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Ryan Mathews has played backup to Mike Tolbert for two years now. Even with that, Mathews still managed to log 1,091 yards last season.
With Tolbert gone now, we can expect Mathews to start at running back, with a possible backup in newly acquired running back Jackie Battle.
Mathews was a stud last year who got a lot of people excited, and believing that he was ready for the shift from backup to starter.
Coach Norv Turner for example, was quoted back in May by Josh Alper over as NBCsports.com as saying:
“I personally think he’s ready to take that next step. That means, to me, the production goes way up, and he’s more of the guy that is on the field most of the time. I think he’s grown a lot in terms of understanding his responsibility when the ball is in his hand."
There are two big problems with Mathews that people seem to be overlooking. The first is that he is inconsistent. While he has managed to score 13 touchdowns in his two years so far, he also has nine fumbles, five of which came from last season.
Maybe we should be waiting to see how well he plays as a starter before calling him the next big thing.
The second issue with Mathews is how he has gotten injured both years of his career. He isn't even the starter and he still managed to get injured? Of course it could have simply been bad luck, but if managed to get injured as a backup, his chances for injury as a starter will increase.
Will Mathews be able to handle the full-time workload? We will have to wait until next season to find out.
With the way everyone is talking him up, don't be surprised if you see Mathews take a step backwards.