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Mathews shakes off nerves, shines in debut

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    BY SCOTT BAIR - sbair@nctimes.com | Posted: August 14, 2010 11:31 pm

    SAN DIEGO -- Ryan Mathews didn't sleep at all Friday night.
    He tossed and turned the hours away, unable to take his mind off the task ahead. Anxiety took hold of the Chargers rookie running back and never let go, not even in the predawn hours of a big day at work.
    He tried to focus on the routine, including a rookies-only meeting before Saturday night's preseason opener against the Chicago Bears at Qualcomm Stadium. His mom made him breakfast and tried to distract him with tales of his first football game at age 7.
    The memories calmed his nerves, but only in the short term. Once he got to the modern-day coliseum packed with fans awaiting his professional debut, all bets were off. He took a lap around the field and felt nauseous. He went inside and when he threw his gear on, reality struck.
    "That's when I raced for the bathroom and threw up," Mathews said. "I wasn't concerned by it. It's all part of the experience."
    If Mathews hadn't disclosed such information, no one would have guessed. He seemed genuinely comfortable in a 25-10 victory over Chicago. While his emotions were hidden, he was efficient in what was undoubtedly a good first impression.
    The No. 12 overall selection, Mathews recorded 50 yards on nine carries -- a whopping 5.6 yards per carry -- and 11 more on two receptions.
    Contrary to what a reactionary faction of the fan base might say, an evaluation can't be made on such a small sample -- especially in an exhibition. Hidden within the numbers, however, were encouraging signs.
    "It was going fast at first, but it started slowing down as the game went on," Mathews said. "The goal was to stay patient in my mind and fast with my feet."
    There was a sweep near his own end zone, when Mathews absorbed contact from Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs and turned a near-broken play into an 18-yard gain. There was a screen pass corralled and turned into a 7-yard gain. There were second-quarter runs of 8 and 9 yards gained with speed, youthful exuberance and a willingness to fight through tackles.
    Most impressive, however, was Mathews' ability to produce when the Chargers needed it. He worked for 3 yards on a fourth-and-1 run, which continued a drive that culminated in a touchdown.
    It was the kind of effort that impressed even those who see him every day.
    "You trust what you see," Chargers coach Norv Turner said. "I've been watching him work for some time now, and he's got all tools you need to be an outstanding runner. He's physical, he likes to play football, and he's a very mature young man. It's exciting to have him here."
    Mathews provided a spark rarely seen out of the backfield last season, when a LaDainian Tomlinson-led rushing attack averaged just 3.3 yards per carry.
    Mathews doesn't want to be compared to Tomlinson, his boyhood idol, and doesn't want to be celebrated above his contributions to the team effort. In that light, he helped the Chargers move the chains and remain productive on offense into the second quarter. He was involved in three offensive possessions, and two of them ended in touchdowns.
    One of those touchdowns was scored by Legedu Naanee on a 28-yard strike from quarterback Philip Rivers on the offense's second possession. Expected to compensate for the absence of holdout receiver Vincent Jackson, Naanee shined on that route and was consistently open while in the game.
    "I can't say that what we're seeing from him is new," Rivers said. "He's been a quality receiver for some time now, and it's clear that he's coming into his own."
    While there were positives aplenty in the opener -- including stellar play by the special teams -- all was not well. The Chargers committed 10 penalties, nine of which came in the first half.
    "There were things in this game that I'll harp on next week, and the penalties are certainly one," Turner said. "We're doing some different things at the line of scrimmage, and it's hard on the offensive line. It showed tonight, but we'll work on it, get better, and hopefully it won't be an issue once we get into the season."
    Even Mathews found flaws in his game -- he outran his blockers more that once -- but he had a tough time being too picky with a productive start.
    "All in all," he said, "it was a good day."
  2. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

    Jul 27, 2007
    Man, that's a nice pic! Kinda looks like a bigger LT with that visor!
  3. LightEmUp

    LightEmUp Banned Banned

    Apr 9, 2010
    I was impressed with him. Preseason or not he showed why we drafted him.

    He didnt really get a chance to show that burst except for one pitch to the left but if he has a window this kid is taking it to the house.

    Really loved him face planting urlacher. Shows he is ready to play big and not bow down to anyone. We need that!

    Very stoked on 24!
  4. ThunderHorse17

    ThunderHorse17 Lone Wolf

    Apr 10, 2010
    Right on about the nerves and not showing it in the game.

    I didnt see anything close to a rattled player. Deffinatly turning into the 2nd best draft since the 04 draft. Not counting any draft before then since I never paid attention until after we had that amazing kings ransom payoff from NY.
  5. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Chargers' Mathews gets normal exhibition workload

    Aug. 16, 2010
    [​IMG] [FONT=Arial, Helvetica]

    SAN DIEGO (AP) -While predecessor LaDainian Tomlinson usually skipped exhibition games in order to be fresh for the regular season, Ryan Mathews is not following the same philosophy with the San Diego Chargers.

    The rookie running back, who was the No. 12 overall draft pick, has been pushed around a bit during practice and played in Saturday's exhibition win against Chicago.

    Mathews had nine carries for 50 yards and two catches for 11 more yards. Mathews will be treated like most first teamers, with similar playing time on Saturday against Dallas. He'll get an increased workload against New Orleans on Aug. 27 and a tapered amount in the exhibition finale at San Francisco on Sept. 2.

    "He got carries and a couple passes the other night and I'd expect him to stay in that area this week," coach Norv Turner said. "In the third game I'd like to see him get 20 carries and in the last game, as we do with most first teamers, we'll cut that way back to help him stay fresh for the regular season."

    Mathews doesn't mind taking a few shots on his way toward the regular season.

    "It helps me get ready for game action," Mathews said. "I'm not going to run through a hole in a game without being touched, so I don't want to do that in practice. They aren't tackling me out here, but defenders are letting me know they're there.

    "In terms of touches, I'll take as many as he'll give me," Mathews said of Turner. "He knows I need to get ready for the season, and I trust that he'll give me enough to get comfortable out there."

    Turner likes the look of his team after one game.

    "We're going to be an exciting team to watch," Turner said. "If we were talking about buying season tickets this year, I know what my family's answer would be. It's going to be fun in all three phases. We're going to be an exciting team. You call them like you see them, and I know I wouldn't miss it." :yes:

  6. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

    Aug 3, 2006
    Matthews will regress all of us. We will soon lose object permanence with LT.
  7. Lightning's Girl

    Lightning's Girl Mod Chick =) Staff Member Moderator

    Jan 15, 2007
    Yep, I was pretty impressed with this young man myself. The kid can haul *** and make some pretty fancy moves in the bargain. He looked awfully good for a debut performance. I think he'll do nicely. :yes:

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