Danny Woodhead will take pressure away from Ryan Mathews

By Kenny Gardner
Danny Woodhead San Diego Chargers
Melina Vastola-USA Today Sports

According to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, the San Diego Chargers signed former New England Patriots running back Danny Woodhead to a two year deal today.

Woodhead spent time with the New York Jets before he became a Patriot.  Woodhead is coming off a 2012 season in which he had four rushing touchdowns which equaled San Diego’s team total.

In his career, Woodhead has 265 carries and averages 4.8 yards per attempt.  Woodhead averaged 4.0 yards per attempt in 2012 and San Diego averaged 3.6 yards per attempt which ranked 31st in the NFL.

A major problem for San Diego’s rushing attack was the decline of Ryan Mathews.  Mathews missed four games, but he had about 60 percent of the team’s rushing attempts per game.  Mathews averaged a career low 3.8 yards per attempt to go along with a career low one rushing touchdown.

San Diego’s primary backup was Jackie Battle who averaged 3.3 yards per attempt.  Ronnie Brown averaged 4.8 yards per attempt, but he did not get many attempts per game.

When Mathews was out with an injury, Battle appeared to be poised for a solid season as a backup.  Battle had 14 attempts, 69 yards and two touchdowns in a week two win over the Tennessee Titans.

Battle averages 3.6 yards per attempt for his career, so his decline was not a surprise.  Battle and Brown are unrestricted free agents and so is Curtis Brinkley.  Battle, Brown and Brinkley ranked second, third and fourth on San Diego’s roster in rushing attempts last season.

Brinkley averaged 2.9 yards per attempt last season and averages 3.2 for his career, so I would not be surprised if Brown was brought back, but I do not expect San Diego to re-sign Battle or Brinkley.

Woodhead is a needed addition for a team that lacked explosiveness in their run game last season.  Woodhead is capable of taking pressure away from Mathews which needed to be addressed this offseason.

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