I knew the San Diego Chargers at the Oakland Raiders game had been delayed to past 11 p.m on the East Coast, but what I didn’t know was how late the Chargers were going to be showing up for this game. Phillip Rivers threw an interception on the Chargers first drive, which led to Terrell Pryor connecting on a 44-yard pass to Rod Streater on the Raiders first play from scrimmage.
Too add to the lackluster first half effort, Ryan Mathews was hit in the head with a knee early in the first half and was forced to leave the game
with a concussion. He wasn’t much of a factor in the game at that point, only rushing 3 times for 8 yards, and Danny Woodhead actually started the game at tailback. Mathews had been running hard so far this season, even though he doesn’t put up crazy numbers, he is starting to become a more reliable back in a system that needs some balance to the offense.
With the possibility of Mathews missing next weeks matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, one of the questions will be, can Danny Woodhead become an every down back? He has been a big part of the Chargers offense so far this season, but mostly in the passing game and getting mismatches on the linebackers. He isn’t a guy who really runs in-between the tackles and can pound the ball inside. His best season rushing came in 2010 when he was with the Patriots. He had 97 attempts for 547 yards and 5.6 yards per carry. I’m sure playing with Tom Brady and the high powered offense allowed Woodhead to find holes in the defense, can he do the same however in the Chargers offense. We saw a glimpse of the situation if Woodhead does become the primary back, the other option being Ronnie Brown, and it was a little suspect. Woodhead was stuffed on a fourth and one from the Raiders one yard line and he also fumbled after a big hit running up the gut which was returned by Oakland for a touchdown. Although this is just a small sample, as he only rushed the ball 9 times, he has to protect the football better and we will have to wait and find out if he can have success rushing the ball 15-20 times.
The other option is to make the 9 year vet Ronnie Brown the starting running back and have Woodhead spell him. He has only 21 attempts this season, but has rushed for over 5,000 yards in his career and could be more reliable running between the tackles and being physical.
If I’m Coach McCoy, I’d start Woodhead and use some miss direction plays to keep the defense guessing, while using Brown and fullback Le’Ron Mclain as spellbacks
to pound the rock inside and pick up short first downs. If Woodhead can become affective on the ground, we have seen what he can do in the passing game and helping Phillip Rivers, will be key if the Chargers want to come out with a victory on Monday Night against Indianapolis.