The San Diego Chargers signed former New England Patriots running back Danny Woodhead to a two year deal worth $3.5 million this year. Woodhead will back up Ryan Mathews, but is coming off a season in which he posted career highs in receptions, yards per reception, receiving yards and touchdown receptions.
According to U-T San Diego beat writer Michael Gehlken, “The expectation is for the 28 year old to be assigned in the Chargers’ offense, a role resembling what Darren Sproles knew during the final years of his 2005 to 2010 tenure. That overall understanding on the field is why the Patriots trusted him. It’s why the Chargers trust him now.”
Woodhead should add versatility to San Diego’s passing game like Sproles did during his time with the team. Woodhead averages about 11 yards per reception in his career, and Sproles averaged about 10 yards per reception with San Diego. Woodhead also led all running backs in yards per reception last year.
Mathews’ best season catching the football was in 2011 when he made 14 starts, had 50 receptions and 455 receiving yards, but zero TD receptions. Woodhead had 40 receptions, 446 receiving yards and three TD receptions in 16 games, and two starts last year with New England.
Woodhead is expected to make his Chargers debut in tonight’s preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals. Woodhead averages about five yards per rushing attempt for his career, and had the same amount of rushing touchdowns that San Diego had last year in 335 fewer attempts.
San Diego averaged 3.6 yards per rushing attempt, which ranked 31st in the NFL last year, but Woodhead should help the team improve on this in 2013.
The Lighting Bolts lost a dynamic part of their offense when Sproles signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2011. Woodhead has the skills to be equal to or better than Sproles in San Diego’s offense, depending on how the coaching staff decides to use him this season.