The San Diego Chargers are five days away from their 2012 regular season opener on the road against the Oakland Raiders. San Diego’s starting running back Ryan Mathews broke his clavicle against the Green Bay Packers on August 9, 2012.
Mathews was expected to miss 4-6 weeks at the time of his injury. In an interview last week, Chargers head coach Norv Turner said that he would like one of his backups to handle the workload if Mathews does not play against Oakland.
Turner described former Miami Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown as a complete player. If Mathews does not play against Oakland, Brown should receive most of the rushing attempts.
In four career games against Oakland, Brown had 70 rushing attempts, 378 yards and two rushing touchdowns. This is an average of about 95 yards per game and 5.4 yards per attempt.
Brown has experience in the NFL because he started in 71 of the 76 games that he appeared in for Miami from 2005-2010. Brown was a Pro Bowl RB in 2008 when he had 214 rushing attempts, 916 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.
Brown followed up that season with 147 rushing attempts, 648 yards and eight rushing touchdowns in nine games.
Jackie Battle only started in four of the 48 games that he appeared in from 2007-2011, Curtis Brinkley has 32 rushing attempts in his career for 112 yards and one touchdown while Le’Ron McClain had 89 rushing attempts, 316 yards and three rushing touchdowns from 2009-2011.
Brown’s yards per attempt average went from 4.4 in 2009 to 3.7 in 2010 to 3.2 in 2011, but he has the most success against Oakland among San Diego’s backups and a change of scenery could help him.
In five career games against Oakland, Battle had 39 rushing attempts, 156 yards and no touchdowns. In four career games against Oakland, McClain had 10 rushing attempts, 49 yards and one TD. In two games against the Raiders, Brinkley had 16 rushing attempts, 52 yards and no touchdowns.
Mathews practiced two days ago for the first time since his injury, so this could be a mute point. If Mathews is not ready by Monday, Brown receiving most of the workload makes sense.