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Ryan Mathews fights on to prove worth (2013 version)

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by CoronaDoug, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. CoronaDoug
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    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    Ryan Mathews fights on to prove worth


    Ryan Mathews is the boxer after Round 10, left eye swollen, right wrist broken, nose bloodied, sitting in the Red Corner black and blue.

    The bell rings. The medic leaves. Mathews stands.

    His gloves are raised to swing again.

    Say this about the Chargers running back: After a season that went all wrong, that began and ended with surgery, that bolted 12 metal screws to his shoulders, six to the right and six to the left, he still believes he can win his fight.

    He still believes, Mathews recently said in his first public comments since breaking a second clavicle in four months, he can help the Chargers win. He still believes he'll become a top running back.

    A No. 12 draft choice whom San Diego traded up 16 spots to select in 2010, he still believes he can prove his team right after all.

    "It’s time for me to show them why they bumped up all the spots they did to draft me," Mathews, 25, said. "I’ve shown greatness at times, and I’ve shown I can be the worst player at times. You’ve got to be consistent, and that’s what I plan to do, Just be a little more consistent player and just be the guy they knew when they drafted."

    If his three seasons have been 10 turns of a 12-round fight, by now, some are tempted to call it.

    Within the organization, while faith remains Mathews can become a good player, there is some doubt he'll become the player that was envisioned three years ago.
    He's yet to seize a full-time role. He's made strides, but he must further refine the technical aspects of the position, be less a brawler and more a boxer in the ring, showing the polish that'll make him reliable on a down-to-down basis.

    Running back Ronnie Brown was the crisper receiver last season.

    As well as wanting to keep Mathews fresh, the strength in that receiving role is what kept Brown often on the field in the two-minute and third-down offenses.

    Brown ran a route on 60.4 percent of his offensive snaps. Mathews: 42.1.

    The offseason is about making gains, about showing up to April's voluntary workouts in better form than the December before, about building on that improvement throughout OTAs and minicamp and into training camp.

    Mathews has plans.

    He's spoken to different trainers, coaches and players. He'll be applying their advice while working out in San Diego.

    Asked for specifics, he politely declines with the same quiet confidence he carried in the 2012 offseason when he had all the world's momentum.

    "Ya'll see," Mathews said. "Ya'll see."

    When Mathews says the word "clavicle," his frustration hangs off the final syllable.
    The two bone breaks happened the same way, an opposing linebacker slamming atop his body after he'd been tackled.

    He called it "bad luck" and a "freak thing."

    "I came into this season missing two games with my right broken clavicle," Mathews said. "I left the season missing two games with a left broken clavicle. They say bad things come in threes. Hopefully, all mine are done. All mine are done, and I'll be good.

    "If not, I'm just going to keep taking my punches and keep working and doing what I need to do to better myself."


    http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jan/07/ryan-mathews-chargers-broken-clavicle/
  2. Fossil
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    Fossil BoltTalker

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    Hope he spends part of his rehab time studying game tapes of RBs that know how to hit a moving hole.
  3. CoronaDoug
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    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    If he could break a long run like he can a clavicle then he would be good. :giggle:
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  4. Lance19
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    Lance19 BoltTalker

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    I see serious ability.
    I see serious effort.
    I see a great attitude.
    I see bolts on the side of his helmet.

    I'm going to continue to pull for this kid.


    p.s. And no, I'm obviously not blind to the two big concerns: Injury & fumbles.
    But--as frustrating as they are--RM's injuries aren't really much out of line with
    most NFL running backs...it's an injury-riddled position at this level. LT was an
    absolute freak who may've led some Charger fans to think it's normal for an NFL
    RB to go week after week, season after season without injury. As far as fumbles, RM
    fumbled once every 31.6 carries his rookie season, down to 44.4 in 2011, and further
    down to once every 92 carries in 2012. Still higher than we want, but
    indisputable & significant improvement.
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  5. SayOw
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    SayOw BoltTalker

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    Every season since he has been drafted hopes have been high and every season Mathews has disappointed.

