Ryan Mathews played in his first regular season game for the San Diego Chargers in 2012 on Sunday. Mathews had 10 rushing attempts, 44 rushing yards, five receptions, 32 receiving yards and a lost fumble against the Atlanta Falcons.
Mathews has 11 fumbles in 27 games for his career which is not even two full NFL seasons. According to Brian Murphy of fftoolbox.com, San Diego head coach Norv Turner said that Mathews’ fumble tendencies could lead to fewer opportunities.
Mathews had five fumbles in 12 games as a rookie during the 2010 NFL season. Mathews was tied for fourth in the league with former teammate Mike Tolbert among running backs in this category.
Mathews had five fumbles last season in 14 games which was tied for the NFL lead among running backs with former Cincinnati Bengals RB Cedric Benson.
In 2010, Mathews averaged 13.2 rushing attempts per game which ranked 28th in the league among running backs. In 2011, Mathews was at 15.9 attempts per game which ranked 20th among players at the RB position.
Mathews is developing a reputation for being injury prone because he missed five games during the 2008 NCAA season, missed four games as a rookie in 2010, missed two games last season and two games so far this season.
Mathews needs to fix this problem with fumbles because a primary RB who does not get that many rushing attempts compared to other running backs should not be so likely to fumble. Mathews does not need this to stick with him to go along with his injury problems.
San Diego believed in Mathews because they traded up from the 28th pick in round one to the 12th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft in order to get him. San Diego needs to see signs of improvement from Mathews at some point this season.