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.