Mathews should be a catch for Chargers

July, 6, 2012
7/06/12
8:00
AM ET
In our AFC West chat Thursday, we talked about the importance of San Diego running back Ryan Mathews catching about 50 passes out of the backfield this season.

Mathews
It prompted me to do some quick research and the results show that San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers usually hits his running back in that range. In fact, Mathews caught exactly 50 passes last season. So, I’d think he could get in the 60-catch range this season as the Chargers plan to expand his workload.

Mike Tolbert, now with Carolina, had 54 catches last season out of the backfield. In 2010, Darren Sproles, who went to New Orleans last season, had 59 catches.

Rivers, who took over as the starter in San Diego in 2006, hit LaDainian Tomlinson 56 times out of the backfield in 2006, 60 times in 2007 and 52 times in 2008.

I don’t expect this trend to end now that Mathews will be the primary pass-catcher out of the backfield. His fine performance catching the ball last year clearly gave Rivers and the San Diego coaching staff confidence he can succeed in the role.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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