Ryan Mathews: Who Is to Blame for Running Back's Disappointing Season?

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IDecember 3, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 25:  Ryan Mathews #24 of the San Diego Chargers runs after his catch against the Baltimore Ravens at Qualcomm Stadium on November 25, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

What's wrong with Ryan Mathews?

For how inherently talented he is, he has been disappointing as a San Diego Charger, especially during the 2012 season. 

His current four-yards-per-carry average is the lowest of his career, and he has one touchdown this year, a score that came in early October against the New Orleans Saints.

Almost unfathomable, right? 

Actually, at this juncture, it's time to examine who is to blame for his underwhelming campaign. 

Obviously, all the blame can't be focused in one area or on one individual.  

Mathews breaking his clavicle on the first carry of the preseason certainly halted any momentum he had after a 1,546-yard 2011 season in which he averaged nearly five yards per carry. 

He has dealt with so many injuries since his days at Fresno State that it has to make one wonder if he truly is "injury prone," but by and large, he has simply been unfortunate on the injury front as a professional. 

The injury to left tackle Jared Gaither certainly didn't help the run blocking in front of Mathews either.

Norv Turner isn't known as the greatest play-caller or game-manager, but he hasn't neglected Mathews for long stretches or failed to feature him on a weekly basis. 

The 2010 first-round pick has averaged more than 19 touches a game, which is sufficient in today's pass-happy NFL.

In the end, the blame's on Mathews. 

At 6'0'' and 220 pounds with speed, good lateral agility and an adequate burst, he simply hasn't run with enough decisiveness and vision to improve as a running back. 

His own injuries, offensive line struggles and some Norv Turner mistreatment may have played a role in Mathews' disappointment, but I'm sure if you asked him, first and foremost, he'd blame himself.