San Diego Chargers: Will Danny Woodhead Be a Major Part of the Offense?

By Kenny Gardner
Danny Woodhead San Diego Chargers
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Chargers signed former New England Patriots running back Danny Woodhead to a two-year deal in March. Woodhead’s 4.8 yards per rushing attempt for his career should make him a great backup.

According to Brian Murphy of, U-T San Diego beat writer Michael Gehlken said, “Woodhead is going to be a big part of the offense this season because he is just better in a lot of areas than Ryan Mathews.”

Mathews is San Diego’s primary RB, but he set career lows in yards per rushing attempt with 3.8 and rushing touchdowns with one in 2012.  Mathews ranked 23rd in rushing yards per game and 32nd in yards per attempt.

Woodhead could bring a new dynamic to San Diego that Mathews does not give them because Woodhead had 40 receptions, 446 receiving yards and three TD receptions in 2012.  Mathews’ best season happened in 2011 when he had 50 receptions and 455 receiving yards, but no TD receptions.

Mathews averages about eight yards per reception and has no TD receptions in his career compared to Woodhead who averages about 11 yards per reception, so Gehlken may be right about Woodhead’s potential with San Diego.

According to Gehlken, Mathews has six receptions in three seasons on third down plays. Mathews does not have to be great at catching the ball, but he should have more than two receptions per season on third downs.

San Diego completed a trade with the Miami Dolphins to move up 16 spots in the 2010 NFL Draft and selected Mathews who has not played all 16 games in any season due to injuries.

The Lightning Bolts had four rushing touchdowns on 411 attempts in 2012, which was tied for last with the Oakland Raiders, while Woodhead had four rushing touchdowns on just 76 attempts last season.

San Diego’s front office made the right move by signing Woodhead and he should be the No. 1 option when Philip Rivers throws a pass to a running back this season.

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