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Ryan Mathews not viewed as Chargers' three-down RB

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Concudan, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap10...n-mathews-not-viewed-as-chargers-threedown-rb

    • By Chris Wesseling
    • Around the League Writer
    • Published: June 26, 2013 at 07:26 p.m.
    • Updated: June 27, 2013 at 08:33 a.m.

    Ryan Mathews recently acknowledged that he's been "just an average back" since the San Diego Chargers traded up to select him at No. 12 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft.
    He's gotten no argument from frustrated fantasy football leaguers or the Chargers' top beat writer.
    UT-San Diego's Michael Gehlken said Tuesday on Footballguys.com's "The Audible" podcast that he had picked up on a "pretty clear sense" toward the end of last season that Mathews would never become the player theChargers envisioned when they drafted him.
    Former general manager A.J. Smith drafted Mathews to be a three-down workhorse, but "you can count the number of third-down receptions he's had in his career on two hands," Gehlken said. Norv Turner's coaching staff never trusted Mathews' pass protection or route running in high-leverage third-down or two-minute drill situations.
    The new regime has talked up Mathews as a potential "bellcow back" who needs more help from the offensive line and a bigger role in the passing game.

    The front office's actions suggest otherwise. With veteranRonnie Brown already on the roster, the Bolts signed passing-down specialist Danny Woodhead away from the New England Patriots. Outside of Vincent Brown and perhaps Philip Rivers, Woodhead was the Chargers' most impressive player in spring practices.
    "So Woodhead is going to be a big part of this thing," Gehlken said. "Woodhead is just better in a lot of areas than Ryan Mathews."
    Mathews still has a chance to carve out a career as a solid early-down running back if he can shake the injury bug, but the Bolts seem to have come to grips with his limitations. He's not going to be the perennial Pro Bowl player Smith once envisioned.
    Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
     
  2. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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  3. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Another of AJ's solid 1st round selections.
     
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  4. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    He hasn't even been a solid one down back yet!!!!!!
     
  5. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

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    Oh, come on, he's had a few good downs here and there.
     
  6. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    Inconsistent at best!
     
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  7. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    :rolleyes: silly exaggeration.
     
  8. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Why would he be viewed as a 3-down back in the NFL, when he's never been one? He was most productive when he was splitting carries with Tolbert. Mathews is never going to be an LT replacement.
     
  9. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    Well technically he is LT's replacement weather you like it or not. If you're saying he's never going to be LT....no freakin sh*t. 99% of the RBs in this league have no hope of becoming LT, even Adrian Peterson himself isn't 1/4 the receiver or pass blocker that LT was at 28.

    As for the 3rd down back thing, he did catch 50 passes in 2011, and 40 last year despite the inuries. The only reason he's not considered a 3rd down back is because of pass blocking, and we have no idea if he's improved in that area since 2o11 because Norv avoided those situations like the plague last year.


    And I gotta say what a stupid headline for an article. Wesseling made it sound like the Chargers were giving up on RM...yet the only opinion he got was Gehlkin's own personal opinion of RM and Woodhead.
     
  10. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    I don't expect to see Mathews used often in 3rd down situations..... therefore, I wouldn't call him a 3-down back.

    Why would we sign Woodhead and keep Brown, if the Chargers had any confidence in Mathews as a 3rd down option? Both of those guys are not backups for Mathews in a true sense, they both have skills that Mathews is lacking in...... namely, as a 3rd down pass catcher/pass blocker.
     
  11. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    Well like I said Mathews has good hands, 90 catches over the last 2 years, so I think it could be argued that he's at least the equal of Woodhouse in pass catching.


    I think Woodchuck will probably get 10-15 touches per game, but by taking Mathews out we're basically telling the other team we're going to pass, so it's in the best interest of the coaching staff to work his *** off in pass pro during camp and try to force the issue of him becoming a 3 down back.
     
  12. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    You may think Mathews' pass catching skills are comparable to Woodhead, but you may be alone in that assessment.

    And what's with the call a player by every other name but his actual given name? A bit juvenile isn't it.
     
  13. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    Why would I be alone in that assessment? Numbers bear it out, it's not like I pulled the opinion out of my *** and said "just accept this."

    I mean no disrespect to Woodpecker by purposely getting his name wrong, it's just a fun name to mess with. Interesting question from a guy who claims to have a sense of humor.
     
  14. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    It's not like Norv didn't want Mathews to become a 3-down back, he just didn't show the aptitude..... and his fumbling was a problem. How many years does a guy need to show what he's capable of?

    Oh, it's fun to play around with people's names? I guess I'll just call you Madeline from now on.... I can certainly see the humor in that.
     
  15. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    3 years is usually the accepted length of time, and some positions don't even get that. The good news is RM only lost 2 fumbles last year, he's shown he can average 5 ypc over the length of a season, and that he can catch the ball and do something with it. The bad news is he can't seem to stay healthy, and his pass protection is kept him off the field in NORV'S offense. An offense where the passing game is completely built on 7 step drops, play action, and long developing routes where its almost guaranteed the RB will have to pick up a free running defensive player.

    (I think it's relevant to mention here that even Adrian Peterson lost 7 fumbles in year 3, he is still a poor pass blocker, and he is virtually ineffective after catching passes.)

