San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews hasn’t earned himself much goodwill over his first three years in the league.
Though he has earned one Pro Bowl selection, the oft-injured former first-round pick still has a lot to prove when it comes to being a viable starting running back in the NFL. He suffered two broken clavicles in the 2012 season, suiting up for only 12 games and starting just nine. Given those circumstances, it’s easy to see why his latest comments on the Chargers’ woes as a team last year don’t sit well with some of his teammates. He believes they were in his words, “complacent,” but a quick look around the locker room will yield different answers.
“I wish he would have just spoken for himself,” linebacker Donald Butler told Michael Gehlken of the U-T San Diego. “That’s all, just speak for yourself. Don’t make generalized statements like that about the whole team.”
Veteran center Nick Hardwick agreed with that sentiment.
“Just from my own personal standpoint, I throw up before every game,” Hardwick said. “I know what kind of work it’s going to take to even get through a game, let alone to win a game.”
There is plenty to improve upon team-wise, but Mathews still has to answer the call to improve on his own before he can include the Bolts collectively. There were a lot of problems on both sides of the ball last season, but if he can’t stay on the field, then all of his rhetoric and talk will be worthless.
One tell-tale sign of where the Chargers are with respect to Mathews’ status on the squad is whether or not they take a running back early in this year’s NFL draft.
San Diego finished 20th in the league in scoring offense with 21.9 points per game. They were 16th in defense in allowing 21.9 per game as well. The lack of a running game gave them inconsistency and a lack of balance when it came to moving the chains, something that new head coach Mike McCoy will address immediately this offseason.
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