over and over again. There wasn’t anything new. He did everything he could to make us win, no doubt about it. . . . We thought we were owed to win games.”
That mindset surely is gone now. And Mathews will have to show something in order to stick around for the long haul. Without getting himself hurt, again.