Patience for Ryan Mathews' Fumbling Is Not Infinite, and Other AFC West News

Christopher HansenNFL AnalystSeptember 28, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Running back Ryan Mathews #24 of the San Diego Chargers is tackled by free safety Thomas DeCoud #28 of the Atlanta Falcons in the first quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on September 23, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews had a key fumble in the red zone last weekend, and the organization may be growing frustrated with his struggles holding onto the ball.

Fumbling has been a problem for Mathews even more so than injuries. In 27 career games, he has fumbled 11 times, which is a fumble in approximately 41 percent of his games played. To put that in perspective, Mathews has played in 77 percent of the Chargers' games since 2010.

Injuries are part of the game, but the vast majority of fumbles are avoidable. 

General manager A.J. Smith spoke with Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune about his philosophy (and thus the organization's philosophy) of how to handle chronic fumblers. That philosophy is not favorable for Mathews, and it's a warning that if the fumbles continue, he'll lose playing time and eventually his job.

Smith's philosophy, per Acee's story, is as follows:

First, the fumbler plays less.

Second, the fumbler plays on a limited basis.

Third, the fumbler get benched to think about it before getting a last chance.

Fourth, he becomes someone else's fumbler. 

Smith has basically laid out a three-strikes philosophy for fumblers, and Mathews already has strike one. It's in his best interest to correct the issue now—before the Chargers start taking more extreme measures.


Other AFC West news:


San Diego

Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Chargers are tweaking their practice schedule to be ready for the early game in Arrowhead on Sunday.



Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Peyton Manning still makes the Raiders nervous.

Mike Klis of the Denver Post  details Dennis Allen's quick rise through the NFL coaching ranks.



Albert Breer of compares Manning's 2012 with his 2008 MVP season.

Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post says Von Miller and Keith Brooking must excel with Joe Mays suspended. 


Kansas City

Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star says Shaun Draughn fills a key need for the Chiefs.

Bill Williamson of reports that the Chiefs talked to former center Casey Wiegmann, who retired after last season.

Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said that the team will bring back and unveil a new Ring of Honor this Sunday (via the team's official website).