Ryan Matthews is productive when he’s healthy but putting together a full season has been a bit of a struggle for him. Yes, he can run the ball with authority and make defenders miss but he doesn’t take hits very well at all. Adding another running back and running a two-back system could be beneficial to Matthews’ health as well as the Chargers’ offense.
In his three year career, Matthews is averaging a little over 825 yards per season, only going over 1,000 yards in one of those seasons. He’s crossed the goal line 14 times on the ground in his short career, also. Now, those aren’t awful numbers by any means for a young back but staying healthy has been a problem lately. If we look at his most productive season, 2011, we’ll see what Matthews can be capable of. He ran for 1,091 yards and 6 touchdowns and he only missed two games. Last season, he ran for 707 yards but only scored once in 12 games. If Matthews could put together a complete season, he can produce.
If you take a look at the Chargers offense, it centers around quarterback Phillip Rivers. After the departure of future Hall of Famer running back LaDanian Tomlinson, the offense shifted from a predominately running offesne to a more pass happy offense. Since Tomlinson left the team, San Diego has a record of 24-24 and have missed the playoffs each of the three seasons. Rivers is a good quarterback but his receiving core needs some work and his only reliable target, Antonio Gates, is getting older. It only makes sense that the Chargers will go back to their potent ground game.
Along with Matthews, the Bolts have Ronnie Brown and Jackie Baker on the roster. San Diego will possibly make a play in free agency for a running back like Peyton Hillis or Rashard Mendenhall or they could take a running back like Eddie Lacy in the NFL Draft. Either way, look for the Chargers to pick up another back to take the pressure off of Matthews in the back field.