The San Diego Chargers are already dealing with a major shift in offensive personnel this offseason after losing Vincent Jackson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Mike Tolbert to the Carolina Panthers. They also didn't resign Marcus McNeill but instead made the move to Jared Gaither, who is now sitting with injury concerns, as per the usual. Now you can add a new injury to that mix with Ryan Mathews' broken clavicle which will keep the featured back out for a while.
Chargers head coach Norv Turner said everything positive he could possibly say in addressing the running back position, even going so far as to predict Mathews could avoid missing any playing time in the regular season.
"Realistically, it's 4-6 weeks," Turner said. "If everything goes exactly the way we'd like, he might be available for the opener." Week 1 is optimistic, but Turner's comments confirm the team will hope to get Mathews back as soon as possible. "He's worked so hard," said Turner. "And ... every time he's had adversity, he's come back stronger. So he's still in a position to go have a great season."
The schedule is a bit light for the Chargers in the beginning of the season compared to later on, but they do face the Chiefs in week four. Mathews should have no problem being back by then, but he will be rusty from having missed the bulk of training camp, preseason and potentially the first game or two.
The Chargers retooled the position behind Mathews this offseason so they will go with former Chiefs back Jackie Battle and Ronnie Brown to run behind Le'Ron McClain. Jacob Hester is also in the mix. While everyone is brand new, the Chargers should be able to absorb the blow quite well with that depth and the team lives and dies on Philip Rivers' arm anyway. Given the early contests against the Raiders and Titans, the Chargers are likely to make it through his injury just fine.