When Mike Tolbert signed a four year deal with the Carolina Panthers on March 19, 2012, it left the San Diego Chargers without a backup running back who had a decent amount of NFL experience. Curtis Brinkley was the only backup RB with NFL experience which was 32 rushing attempts for 112 yards and one touchdown in his career. I openly blasted San Diego’s front office for not making a move to bring in a backup with more experience in case staring RB Ryan Mathews goes down with an injury.
The Chargers added former Miami Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown with a one year deal on June 8, 2012. Brown was the second pick in round one of the 2005 NFL Draft. Brown made the Pro Bowl in 2008 as he had 214 rushing attempts for 916 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also had 200 attempts for 734 yards with five touchdowns in 2010 and averages 4.2 yards per attempt for his career.
San Diego signed former Kansas City Chiefs RB Jackie Battle to a one year deal on July 20, 2012. Battle is coming off of a 2011 season in which he had 149 rushing attempts for 597 yards. In his career, Battle has 190 attempts with an average of 3.8 yards per attempt and four touchdowns. The addition of Battle gives San Diego another RB for security in case Mathews gets hurt. San Diego was 12th in yards per rush attempt in 2011 and 16th in yards per game. The Chargers also have Edwin Baker who was their seventh round pick in 2012 and Michael Hayes was undrafted out of the University of Houston. Baker had 207 attempts for 1,201 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2010 for Michigan State while he had 170 attempts for 665 yards and five touchdowns in 2011, so we will see how this translates in the NFL. Hayes had 150 attempts for 629 yards and eight touchdowns in 2010 and 138 attempts for 727 yards to go along with 11 touchdowns in 2011 for Houston. Some fans have compared Hayes to former Charger Darren Sproles, but we will see if this comparison is accurate. San Diego should be fine at the RB position in 2012.