During the 2010 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers selected Ryan Mathews out of Fresno State 12th overall. The team hoped that Mathews would replace the LaDainian Tomlinson and continue their successful ground attack. Instead, Mathews has been riddled with injuries and has never started a full season at running back. Mathews has also fumbled 12 times over his first three seasons.
It is safe to say Mathews has been an average running back at best.
While talking to Kevin Acee of the U-T San Diego, Mathews was quick to point out that he has not lived up to the hype.
“So far, what I’ve done right now. I’ve been just an average back,” Mathews said, via Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego. “I got a lot of people just frustrated with my performance in the last few years. They expected me to come in and do big things. And I expect myself to.”
Mathews added that he has struggled to fill the hole left by LaDainian Tomlinson. Tomlinson had 12,490 rushing yards and 138 rushing touchdowns during his 9 seasons in San Diego. Tomlinson also had at least 10 rushing touchdowns in every season he played for San Diego. Mathews has yet to break surpass 7 rushing touchdowns in a season.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to fill LT’s shoes,” Mathews said. “I was trying to live up to those expectations — what he was doing in his prime, all the yards he’s getting, all the touchdowns he’s getting, just trying to live up to that. I knew I was the first-round pick, [the Chargers] moved up  spots and all that, and I was just trying to do more than what I should have been doing. I think I took all the fun out of it and stressed myself out over it.”
Mathews has shown flashes of being a great running back but cannot stay on the field long enough to produce those kinds of numbers.
San Diego fans have to hope that Ryan Mathews can stay healthy and is finally ready to carry the load for the team.