Mathews could benefit from zone blocking scheme

August 30, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Injured San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) helps warm up his teammates before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

With Ryan Mathews having a sub-par season last year, it wouldn’t hurt to switch up the blocking scheme. If done right, the zone blocking scheme can work. But if you don’t have the right players in the right position, it can blow up on you in a heart beat, just ask the Oakland Raiders.

Mike McCoy knows how to put personnel where it needs to  be to have a successful offense. When Kyle Orton wasn’t working out, McCoy implemented the Tim Tebow offense. Now, San Diego isn’t going to be running a “Tim Tebow style offense” but the point is, McCoy can take a sub-par player like Tebow and turn him into a ball player. With that, he always knows who to bring in on the coaching staff. He sought out Buffalo Bills offensive line coach Joe D’Allisandris, who used the zone blocking scheme in Buffalo.

Under D’Allisandris’ scheme, the Bills rushed for 5.0 yards per carry last season. They ranked 6th overall in rushing yards per game in 2012. With two guys like CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson, the Bills have had one of the better rushing attacks in the past two seasons. They did that with Spiller and Jackson, who are both injury prone.

Ringing any bells?

With Mathews in the Chargers backfield, D’Allisandris could make his numbers rise. One thing the Bills didn’t have was a quarterback. A run game can help a quarterback greatly. When a team lines up on defense and has to worry about being burnt on the ground and through the air, I’d say the offense has the upper hand. It works both ways. A solid passing game can help the run game, also.

Nov 1, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) warms up before a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

One thing Mathews will have to make significant improvement on is his pass catching abilities. Spiller ran for 1,244 yards last season but he also caught 43 passes for 459 yards. A pass-catching running back is what makes this style of blocking go the distance. Mathews has shown glimpses of his ability to catch passes out of the back field. Last year he snagged 39 catches for 252 yards.

Another issue is pass blocking. Jackson is one of the better pass blocking running backs in the league. But this brings up another issue: a two back system. It goes without saying that the Chargers will likely look for a back to compliment Mathews.

It’ll be awhile before McCoy starts bringing in the guys he wants. Free agency starts March 12 and McCoy will use that and April’s draft to get the guys he wants.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Welch1048. 

Topics: Mike Mccoy, Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers

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