San Diego Chargers Need to Make Sure They Do Not Rush Ryan Mathews Back

Ryan BothmannSenior Analyst IISeptember 13, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 18:  Running back Ryan Mathews #24 of the San Diego Chargers dives over the pile for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Qualcomm Stadium on December 18, 2011 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The news about San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews' eligibility for Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans has gone back and forth all week long and will continue to do so until San Diego makes an official announcement on Mathews' status this weekend.

Although it is great that Mathews is so eager to get back on the field and that the Chargers are optimistic that he is making a speedy recovery, Chargers fans need to hope that Mathews is not rushed back onto the field this weekend.

Even though the Chargers beat the Oakland Raiders on Monday night, the San Diego rushing attack was awful, as the team managed only 32 yards on 20 carries. Obviously, this is a major cause for concern and suggests that Mathews needs to be back on the field as soon as possible.

That logic makes quite a bit of sense, and normally it would be the right thing to do, except the Chargers are playing the Tennessee Titans.

Mathews, a Pro Bowler last season, would obviously be a huge upgrade for the San Diego rushing attack this weekend against Tennessee, but does the risk of rushing Mathews back on the field this weekend outweigh the reward?

Last weekend the Titans allowed 125 yards on the ground to Stevan Ridley of the New England Patriots. No disrespect to Ridley, but he is not exactly one of the premier running backs in the NFL. The Titans also allowed 236 yards passing and gave up 34 points to the Patriots in a 21-point defeat.

So, does this really sound like a game that Ryan Mathews needs to play in? Hopefully the answer is no.

The Chargers are a good enough team to win this game without risking the health of their star running back. If Mathews is fully recovered by Sunday, then fine, let him play. But since his status for the game is still up in the air, it seems unlikely that he'll be 100 percent.

San Diego has much tougher opponents coming up on the schedule than the Tennessee Titans. Let Ryan Mathews get another week of rest and get completely healed before bringing him back. There is simply no need for him to rush back onto the field this week, unless he is completely healthy and ready to go.