The Chargers haven’t made any secret of their desire to use running back Ryan Mathews more often this season.
We’re getting more of an idea of just how big a role they expect Mathews to play. Coach Norv Turner’s history is studded with running backs carrying the ball more than 300 times. Emmitt Smith, Ricky Williams and Frank Gore all topped that number in offenses run by Turner and Mathews told Peter King that Turner is thinking about one of those backs when he looks forward to the 2012 season.
“Coach Turner’s coached a lot of great backs,” Mathews told King for King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column. “He’s told me I remind him of Ricky Williams, which is the kind of back I would like to be. In college I was a workhorse back. I believe I can do that here. My training has really improved, and I’ve set high standards for myself. I shouldn’t come off the field at all this year.”
There would appear to be two potential stumbling blocks to Mathews becoming the bell cow in San Diego. The nagging injuries that have held Mathews back in his first two seasons would be one concern and his 10 fumbles over those two years would be the other. Both of those things could become major problems with that kind of workload so Mathews still has to prove he’s up to the task that the Chargers have carved out for him.