San Diego Chargers feature back Ryan Mathews leads a position that is pretty loaded on the Chargers roster, as they added former Indianapolis Colts RB2 Donald Brown to a group that already included star change-of-pace back Danny Woodhead, who was a huge help to Philip Rivers in the passing game. It will be interesting to see if Mathews receives more or less than the career-high 285 carries he had last season, and it was the first time he played in all 16 games. He shed all of the disappointment in previous years, finally breaking out and becoming a top feature back in the Chargers offense last season.
In an effort to increase his durability and have more 16-game seasons in the future, Mathews has put on some more muscle this offseason. Per the U-T San Diego’s Tom Krasovic, Mathews weighs 222 pounds, which is up from the 215 pounds he weighed in training camp last year. Krasovic noted in his minicamp observations that the RB made some “quick cuts”, so it doesn’t sound like the added muscle will sap any of his explosiveness.
Mathews averaged a steady 4.4 yards per carry last season with six touchdowns, and he was finally durable and consistent. Those are two crucial qualities for him, and he is definitely an integral part of this Chargers team. The Chargers running game will be one of the best in the league next season if Mathews can stay healthy, because they have plenty of talent behind him. Brown and Woodhead can more than hold their own if Mathews goes down, but they need him to stay healthy in order to make the playoffs for a second consecutive season; their offense has to be firing on all cylinders in order to overcome issues in the secondary.