There’s been talk of them doing so since the draft, but the Chargers signed a veteran running back today, signing Ronnie Brown, 31 in December, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles. This signing is hardly an indictment against Ryan Mathews, who the coaching staff has been talking up as a feature back all offseason. Brown carried the ball just 42 times last season behind another elite feature back, LeSean McCoy, and he wasn’t very successful in that role anyway, managing just 136 yards and a touchdown on 3.2 YPC.
This is more of an indictment on their confidence in someone like Curtis Brinkley, Edwin Baker, or Le’Ron McClain carrying the load if Mathews gets hurt. As long as Mathews is healthy, Brown figures to see no more than 3-5 touches per game, at best. At the same time, if he shows nothing in camp, Brown might not make the final 53.
Mathews still figures to get 300+ carries should he play all 16 games. He’s also projected to catch a lot of passes and score a lot of touchdowns in San Diego’s explosive offense with Mike Tolbert signing in Carolina. In fact, the fact that the Chargers signed a back like Ronnie Brown, not someone who had an impact somewhere last year like Cedric Benson or Ryan Grant.