Brown Joins Mathews and McClain in San Diego's Backfield

The San Diego Chargers have signed free agent running back Ronnie Brown to a one-year contract.

This signing is interesting in a few ways actually; early word out of camp was that Ryan Mathews had been working hard on his preparations for the upcoming season. He had been hitting the weight-room hard and was taking his issues with ball security very seriously.

The team brought in Pro Bowl fullback Le'Ron McClain while also retaining the bulked-up Jacob Hester. There seemed to be a real commitment to establishing the run game and to giving Ryan Mathews an increased load, possible to the tune of 300 touches.

Ronnie Brown is a former #2 overall pick, but was never what one would consider a "workhorse" back. From college to the pros, Brown shared carries. He's also had his fair share of injuries. So when we reflect on Brown's 8 year career, it's not going to be eye-popping stats that jump out to us. What is intriguing, however, is his versatility.

Ronnie Brown can effectively run the Wildcat offense, is an good receiver out of the backfield, and has the size and leg strength to break tackles. He's a one cut, north-south runner who plays with a low center of gravity.

And even though in his eighth season, Brown doesn't have a lot of millage on his tires. In fact, in LaDainian Tomlinson's first 3 seasons in the NFL, he touched the ball 1262 times. Ronnie Brown has touched the ball 1354 times in his entire NFL career. And in terms of career rushing and receiving averages per touch, LT and Ronnie Brown are nearly identical.

No, Ronnie Brown isn't a future Hall of Fame running back and will probably play a fractional role in the Chargers offense, he's presence does allow Head Coach Norv Turner to be a bit more interesting in his game-planning. Brown's experience will also benefit Ryan Mathews, who is still developing as a Pro. And he provides another big body to help wear down defenses in the second half.

So while it remains to be seen what Ronnie Brown will contribute offensively, his addition to the team should be viewed as a positive move.


Ryan Mathews
320 carries, 1280 yards | 50 catches, 400 yards

Ronnie Brown
160 carries, 640 yards | 40 catches, 320 yards

Le'Ron McClain
40 carries, 160 yards | 30 catches, 180 yards


What do you think about Ronnie Brown's addition to the San Diego Chargers? Are Brown's or Mathews' injury concerns an issue? Do you think the Chargers' run game has been significantly improved this offseason? Any predictions for the 2012 season? Sound off in the comments section below!

June 11, 2012

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RaiderHater said... Jun 11, 2012, 8:49:00 PM

Brown adds yet more ammo to the Offense big time! He is a threat and I can see 2 back sets all day long...add in the TE power and the crazy mix of recievers...WTF how do you even defend against us??? Brown adds more veteran status, a reat role model for Mathews and allows all the backfield to be well rested each carry. Also a good insurance plan in case of injuries (something that has plagued us the past 2 years). I like the predictions Rob, I think a few more yards and catches will go to McClain but overall I would take your numbers and run (ha ha get it) for it! Our Offense just keeps getting better (on paper anyway), it is the Defense that i most worry about....if they can get the ball into the Bolt's Offense more times than the many 80+ yards they allowed last year in countless come backs by what should have been easy victories...and we may just have something.
I just watched the LA Kings become Champions - 45 years and never Champions until today!!!! The excitement for SoCal is intense......I want that same excitement to be in San Diego for the Chargers > > > Champions will feel good! Parades in LA no doubt for the Kings....the Bolts can do the same....they were the 8th seed, set records all through the playoffs and have the Cup... the Chargers can be the all starts in August...every play, every down, every second and with the right players, plan and some luck...they will also hold the coveted title of gots to believe - or freaking leave this blog!!!

Pete Spinning said... Jun 11, 2012, 10:19:00 PM

San Diego wasn't as great with the run as people like to think last year, despite a 1,000 yard plus year for Mathews (which was great to see). I liked Tolbert, because he had heart, and he would be the bowling ball, when he got rolling. But, there were times when he was ineffective at the goal line too. He was good, but not great. I just don't see him being that starter that the Panthers are hoping he is.. maybe I am wrong. But, I don't blame him for wanting to start, and leaving money on the table to do it. We are going to miss his special teams contribution more, as he was the leading tackler. Not sure if Brown can fill those shoes, but we will have to see.

Anyway, what i do like is the highlight reel I saw, where Brown was doing wildcat plays, flea-flickers, and even threw a TD pass right on the money. Since he will get limited playing time, we should use him to take the D by surprise. It looked like there were a lot of goal-line runs he powered through, but he hasn't been utilized well in Philly. So, I hope he has been working out, and keeping fit. Basically, he can catch out of the backfield, and that's how I see Norv using him.

Honestly, I hope Brinkley steps up, and competes. If he won out, I wouldn't be mad either. I just get the feeling that if he was the clear answer, that we wouldn't have even gone shopping. SD has always had a knack for running backs, and that is one area I don't worry too much about. It seems we have good candidates, and now we just need to name the back-up. Hester will get a run or two in there too. I will be watching Baker & Hayes closely, as well. Preseason should be interesting this year. It has been B-O-R-I-N-G the last couple years. I hope we win all our pre-season games. It always bugs me when we lose to someone else's practice squad.. even if it doesn't count.

BOLTHYPE said... Jun 13, 2012, 8:48:00 AM

Come to think of it, Ryan Mathews, LeRon McClain, and Ronnie Brown all have at least one Pro Bowl to their credit. When is the last time that happened for this team? :p - Rob Z

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