Ryan Mathews made his 2012 regular season debut for the San Diego Chargers in a week three loss against the Atlanta Falcons. Mathews had 10 rushing attempts, 44 rushing yards and a fumble which led to an Atlanta touchdown.
Mathews had 11 fumbles in 27 games prior to Sunday’s win against the Kansas City Chiefs. Chargers head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith stressed that Mathews needed to stop fumbling so much.
According to Brian Murphy of fftoolbox.com, Turner was quoted as saying, “So while we’re getting Ryan to where he can play an extended period and protect the ball, there are certain situations where we can limit his exposures.”
Smith was quoted as saying “When you get the call to go back on the field and the fumbling continues, then you will be somebody else’s fumbler.”
Jackie Battle led San Diego with 15 rushing attempts on Sunday, but Mathews had 14 rushing attempts for 61 rushing yards which is an increase in his attempts from week three.
Mathews must have shown the coaching staff something in practice because with the statements made by Smith and Turner, one would have expected to see less touches for him.
Mathews had five fumbles in 12 games as a rookie in 2010 and five in 14 games last season.
I think Mathews has a shot at being great because he was 10th in the NFL last season in rushing yards and no one in the top 10 in rushing yards matched Mathews’ 4.9 yards per attempt.
Mathews has to cut down on his fumbles which I think will happen sooner rather than later.