It took one carry for San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews to throw cold water on an offseason full of hype.
Mathews took one carry in Thursday night's preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers, gained 5 yards -- and broke his clavicle. Chargers coach Norv Turner announced after the 21-13 victory that Mathews will have surgery Friday. He's expected to miss four to six weeks.
Durability is a recurring problem with Mathews. We believe he has the skill set to be a top-five running back, but he has struggled with injuries throughout his NFL career. Most of his problems have felt like "bad luck" injuries. This is another example.
It's a reminder of how quickly the best-laid plans can change. The Chargers talked all offseason about giving Mathews over 300 touches this season. They were going back to their old "bell cow" system, like they used with LaDainian Tomlinson. But the Chargers are very thin at running back behind Mathews, with Ronnie Brown, Curtis Brinkley and Jackie Battle next in line. Fullback Le'Ron McClain also could get in the mix.
Brown figures to be first in line. Turner has said Brown is rejuvenated in San Diego, but the former Miami Dolphin looked like a tired runner wih the Philadelphia Eagles last season.
Ultimately, Philip Rivers will pick up the slack more than any running back. It's only one carry and one preseason game, but this all feels very 2011 to Chargers fans.