After having one of the most successful running games in the NFL for the better part of a decade beginning in 2001, the Chargers have struggled in recent years to mount a consistent ground attack. After allowing the likes of Michael Turner, Darren Sproles and Mike Tolbert leave in free agency and releasing LaDainian Tomlinson in 2009, the Chargers offense has been largely one dimensional with Philip Rivers and the passing game having to carry the load. When the Chargers drafted Ryan Mathews in 2010, he was supposed to be the heir apparent to LT, but injuries and a prepotency to fumble has thus far prevented him from developing into the dominant rusher that the Chargers need him to be. To help the running game, the Chargers signed Danny Woodhead, former running back for the New England Patriots.
This signing comes only a few days after the Patriots also lost wide receiver Wes Welker to the Chargers’ AFC West rival, the Denver Broncos. While Woodhead likely won’t impact the Chargers’ offense as much as Welker will impact the Broncos’ offense, his signing will no doubt help the Chargers. Woodhead should be able to fill a similar role as Sproles, being utilized in the passing game as well as the running game. However, the success of Sproles was under Norv Turner who is known for integrating running backs into the passing game and it is yet to be seen how Mike McCoy and the rest of the coaching staff will integrate Mathews and Woodhead into the offense. Furthermore, Woodhead can also play on special teams, a welcome addition to a special teams unit that has struggled since the loss of Sproles. Even though the signing of Woodhead isn’t a move that will win the Chargers the division, it is a smart move to fill one of the team’s needs with a high character and quality player. This signing continues the Chargers’ recent moves of adding quality players, such as Derek Cox, John Phillips, Chad Rinehart and King Dunlap, to the roster.