Norv won’t say who starting RB is, Mathews OK with that

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Ryan Mathews isn’t “somebody else’s fumbler” yet, but he may not be the Chargers’ starting running back, either.

Such that the distinction matters, Chargers coach Norv Turner isn’t saying whether Jackie Battle or Mathews will start Sunday night against the Saints, according to Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego.

“The starter, we’ll find out on the first play of the game,” Turner said. “It’s not a big deal. One had 14 carries and one had 15 carries, and if we can get that done again, it’ll be outstanding.”

Battle started last week’s game, after the Chargers let it be known they weren’t happy with his ball security, and gained 39 yards on 15 carries, with a pair of touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving).

“I wouldn’t say he lost his starting job,” Battle said. “It’s just a title. He’s still going to get his reps. I’m still going to get mine.”

Mathews eventually got it and ran well, with 61 yards on his 14 rush attempts.

“As long as we get the ‘W’ at the end of the game, that’s all that matters,” Mathews said. “Anybody can start. We’re all getting enough plays to show out. Norv is doing a real good job of getting me, Jackie and Le’Ron [McClain] out there to do what we do best.”

That nobody’s pitching a fit at the moment is a good sign for the Chargers. But it’s clear they’re poking at Mathews a bit to make sure he knows he’s on a short leash, anyway.

18 responses to “Norv won’t say who starting RB is, Mathews OK with that

  1. “I would take Battle over Matthews any day. Matthews always struck me as more of a short yardage and goal line back.”


    What in Matthews NFL career has struck you that makes you assume that he’s a short yardage back/goalline. Was it when he would run the ball down to the goal line and they brought in Tolbert to finish the drive, or is it the fact that he has a fumbling problem (which is not a good trait for goal situations)?

  2. It’s actually the other way around. Mathews’ skill set makes him the featured back, while Battle is the short yardage and goal line back due to his size. Battle is also an effective closer. If he’s used sparingly he can come in with fresh legs in the 4th quarter when the Bolts have a lead and pound a tired defense into submission – like he did against the Titans.

  3. They’re a good thunder and lightening combo. Mathews has good hands, speed, and vision, and can break tackles. Battle can run people over, and I don’t think he’s ever fumbled. Neither can pass protect, though, so Down-at-First-Contact Ronnie Brown is the third down guy. If only Battle could run block they’d have a great two-back set.

  4. In other news NFL fans all over the country are doesn’t know how Norv Turner can still have a job as a head coach.

    Our thoughts in San Diego exactly friend…

  5. Mathews and Battle will be a great 1-2 Punch this season. If they play them the way they did last week in KC, San Diego is going to have a dominating running game.

    Who cares which one is listed as a starter, as long as they’re both playing well and moving to ball Forward.

  6. Matthews is CLEARLY the superior back. Hes one of the top 10 backs when hes healthy. I understand thats a big priblem, but theres no denying what he brings to the chargers. Battle is awful. If he had any talent hevwould still be on the chiefs. Just look at his yards per carry. Its under 3. Lets get serious here, Matthews is the better back by far. Its only a matter of time until Battle is back on the bench, permanently.

    Hey Smith and Turner, this is exactly why no one wants to play for the chargers. But go ahead, keep embarrassing your franchise players. See you guys in the broadcast booth next yeat.

  7. Blueballzny……Actually Battle is averaging over 5 yards per carry this season along with 4 TDs. If he keeps up the pace he will finish with pro bowl caliber numbers. But I agree Mathews the better of the two.

  8. Spanos won’t dump a HC or GM that’s under contract, he’s too cheap.

    I just wish AJ & Norval had lifetime contracts.

  9. Finitesd……. He was able to pad his stats by getting a lot of carries againt teams with awful run defenses. Lets see what his numbers look like after week 8. His past record shows he will not be able to keep putting up gaudy stats.

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