FanPost

Ryan Mathews: Can He Be Cured of Fumblitis? What the Numbers Show

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Ryan Mathews has been labeled a fumbler and with good cause. It has been said that he's focused on securing the football better to avoid fumbling. Has he improved at all? Let's take a look...

What I wanted to see was how he compared to other backs in the league, because, all too often, Charger fans only look at the Chargers in a bubble-without outside perspective. So, I looked to see if he put the rock on the carpet more than other backs and how do his number of touches associate with his fumbles in comparison to other backs in the league.

To discover this, I looked at the numbers and crunched them to get a more accurate representation than the raw number of fumbles could show. I took Ryan's numbers and compared them to ten other backs in the league (most of whom I chose because their total number of fumbles floated right about where Ryan's are). The other backs I included are: Adrian Peterson, Ahmad Bradshaw, Arian Foster, Cedric Benson, Felix Jones, LeGarrette Blount, Marshawn Lynch, Maurice Jones-Drew, Mike Tolbert, Peyton Hillis, and, of course, Ryan Mathews.

Looking at only the past three years (to get a fair comparison), I added the number of rushing attempts with their number of receptions to get a total number of Touches. Then, I took the total number of Fumbles, and divided that number by the total number of Touches to get a Percentage of Fumble per Touch. So, if a player has a number of 1.00% of Fumbles/Touch, it means that he's fumbling the ball once out of every one hundred times he touches the ball. If that number is 2.00% of Fumbles/Touch, it means he's fumbling the ball two times for every one hundred times he touches the ball.

Here are the numbers:


2010

PLAYER

GP

TOUCHES

FUM

% FUM/TOUCH

Adrian Peterson

15

319

1

0.31%

Ahmad Bradshaw

16

323

7

2.17%

Arian Foster

16

393

3

0.76%

Cedric Benson

16

349

7

2.01%

Felix Jones

16

233

2

0.86%

LeGarrette Blount

13

206

4

1.94%

Marshawn Lynch

12

224

4

1.79%

Maurice Jones-Drew

14

333

2

0.60%

Mike Tolbert

15

207

5

2.42%

Peyton Hillis

16

331

8

2.42%

Ryan Mathews

12

180

5

2.78%

L_medium

What we can see here is that Mathews (2.78%) is the worst out of the bunch; however, Bradshaw (2.17%), Benson (2.01%), Hillis (2.42%), and Tolbert (2.42%) aren't far behind. This was a rough year for the Chargers, having two of the worst fumblers on toting the rock. Also, it's worth noting that this is the year that got Hillis on the cover of Madden, even with his 2.42% Fumbles/Touch.

2011

PLAYER

GP

TOUCHES

FUM

% FUM/TOUCH

Adrian Peterson

12

226

1

0.44%

Ahmad Bradshaw

12

205

1

0.49%

Arian Foster

13

331

5

1.51%

Cedric Benson

15

288

5

1.74%

Felix Jones

12

160

5

3.13%

LeGarrette Blount

14

199

5

2.51%

Marshawn Lynch

15

313

3

0.96%

Maurice Jones-Drew

16

386

5

1.30%

Mike Tolbert

15

175

2

1.14%

Peyton Hillis

10

183

2

1.09%

Ryan Mathews

14

272

5

1.84%

L_medium

Again, here, Mathews (1.84%) is among the worst fumblers out of these backs (percentage wise); however, he is nowhere near as bad as Jones (who possesses the absolute worst Percentage of Fumble per Touch for all backs for any of the given years at 3.13%), nor Blount (2.51%), who isn't much better than Jones. Also, it's worth noting that Mathews improved from 2.78% to 1.84%, which is a positive.


2012

PLAYER

GP

TOUCHES

FUM

% FUM/TOUCH

Adrian Peterson

16

388

4

1.03%

Ahmad Bradshaw

14

244

3

1.23%

Arian Foster

16

391

3

0.77%

Cedric Benson

5

85

1

1.18%

Felix Jones

16

136

1

0.74%

LeGarrette Blount

13

42

0

0.00%

Marshawn Lynch

16

338

5

1.48%

Maurice Jones-Drew

6

100

1

1.00%

Mike Tolbert

16

81

0

0.00%

Peyton Hillis

13

95

2

2.11%

Ryan Mathews

12

223

2

0.90%

L_medium

In 2012, contrary to what some think (that may or may not include Norv Turner), Mathews made huge strides in his ball protection skills. His 0.90% is better than all but four of the other backs and two of those backs touched the ball significantly less than Mathews (223 touches vs. 42 for Blount and 81 for Tolbert, respectively). Also, Mathews has a better Percentage of Fumble per Touch than reigning MVP, Adrian Peterson.

If Mathews continues to improve like he's done for every year he's played, his fumbling problem may very well be a thing of the past. I'm sure that's something every Charger fan hopes for.

In doing this, I was a little surprised that his fumble numbers (per touch) were a decent as they were. I think whatever work Ryan has been doing is working. What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Bolts From The Blue community and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bolts From The Blue editors or SB Nation.

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