    I think there is hope for RM on 3rd downs this year because it sounds like the McCoy/Wiz passing game is going to have a heavier screen game, more 3 to 5 step drops and short to medium routes that take pressure off pass protection. So like the Vikings with AP, this more modern NFL offense should allow him to stay on the field more on obvious passing downs even if he doesn't improve his pass pro.
     
  16. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    would you two call each other a Ninny ninny poo poo and get it over with already....
     
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  17. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    I don't resort to name calling..... that's Madeline's forte. ;)
     
  18. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    Sure, you can say that you project Mathews as a better fit for McCoy's offense, but until we see him on the field, that's purely speculation. Part of his fumbling issue is due to his upright running style (like Peterson). The problem is that Mathews has never been able to make those big break away runs, or stay healthy enough to be the player he was drafted to be. He doesn't show great instincts as far as hole recognition (or pass protection), so I still see him in a limited role.

    That's why I said he'll never be an LT replacement. I didn't mean matching his production, I meant that he isn't a complete back like Tomlinson was.
     
  19. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    Well lets not assume there are holes to run through to begin with. Running power O behind Mike Harris, Ty Greene, Nick Hardwick, Jeromy Clary and even Luis Vasquez it's probably hard to find a hole to run through. Most of the time last year he just lowered his head and tried to push the pile on the obligatory 1st down dive play Norv loved so much.

    That said I agree the lack of long runs is mind boggling to me because he's actually very good (not LT level, but good) at making the 1st guy miss in space, he has an excellent stiff arm move, and ran in the low 4.4s at the combine. I would expect at least a few 50 yard carries by now, I have no explanation for that. And of course there is no arguing his health, it's getting frustrating.

    I do think he's closer to a complete back than you think, you've just been jaded by LT's decade of dominance.
     
  20. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    Tongue in cheek dude, I'd love nothing more than for Rygina to tear it up this year.
     
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  21. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Who are you and what have you done with hex?!
     
  22. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    Ca'mon Conc, Rivers slide has coincided with the loss of Tomlinson and the poor play of what we call an offensive line, not to mention shipping Sproles off. Teams don't respect the LOS when the Bolts have the ball and if the kid can get on a roll this year the team will be 180 degree difference than the previous two years. JMHO.
     
  23. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

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    I think the deterioration of the OL is a much bigger factor than losing Tomlinson, but for the most part I wholeheartedly agree with your post here.
     
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  24. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Ahhh.. How did you get from talking about Mathews to talking about your man-crush? Just wonderin...
     
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  25. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    I certainly think he will benefit from better blocking upfront, but just how much it will improve remains to be seen. The thing with Mathews, is that he's got great athletic ability, but he doesn't show great awareness........ LT had both.

    What I see in Mathews, is a guy who has the physical tools to be a standout player, but his vision (or decision making) is lacking. LT didn't always have big holes to run through either, but he knew when to hit them, how to get through them, and how to elude tacklers once he as beyond the line. Mathews has gotten through the line and been in position to have a big run, but he takes a bad angle and gets caught before he can make a big play.

    Being a great athlete doesn't necessarily make you a great football player. Mathews hasn't taken the next step from his college days. At this point, I wonder if he ever will. His lack of durability just adds to that uncertainty.
     
  26. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Well-Known Member

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    I tend to agree with your assessment, and I'll add that one of the fumbles Mathews lost last year was in his first game back from a major injury. It's not uncommon for an RB who has not been hit in over a month to put one on the ground in his first game back. But the fact that he only fumbled one other time in his last 11 games (200+ touches) is a good sign.

    The biggest concern with Mathews is health. His running style seems to make him more prone to injuries. I doubt the new coaches will do much to change that, but that doesn't mean RM's luck can't change on the injury front. He's overdue.
     
  27. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Well-Known Member

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    The thing that was so frustrating a couple years ago when he averaged 5.0 ypc is that it could have been so much better. He didn't seem to have trouble making the first or even the second guy miss. But for some reason he had trouble making the last guy miss. He would break off a great run, be in space one-on-one and get tackled. It seemed to happen repeatedly. There were quite a few 10+ yard runs that could have been 30+ yard runs.
     
  28. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    I reckon you didn't notice the "team" has struggled the last couple years and I believe Rivers is/was on the team?

     
  29. matilack

    matilack #therealagent47

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    Not sure Tomlinson had much to do with it, in 2009 we had the worst rushing game in the league with LT and we won 13 games. Then 2010 was arguably Rivers' best year in the league so far, we finished 1st in total offense and 2nd in scoring WITHOUT LT, Vincent Jackson for 13 games, and Gates and Floyd for half the year....and again with no help from the running game.

    I would argue Rivers' slide started in 2011 (Mathews' best season so far) when McNeill's play started to drop off after his offseason neck surgery. Then of course we lost McNeill and Dielman for good, and the offensive scheme didn't change a lick to make up the difference.

    In short what I'm saying is I believe Rivers' problems begin and end with the O-line, and Norv Turner exacerbating the problem. It doubt the running game makes much of a difference.
     
  30. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    I reckon you are incapable of answering the question. So be it.

    Before you go giving your man-crush a pass, you might want to review some of the games where Ricers is rolling out with zero pressure and throwing the ball straight to the defense. You cant pin all his woes on everyone else. He needs to up his play along with the O-L, RB etc...
     
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