According to Brian Murphy of fftoolbox.com, San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy said “I’ve been raised with Denver Broncos head coach John Fox in this league. We always played with a couple of backs. It doesn’t matter who’s in there. Keep them fresh. That’s the big thing. Play the hot hand while you roll.”
McCoy and general manager Tom Telesco have put over Ryan Mathews throughout the offseason as the guy at running back for San Diego, but it sounds like Danny Woodhead could take attempts away from him.
Mathews is coming off his worst season as a pro when he ranked 23rd in the NFL with 59 rushing yards per game and 32nd in the league with an average of 3.8 yards per attempt. Mathews also had a career low one rushing touchdown which was tied for 74th in the NFL.
McCoy’s comments make it sound as though the former New England Patriots RB could take a significant amount of attempts away from Mathews. I see it as an unlikely scenario because the most attempts that Woodhead had in a season were 97 in 2010 compared to Mathews who had a career low 158 attempts as a rookie in 2010.
The quote from McCoy could be true going forward, but it could also be a way for him to motivate Mathews to have a bounce back year which he needs after his performance in 2012.
I expect Woodhead to be used more than Mathews in passing situations because Woodhead averages 11 yards per reception for his career with four TD receptions in four years. Mathews averages eight yards per reception with no TD receptions in three seasons.
San Diego’s first regular season game is in a month against the Houston Texans, and it will be interesting to see how much McCoy goes to Woodhead should Mathews struggle.
Mathews averages 4.4 yards per rushing attempt in his career while Woodhead is at 4.8 yards per attempt. Regardless of how the attempts are distributed, San Diego’s rushing attack should be much improved this season.