    No 1,000 yards, no 100 yard games, no long runs...

    Fumbles, missed blocks, sideline duty on third down and injured ... that is the player that was drafted to replace LT has been good for.

    Any way the team could shed him would likely benefit the team more than trying to retain him, cross your fingers and HOPE he can perform better than he has in any of his previous seasons with the Chargers.

    He was wishful thinking when he was drafted and every season since then...but has never elevated beyond "wishful" thinking for the Chargers.
  6. Lance19
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    Lance19 BoltTalker

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    SayOw, kindly share your list of #12 draft picks that "replaced" Hall of Famers
    (I was not aware that this is common in the NFL)
  7. SayOw
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    SayOw BoltTalker

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    I think you can find that list as easily as I could...but why would you want that list in regards to the topic on hand?

    The topic on hand, is the discussion of Ryan Mathews. I think the Chargers have spent enough time and resources on him that could safely justify his dismissal from the squad due to lack of performance.
  8. Lance19
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    Lance19 BoltTalker

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    If the goal were really to "justify dismissal from the squad due to lack of performance" you could
    do that for almost every player on this squad in 2012.

    And no, no realistic person expected Mathews to fill the shoes ("replace") of a Hall of Famer like LT.
    RM's career so far has been frustrating due to injury, but the fact that he's shown flashes of brilliance,
    and still put up over 3,300 yards from scrimmage despite numerous injuries, suggests that letting
    him go somewhere else is unwise, at this time.
  9. SayOw
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    SayOw BoltTalker

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    True. But I would also factor in the number of years a player has underperformed as well. Not just one season would justify dismissal, but a consistent level of under performance surely warrants dismissal. Also, especially in this instance, is when you factor in the amount of resources devoted towards this skill position, I think it only becomes even more apparent to do something about this deficiency sooner rather than later.

    This is where I disagree. I don't see the "flashes of brilliance" that so many Mathews defenders have.
    He is not durable. He has not been able to break off long runs. He does not block well. And most glaringly, he turns the ball over. Letting him go "somewhere" assumes some other team would actually pick him up...I don't know of any team that would put much value on Mathews if he were to become a free agent.
  10. Lance19
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    First, I could see the Raiders grabbing him...as Mathews has outperformed (and would be cheaper than)
    their #4 pick McFadden.
    Second, though Mathews' longest run so far is 39 yards, anyone who's watched him has seen him
    a half step from a 70 yarder maybe 15 times. He hasn't mastered that final open field juke, the way
    Sproles has, but when he does, with his speed, the long runs are inevitable. And though he sometimes
    misses a hole, more often he forces his way for 4 yards, where he should've been stopped for 1.
    To give up on this guy now...and divert a high draft pick from more pressing needs (O-line, corner, etc.)
    just doesn't make sense. We're all disappointed that his career hasn't been better so far,
    but that doesn't mean that we should lose perspective about what he has shown...
  11. CoronaDoug
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    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    You all know my opinion of Matthews so I will not rehash. I just hope the next person picking players will draft or sign a good insurance policy RB.
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  12. SayOw
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    SayOw BoltTalker

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    And that is what I base my opinion on....on what he has shown. What he has shown is that he is not up to the task of being a serviceable NFL runningback, let alone, a feature back. I don't see the almost half step away from breaking one but I do see the multiple fumbles, the injuries and lackluster performance runningbacks with considerable less pay could easily accomplish as well.
  13. Lance19
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    Lance19 BoltTalker

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    Well, I'm hardly "all in" on Mathews...if the injuries or fumbles continue to be
    a problem, then I'd certainly be inclined to support finding a new #1 back
    (obviously he needs a decent back-up, at least, for now)

