Norv Turner expects breakout year for Ryan Mathews

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The Chargers lost a running back when Mike Tolbert signed with Carolina, but that’s not giving Norv Turner much worry about his running game.

Although Ryan Mathews has spent his first two years fighting injuries, Turner has seen enough from his tailback to expect big things. Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Turner said he expects a “breakout, big-time year” from Mathews in 2012. With an average of 4.7 yards per carry over his first two years, Mathews has definitely shown enough skill to make that prediction come true.

Assuming, of course, he can make it through the entire season. That’s where the loss of Tolbert comes into play. The Chargers need to be sure that Mathews isn’t worn down to the point that he misses games and the only other tailback on the roster right now is the little-used Curtis Brinkley.

Turner has an answer for that as well. The plan is for Le’Ron McClain to be more than just a fullback in San Diego. McClain ran for 902 yards for Baltimore in 2008, but he’s carried the ball just 89 times over the last three seasons. They’ve offered a contract to Jacob Hester so that McClain would be free to play a more varied role alongside Mathews.

They’ve also spoken to Jackie Battle and seem likely to add another back to the mix. All of the decisions seem directed toward putting Mathews in a position to become the man in the San Diego backfield.


28 responses to “Norv Turner expects breakout year for Ryan Mathews

  1. I swear I’ve read a similar “Mathews is going to turn into an elite back this season” article the last three years now and have yet to see it actual happen.

  2. Norv Turner, AJ Smith and Dean Spanos all expect to win another preseason Super Bowl this year.

    Norv, why don’t you go dust the empty trophy case.

  3. He has the ability to have a breakout year if he’s able to stay healthy for an entire season. Hopefully this year he take the off-season a little more serious and comes into training camp in halfway decent shape.

  4. Haters! Mathews had a helluva season… ranked 10th in the league among all backs with 1091 yards, and his number of 20+ yard runs is the same as the #1 RB in the league, MJD. Does top 10 in the league not qualify as “elite” any more?

  5. he needs to because they seem to be planning on AJ Smith’s draft picks to fix the defense, so if AJ’s defensive draft picks continue to preform at the level they have the last few drafts they will not be able to get off the field again this year. JJ is a good pick up but thats it, Atari Bigby???

  6. Norv NEEDS Mathews to have a breakout year. Otherwise, SD fans are gonna reach the end of their tether- Norv and A.J., sitting on the end of a pier covered in tar and feathers will not be a pretty sight to behold.

  7. Ryan Mathews has the ability to be a top 5 back in the NFL, perhaps lead the league in yards with a good season. He has all the tools including speed & acceleration, quickness & agility, balance & power. & I think he is a good kid. That is my scouting report lol

  8. Top 10 doesn’t qualify as elite. That’s almost a third of the league. This guy will become elite the second he becomes a free agent and signs with a real team

  9. @slumdog66, “almost a third of the league”? Do you even watch football? There were 125 active running backs in the league last year. Mathews is ranked #10 out of 125, which places him in the top 8% of all running backs, and in the top 4% of all players who accrued rushing stats last season.

    Tell us again that doesn’t qualify as “elite,” and then tell us what does….

  10. According to rankings, Tony romo and joe flacco are tied for the number. Are they elite? Absolutely not. Good, but not great. Base it off starters, not guys that don’t get to play.

  11. So Peterson’s elite? Well, he was ranked 8 spots below Mathews, and for good reason: AD had fewer total yards, fewer yards per carry and fewer 20+ yard runs.

    Again, did you watch any football last season?

  12. As for basing rushing stats only on starters, you do realize that teams carry several running backs, right? And they sub them during virtually every possession. QBs on the other hand are generally only subbed when they’re injured (or when Tim Tebow is their backup).

    Watch the game sometime. It’s actually quite interesting.

  13. So according to your logic, mathews is better than peterson. Peterson missed a grip of games. Of course he’s gonna have less yards. You are the one who needs to watch some football. Typical choker fans…oops, I meant chargers.

  14. Mathews was better than Peterson. And as for number of games, both players had roughly the same number of rushing attempts (222 for Mathews and 208 for Peterson). Peterson missed, what, two games? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big AD fan. He’s the only bright spot on an otherwise terrible team.

  15. trubroncfan07 says: Mar 29, 2012 12:35 PM

    Mathews will not be elite, I have a friend that hangs with him all the time and all this guy does is party in the off season.

    trubroncfan07 has a friend? I call BS on that.

  16. Leave it to mister passive lack of motivation to plan to run McLain… The reason that Mathews should have a break out season is the fact that they finally signed a blocking fullback like Lorenzo Neal. LT had some record breaking seasons when he had a fullback opening huge holes for him. R McLain has the potential to be such a fullback for Mathews, and if he’s utilized in such a capacity, Mathews should excell in 2012.
    As for the story about Ricky Williams… Williams would be an rxceotionsl addition to the Bolts, primarily when Jackie Battle is the most talked about option. Sign Ricky to light a fire under Mathews. Look how it helped Ray Rice last year, as well as Tge addition of V Leach…

  17. trubroncfan07 says: Mar 29, 2012 12:35 PM

    Mathews will not be elite, I have a friend that hangs with him all the time and all this guy does is party in the off season.

    First I just want to tell you, that you are dumb. For two reasons, 1. You do not have a friend who knows Mathews, you are a Bronco fan so your just bashing Mathews. 2. You are a Bronco fan, nuff said. Mathews will have a breakout season since we added McLain.

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