The San Diego Chargers signed veteran running back Ronnie Brown to a one year deal yesterday. Brown was the second pick in round one of the 2005 NFL Draft from the University of Auburn. Brown spent the first six years of his career with the Miami Dolphins where he started 71 of the 76 games he appeared in. Brown’s best season in terms of rushing yards came in 2006 when he had 241 attempts for 1,008 yards. Brown’s best season in terms of touchdowns came in 2008 when he had 10 to go along with 214 attempts and 916 yards.
Brown was the primary running back for Miami in 2010 when he had 200 attempts, 734 yards and five touchdowns in 16 games following a 2009 season in which he had 147 attempts, 648 yards and eight touchdowns in nine games. One of the reasons that Brown struggled in 2010 was due to Chad Henne being Miami’s primary quarterback. In 14 starts, Henne had 15 touchdowns and 19 interceptions, so teams could focus more on Brown. Another reason Brown’s production slowed down was his age. Brown turned 29 years old during the 2010 season, and it seems as though running backs who do not take time off slow down when they are close to the age of 30.
Brown spent his 2011 season with the Philadelphia Eagles and had 42 attempts for 136 yards and one touchdown in 16 games. Although Brown’s production has slowed down, he is still a better option to be the backup to Ryan Mathews than anyone on San Diego’s roster. In Brown’s career, he has 1,170 attempts for 4,951 yards which is an average of 4.2 yards per attempt. Before San Diego signed Brown, Curtis Brinkley and Mathews were the only running backs on their roster with NFL experience. Brinkley has 32 attempts in his career for 112 yards and one touchdown which is an average of 3.5 yards per attempt. The Lightning Bolts planned on using Mathews in third down situations, but it is great that they have another option in the 6-0, 230 pound Brown.
The ideal situation is to have a backup with enough experience to be a starter in case one’s primary guy goes down with an injury. The Chargers have this because they added Brown to their team.