    But, just as I'm not one to dwell on Gruden's 2002 success, and ignore his more
    recent poor performance, I'm not going to forever crucify Mathews re. fumbles
    if he truly continues to make significant improvement.
    He touched the ball 223 times in 2012, and fumbled twice.
    (or, as many times as Ray Rice fumbled within 42 minutes on Sunday)
  14. SayOw
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    SayOw BoltTalker

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    I think he has had ample opportunity to "prove" himself. Chargers should get what they can for him or let him walk, imo. Going another year, keeping your fingers crossed, that THIS could be the year Mathews does something could easily be replaced with a late round hopeful that has something that they want to prove on the field...and if that is the scenario presented with me, I'd gladly take the latter and the unknown than Mathews and his history.
  15. DenverBolt67
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    100% disagree. I have no faith that he will be LT or anything close to it, but I do think he can be a capable back if we had a line that could block better than 5 random people on this board. He will need to be in a platoon as I don't see him as a 30 carry guy, but he is still on his rookie contract and is relatively cheap. According to roto world, he will be making $1,195,500 in 2013 and $1,478,250 in 2014. So yes I think we need to plan to bring someone else in, and likely draft a guy that can replace him after 2014, but he is 1 year removed from beign a 1000 yard RB (plus another 455 receiving), and $1.1 mil for that is cheap (Ronnie Brown got $1 mil as a FA last year with less than 600 total yards)
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  16. Lance19
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    Lance19 BoltTalker

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    Well, I've studied this game long enough to know that guys with Mathews' skill set don't
    come along very often. A late round pick is unlikely to be anywhere near as good, and
    theres virtually NO reason to believe that that kid would be significantly more durable,
    given the high RB injury rate...there's a reason their careers are about 3 years...
    In the end, it just comes down to opinion, and I simply trust my judgement on this more than yours.
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  17. Blue Bolt
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    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    I thought of posting this last night, but felt better of it. ;)

    Didn't we read all this stuff at the beginning of the year?....... "I'm going to prove to fans...... Blah, blah, blah."
  18. SayOw
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    SayOw BoltTalker

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    And the year before that and the year before that...
  19. SayOw
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    SayOw BoltTalker

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    I think keeping players because they are "cheap" is not a good way to build a football team.
  20. Ikeman83
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    Ikeman83 Werter Pöbel

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    Mathews was a waste of a draftpick (or rather, 2). At this point, all that can be hoped for is that he at least puts on a good showing next season in his contract year to allow the team to get some quality production out of him. If he plays well, they'll try to extend him or else F-tag him. There's no reason to cut him, but there's also no reason to expect that he'll be a feature back, get through an entire season, or be what Smitty was hoping he'd be when he traded up for him.
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  21. Bolts4lyfe
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    I think Mathews would have had a better season if our O line wasnt terrible, he started every game he played running strong running hard, then halftime happened and like most of our second half games we all know what happened there
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  22. Skuzzlebutt
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    Skuzzlebutt BoltTalker

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    I agree with most of what you say, and I will pull for RM24. However, for me, the most frustrating thing has NOT been the injuries. It has been his in ability to pick up block schemes, not be good enough for 3rd down even when healthy and have his coach say he lacks vision. I could excuse away a couple of items here or there, but there is just mounting evidence that this kid is not super bright and not capable of every down elite play.

    He says all the right things, and more power to him, but he is losing the benefit of the doubt with me. I hope to see him with a good O-line so we can see what he has, but I'm worried that even in a good situation he will not earn his draft status.
  23. HEXEDBOLT
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    HEXEDBOLT Well-Known Member

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    I still hold out hope for Rygina, not high, but hope. He signed a #12 contract and hasn't earned it and that's all on AJ, who is gone. Rygina needs to take the advice of the vets and coaches who really want him to succeed and be the guy. He has shown signs but it's like constipation with him, we're all still waiting, shite or get off the pot.
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  24. ChargerMike
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    ChargerMike BoltBruthaFromAnuthMutha

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    I'm ready to cut ties with this bust.
    This is a "what have you done lately" league.....which has been squat for 3 long years....
  25. Lance19
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    I realize that there's no agreed upon criteria for "bust," but can a non-Top Ten draft pic,
    averaging over 1,100 yards from scrimmage his first 3 seasons really be a bust?

