The San Diego Chargers benched 2010 first-round pick Ryan Mathews on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Chargers head coach Norv Turner insisted it wasn't punishment for Mathews' fumbling problem, but Mathews' workload suggested otherwise.
Mathews didn't get on the field during the first drive of the game. Eleven of his 16 touches came in the fourth quarter during a blowout. Jackie Battle played more overall snaps. It might have been a motivational ploy or a lesson for Mathews, but it was a benching.
U-T San Diego reports that the team plans to ease Mathews into a bigger workload, provided he handles the responsibility in more crucial situations. The team plans to ramp up Mathews' workload, and we believe he should eventually become a starter again. Translation: this is the time to buy low in fantasy leagues.
"(Mathews) understands the importance of taking care of the ball," Turner said. "He's not negligent. I don't think there's anyone that works any harder. He had a bad play in the Atlanta game, and I do believe that we're going to get past that."
Battle is a nice backup to have around. Mathews is a potential top 5 back. Don't expect this arrangement to last.Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.