Reich said he believes the most important quality a NFL offense can possess is toughness. Several players for San Diego showed mental and physical toughness last season, with Ryan Mathews (ankle), Nick Hardwick (neck), Eddie Royal (toe), Jeromey Clary (clavicle), Chad Rinehart (toe), King Dunlap (head) and D.J. Fluker (knee) all playing with nagging injuries during the season.
“You’ve just got to be mentally and physically tough,” Reich said. “It’s a long season. It’s a tough game. So I think at the end of the day you need that physical and mental toughness to sustain and work hard every day, because really where you end up being successful is a consistent effort at getting better every day.”
Reich said that Mathews still will handle the lion’s share of the workload offensively running the football. Reich went on to say he likes the overall versatility of the running back group, which is important with all of the checks Philip Rivers makes in the passing game.
“Ryan is the pounder,” Reich said. “That guy as a running back; he’s as tough a guy that I’ve been around. He’s just physically and mentally tough. I love the way he practices. I love the way he plays on game day. He’s going to be the primary workhorse. He’s our guy.”
“I’m sure he’ll get doubled,” Reich said. “But the big challenge for him will be, it doesn’t matter if you get doubled. You still have to win. We still expect to throw you the ball.
“Yeah, other guys will be open. But when you’re the guy, one of the things you learn as a quarterback is you just gain so much confidence in a player, that sometimes it doesn’t even matter when he’s doubled. And I’m sure Keenan will have to face that a little more [double teams] this year.”