By Dave Thomas
Ronnie Brown, RB #30
Height: 6’ 0″
Weight: 230 lbs
Hometown: Cartersville, GA
Experience: 8 years
Despite his raw talents, not to mention his ability to run over defensive players when he gets up a head of steam, San Diego running back Ryan Mathews still elicits some scary sights and sounds from Charger fans when he touches the ball. Most of those concerns for the third-year running back from Fresno State come from the fact that he has a propensity to fumble the ball.
As a result, some Bolt fans have been pressing to see more carries from Jackie Battle and Ronnie Brown, the latter of which left the Miami Dolphins as their third leading rusher all-time — not bad for a franchise that has produced some pretty talented backs to carry the pigskin over the decades.
So, the question simply begs in Charger country, why is Brown not getting more carries?
Through eight games to date this season, the Auburn product and 2000 50th round draft pick by MLB’s Seattle Mariners has carried the ball a mere 24 times for 108 yards. He has been a little more active out of the backfield catching the ball from QB Philip Rivers, securing 32 receptions for 292 yards to date. Still, some fans can’t help but wonder why the guy who spent his first six years in South Florida, has not been more of a factor in San Diego.
After one year in Philadelphia (2011), Brown was inked by the Chargers in the off-season for a one-year deal, with most thinking he would be a solid insurance policy for Mathews.
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Having rushed for 4,951 yards his first seven seasons in the NFL, Brown left the Dolphins after the 2010 season trailing only Miami legend Larry Csonka (6,737 yards) and Ricky Williams (6,436 yards) in rushing yardage in an aqua and orange uniform.
So, why has Brown been so quiet to date in San Diego?
There is little to no doubt that head coach Norv Turner, plus the management overseeing this underachieving club, wants to give Mathews every shot possible to remain the go-to guy in the backfield. While the talent level is there, not being able to hang onto the ball in crucial situations (take for example the Atlanta loss earlier this season) has dogged Mathews since his first full season with the team.
As Charger fans saw a few weeks ago, Battle got more work after Mathews had another case of the drops, yet Brown has seen only sporadic action. With eight games remaining in the regular season, not to mention quite possibly in the San Diego tenure of both Turner and general manager AJ Smith, will Charger fans see more of Brown?
If Mathews again gets a case of the drops, or the Chargers want to give their opponents a little different look, San Diego fans may very well see number 30 with his hands on the ball.
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Dave Thomas is a freelance writer covering all things Chargers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.