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Playbook Confidential: How to Platoon Mathews and Tolbert

Throughout the preseason, BFTB has been chronicling the tendencies of Norv Turner's intentionally vanilla offensive strategy here, here, here, and here. Of particular interest, has been the utilization of platoon running backs Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert.

What we know for sure from the pre season, is that Tolbert will be used primarily as the shotgun, third down, and goal line back. This leaves Mathews to be the workhorse on first and second down, that is more often paired with fullback Jacob Hester. That much probably won't change (barring injury).

We saw Tolbert in the back field more often than Mathews at roughly a 65%/35% split, but Mathews got the larger share of actual carries, also roughly at a 65%/35% split. This could and should change. Otherwise, the run/pass balance gets very easy for opposing defensive coordinators to predict. Mathew's increased playing time will hinge directly on his progress in pass protection.

This begs the question: what should the ideal splits be for those two numbers be? What would lead to less predictability and offensive output? What would lead an improved running game and more YPC? Does being predictable even matter if you can execute anyway? And lastly, how vanilla do you think Norv's approach to the pre season really was? Do you think these pre season running back platoon results will stay consistent in the real games?