Chargers head coach Mike McCoy has very simple expectations for running back Ryan Mathews this year. During a Monday interview with NFL Network, McCoy said he expects Mathews to "have a great year and be the guy."
His words are similar to what general manager Tom Telesco said about Mathews earlier in the offseason.
However, the Chargers' actions say something a little different. McCoy said the team's offensive moves -- adding Danny Woodhead and keeping Ronnie Brown, specifically -- had "nothing to do" with Mathews' disappointing, injury-plagued play thus far. Rather, McCoy said those moves were about adding offensive depth. But don't be mistaken; that depth is going to see plenty of playing time this season, especially Woodhead.
Mathews is still the favorite to own the Chargers' backfield on early downs, but Woodhead should see most if not all of the action on third downs. That kind of split makes it impossible for Mathews to be "the guy." When I think of players who fit that nondescript title, I think of Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, and Doug Martin. The Chargers say they want Mathews to do all of the heavy lifting, but they would be crazy to push forward with such a plan.
At this stage, I think Mathews is more of a two-down back whose biggest claim to fame at this level has been getting hurt often. Thus, I think our rankings have slotted him correctly as a low-end RB2. Woodhead should be a very popular sleeper .... which is kind of an oxymoron, but whatever.