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.
CHARGERS BACKFIELD 2012 ESTIMATED PRODUCTION:
320 carries, 1280 yards | 50 catches, 400 yards
160 carries, 640 yards | 40 catches, 320 yards
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!
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