Mathews started 13 of the 14 games that he appeared in last season and this was the first time that he came off the bench since a week 11 loss to the Chicago Bears last season. Mathews had two fumbles against Chicago, and has 11 fumbles in 28 games during his career.
Mathews fumbled on the opponent’s seven yard line in his 2012 regular season debut. San Diego trailed 6-0 at the time of Mathews’ fumble and the Atlanta Falcons would go on to score a touchdown after Mathews fumbled.
Mathews had five fumbles last season which was tied with Cedric Benson for the NFL lead among running backs. After the loss to Atlanta, Chargers general manager A.J. Smith said that Mathews could become someone else’s fumbler.
San Diego head coach Norv Turner said that Mathews’ touches could be limited if he does not cut down on his fumbles. According to the depth chart on San Diego’s team website, Jackie Battle is listed as the number one RB.
Battle started last Sunday’s game against KC and led San Diego in rushing attempts with 15 to go along with a rushing touchdown, 39 yards, four receptions, 42 yards and a TD reception. Mathews had 14 rushing attempts in the win, 61 rushing yards, two receptions and 21 receiving yards.
The depth chart is not set in stone, but Battle could get another start based on the comments from Smith and Turner.
According to Matt De Lima of fftoolbox.com, Turner said that he still has great trust in Mathews.
Mathews led San Diego in rushing attempts for the first time last season which was his second NFL season. Mathews can be a great running back at some point in his career.
Mathews had 222 attempts, 1,091 yards and six rushing touchdowns in 2011. Mathews ranked 10th in the NFL in rushing yards and led players in the top 10 with an average of 4.9 yards per attempt last season.
It will be interesting to see how long Mathews comes off the bench for the Chargers in 2012.