The San Diego Chargers are a team in a state of flux currently, but one of the biggest question marks surrounding the team is whether or not RB Ryan Mathews is a NFL caliber running back. Mathews was selected by the Chargers as the heir-apparent replacement for LaDainian Tomlinson, after the club moved up in the draft to select him. He came with an impressive resume, but he is now tagged with the moniker, injury prone.
Mathews, who entered the 2012 season with a broken right clavicle, will exit the 2012 season with a broken left clavicle, placed on the injured reserve list. How many players break both sides of their clavicle in one year?
At this point, Mathews has missed 10 of 46 games in his career and has failed to live up to expectations surrounding his arrival in San Diego. For each of the last two seasons, head coach Norv Turner has predicted a breakout season for Mathews, but he somehow always finds a way onto the injury list and never lives up to the supposed expectations.
Mathews is the only running back under contract for the Chargers next season and while it is widely speculated that Norv Turner is on his way out of town, there is no guarantee that he will remain on the roster next season.
Mathews is on the cusp of being labeled a bust. He cannot stay healthy and when he is healthy, he has ball control issues. He does not possess the explosiveness that Tomlinson had for the Chargers, illustrated by the longest run of the season being just 31 yards while scoring just 1 touchdown.
Running back has become one of the most easily replaceable positions in the league, while not having to make a huge investment. The Chargers coaching staff and front office look foolish for making the significant upgrade in the first round in order to snag Mathews for their roster.