NFL San Diego Chargers

So Far So Good For San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews

Ryan Mathews San Diego Chargers

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews had his worst season as a pro in 2012. Mathews finished the 2012 NFL season with 707 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown and 3.8 yards per rushing attempt. The one rushing TD and 3.8 yards per attempt were career lows for Mathews.

Mathews ranked 23rd in the league with an average of 59 rushing yards per game, 32nd in yards per attempt and 74th in rushing touchdowns.

The fourth-year RB looks good so far in the preseason, though, with 64 rushing yards on 12 attempts in two games against the Seattle Seahawks and the Chicago Bears. The preseason was a nightmare for Mathews last year because he broke his clavicle on his first rushing attempt against the Green Bay Packers.

One should not overreact to an athlete’s performance in the preseason whether it is good or bad, but it is always better to play at a high level.

San Diego needs Mathews to play better in 2013 in order for the team to improve a rushing attack that ranked 27th in yards and 31st in yards per attempt.

The most important things for Mathews in the preseason are for him to stay healthy and show signs of improvement from his performance last year. Mathews could be poised for a bounce-back season and play similar to 2011 when he ranked 12th in rushing yards per game and yards per attempt.

Mathews cut down on his fumbles last year, which was huge for him because he combined for 10 in his first two seasons and had two last year.

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco signed Danny Woodhead to a two-year deal which should take pressure away from Mathews. Woodhead averages 4.8 yards per attempt for his career and had the same amount of rushing touchdowns as San Diego in 2012. Telesco and head coach Mike McCoy have endorsed Mathews as the man, which shows the confidence in him despite the signing of Woodhead.

Even though Mathews had a dreadful 2012 season, there are still high hopes for the 2010 first-round pick and 2011 Pro Bowl RB.