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Tom Telesco: Ryan Mathews is still our “bell cow”

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The Chargers bucked the recent trends with running backs by signing Donald Brown to a three-year, $10.4 million deal shortly after the start of free agency last week.

The urgency of the move suggests that Telesco has fond memories of Brown from their shared time with the Colts and raised questions about how tied the Chargers are to Ryan Mathews as their lead runner. During an interview on The Mighty 1090 in San Diego, though, Telesco said that the presence of Brown and Danny Woodhead does nothing to threaten Mathews’ role as the top dog in 2014.

“We know Ryan is our bell cow,” Telesco said, via “He’s our No. 1 back. He had an excellent year last year. And we all know what Danny Woodhead can do in his role. We saw that for 16 games last year. And we think Donald can come in and add to that, too, and give us some different options. And a different style, too. The more weapons we can have for Philip Rivers, the better.”

There are reasons beyond extra weapons to explain Brown’s presence in San Diego. Mathews missed 10 games to injury over his first three seasons and has fumbled 14 times in his four-year career, so having an able option behind him could come in handy on a couple of fronts. Mathews is also set for free agency after the season and the Chargers can feel somewhat secure about moving forward without him with Brown already under contract.

That doesn’t mean Mathews should be thinking about saying farewell, just that the bigger view shows that Brown’s arrival in San Diego makes no statement on Mathews’ role with the team in 2014 or beyond other than that it is good to have options.

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15 Responses to “Tom Telesco: Ryan Mathews is still our “bell cow””
  1. thestrategyexpert says: Mar 20, 2014 12:11 PM

    Mathews should try and develop an image of being a highly skilled NFL superstar player, athlete and leader, as opposed to being seen as unsophisticated livestock.

  2. slick50ks says: Mar 20, 2014 12:19 PM

    Good luck with that.

  3. kneelbeforesod says: Mar 20, 2014 12:25 PM

    Perhaps. But he’ll never be your beast of burden.

  4. bighomiemathews24 says: Mar 20, 2014 1:00 PM

    Am I the only one that realizes that if we have another good draft were gona be loaded !

  5. joetoronto says: Mar 20, 2014 1:03 PM

    Good move, make the guy who can’t stay on the field your #1 RB.

    No rings for you.

  6. rocoop says: Mar 20, 2014 1:08 PM

    But the Faiders re-sign Mcbroken…Now that is funny!!…San Diego will continue to sweep the Raiders…CHOO CHOO

  7. chargerdillon says: Mar 20, 2014 1:19 PM

    The only way the Chargers repeat last years record is if we hit a home run in the draft on a CB.

    We have to be considered at the very bottom of talent or worst with what we have for cornerbacks right now.

    Not to mention a continued lack of depth on the offensive line. We’re literally 1 or 2 injuries away from taking players from our practice squad to fill the O-line.

    Last year was a huge overachievement

  8. 21stnprime says: Mar 20, 2014 1:41 PM

    Brown and Mathews are pretty
    much mirror images of each other.

  9. slugbaitspace says: Mar 20, 2014 1:45 PM

    Needs more cowbell.

  10. capitaosuecia says: Mar 20, 2014 2:09 PM

    Lot of different ways to cover up the fact that is was a DUMB move to sign Brown.

    The Chargers have no cap room, a lot of needs, and Brown isn´t gonna bring nothing exciting, only gonna eat some chunk of the cap.

    I´d rather if we drafted some underrated rookie, like Andre Williams from BC, or any other gamble RB.

  11. weepingjebus says: Mar 20, 2014 2:17 PM

    I grew up in cow country, and I’m not sure what this means. Is he saying that after practice Ryan Mathews leads all the Chargers players back to the locker room to get milked?

  12. leftyman says: Mar 20, 2014 2:30 PM


  13. afcdomination says: Mar 20, 2014 2:38 PM

    it was more of a surprise than anything that he stayed healthy last year. I think the chargers finally made the right call at the HB position, and got themselves a really good second option. they spent too long relying simply on Mathews to stay healthy when more often than not he didn’t.

  14. ericxchavoya says: Mar 20, 2014 4:04 PM

    If he can only eclipse last year

  15. autofirepowerhr says: Mar 21, 2014 1:10 PM

    RB depth is always a good thing, I don’t understand why anyone would question this signing.

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