    Now, I don't play the fantasy stuff, or live in a fantasy world where all players meet or
    exceed fans' draft day hopes, but don't we have to interject some reality here, at some point?

    Let's look at Mathews' own RB draft class, in order:

    1) Spiller - 2,973 yards from scrimmage
    2) Mathews - 3,328 yards from scrimmage
    3) J. Best - 1,719 yards from scrimmage
    4) McCluster - converted to WR
    5) Gerhart - 1,534 yards from scrimmage
    6) Tate - 1,368 yards from scrimmage
    7) Hardesty - 675 yards from scrimmage
    8) McKnight - 679 yards from scrimmage
    9) Dixon - 137 yards from scrimmage
    10) Karim - 420 yards from scrimmage
    11) Dwyer - 886 yards from scrimmage
    12) Starks - 1,196 yards from scrimmage
    13) Scott - Zero yards from scrimmage
    14) Bonus - Undrafted because a-hole: LeGarrette Blount 2,103 yards from scrimmage

    Okay, so here's the productivity of the RBs drafted in 2010...we'll throw in Blount,
    though he wasn't drafted, and his productivity appears to be over.
    Now, obviously most of these guys had lower expectations, but there's no getting
    around the fact that Mathews has been more productive then every other RB of his draft class,
    including the top running back, "can't miss" prospect C.J. Spiller.
    Now, again, I've never argued that Charger fans aren't, or shouldn't be disappointed so far...
    but can a guy who is the clear king of his class--in measurable productivity--really be a "bust?"
    (especially if he wasn't even the first RB drafted?)

    If so, the label just has little meaning, anymore...
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  26. CoronaDoug
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    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    I wish I didn't post it now. :rolleyes:

    I don't get the man crush that some have on this guy. I guess Kaeding had his fans too. :p
  27. CoronaDoug
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    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    How many of these RB's were drafted to be the starter? You really can't compare RB's stats because it has to do with the system they are drafted into. Is it a one back system? Running team?

    We know you really like this guy. It is a fact that he has not stayed healthy, has had fumble issues, and has had problems picking up the blitz. He has not lived up to his expectations. He is not the first and will not be the last. This will all play out for him next season unless we draft a back and he has an Alfred Morris type season.
  28. Fossil
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    Not calling RM a bust, in fact I wish he'd have a break out season, I think he has the physical tools.
    But if he doesn't get coached up or finally have that Sylvania 150w bulb in his head click on by itself, I fear we'll just hear more excuses out of the guy.

    Here's the list RM should be concerned about, 2012 rushing totals:

    Adrian Peterson, 2,097 yards, 12 TDs.
    Ryan Mathews, 707 yards, one TD.
    Below AP and above RM? 24 running backs
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  29. Lance19
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    Lance19 BoltTalker

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    You've got it backwards, Doug.

    I don't post the facts because I like the guy.

    I like the guy because he's really talented...the stats just help
    explain it for those who haven't seen a lot of running backs.
    (or compare backs to fictional ideals...instead of other backs)

    I'm real aware of the fumbling, blocking and injury issues. But I
    also know that every guy has issues...so some perspective is useful when
    guys are crying about what a disaster they loudly pronounce Mathews to be.


    p.s. If you read my post, I mentioned the lower expectations, etc.
    of later picks...but when comparing Mathews to Spiller & Best,
    I figured someone would accuse me of cherry-picking...so I listed 'em all!
  30. CoronaDoug
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    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    I am glad you like the guy. He needs fans. When I think of "talented backs" he does not show up on my radar.

    Unfortunately for RB's their shelf life is pretty short. He is going to need to get it together fast before his replacement is on the roster.
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