Chargers every-down running back Ryan Mathews is expected to return and practice this week.
Having all the injured playmakers back should give the San Diego Chargers, losers of three straight, a boost on both sides of the ball. But don’t tell that to Chargers head coach Mike McCoy, who said the rest of the team has to play better in order for those injured players to have an impact on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
“Ryan Mathews does not guarantee us 200 yards rushing,” McCoy said. “It’s the other 10 guys on the field that have to do their jobs better. We’ve talked about that as a football team. We ran the ball fairly well with No. 43 (Branden Oliver) back there plenty of times. We won five games without these guys."
Everyone seems to agree that Mathews will at least bring a physical presence back to the running game. Mathews could be eased back into a normal workload against the Raiders, but it seems reasonable to expect 15-18 carries a game for Mathews when he's back up to speed. Oliver could very well take on a Danny Woodhead-like role, but also proved a capable back to spell Mathews. Donald Brown was supposed to be that guy as the team looked to keep Mathews fresh for the playoffs. Mathews is certainly worth grabbing if he's still on your wire.