The Chargers think Ryan Mathews is talented, but not so talented they’re willing to overlook his biggest flaw.
And general manager A.J. Smith has expressed that in the strongest terms, putting Mathews on notice that his fumbling problems won’t be tolerated for long.
“It has to stop. I believe you can improve in ball security. And no one works any harder in trying to get better than Ryan. However, if it continues he will play less,” Smith told Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego. “Extremely talented players like Ryan get multiple opportunities to improve.
“What happens to fumblers is, first, they play less. Second, if it continues while they’re playing on a limited basis, then you don’t play for a while and you get to sit and think about it. Third, when you get the call to go back on the field and the fumbling continues, then you will be somebody else’s fumbler.”
Whoa, tell us how you really fell, A.J.
When Mathews fumbled in the red zone last week against the Falcons, it was his 11th in 27 career games, the sixth he had lost and the third he lost inside the 20.
Then again, Smith was the guy who traded up 16 spots in the first round to take Mathews 12th overall.
So maybe if Mathews doesn’t get a grip on the ball, Smith might become somebody else’s bad-trade maker.