Eight days ago, the San Diego Chargers had four healthy Running Backs on their roster. As of tonight, they have two. After major injuries to Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead, the team's starting RB is former #3 RB Donald Brown, and his backup is former #4 RB Branden Oliver.
Obviously, the team is not going to go with two RBs for very long. Mathews isn't going on IR, so chances are the team will sign just one RB to compliment Brown and Oliver. After doing a bit of research, I think they have five options:
Grice lost the preseason competition with Branden Oliver for the team's #4 RB spot and is a rookie. Unless he's shown amazing growth on the practice squad in the last three weeks, I don't think this is a great move. It adds depth, but it leaves the RB unit severely lacking in talent.
The former Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots RB, "The Law Firm" is a steady RB that can run up the middle but can't do much else. He lost his job in Cincinnati to younger backs with more speed and better hands. Was once praised by Bill Belichick for "never losing a yard".
Not a bad option to take some carries away from Brown, especially late in games when the team is trying to milk the clock.
Last Year (CIN): 220 carries, 756 rush yds, 7 rush TDs, 4 catches, 22 rec yds
A guy that A.J. Smith used to flirt with trading for regularly, Choice has been bouncing around the league for years. In the last three seasons he has played for four different teams.
Choice is a solid veteran presence. He fills the hole left by Woodhead more than the one left by Mathews, but either way he can help Donald Brown and the offense.
Last Year (IND/BUF): 46 carries, 170 rush yds, 5 catches, 15 rec yds
James has been a hot name ever since being cut by the San Francisco 49ers after Week 1. Last season, he was one the league's most dynamic punt and kick returners, and did solid work as the team's third-down RB late in the season.
The downside with James is fumbling. He has loads of talent and speed, but seems to take as much off the table as he brings to it because of his fumbling.
Last Year (SF): 12 carries, 59 rush yds, 2 catches, 16 rec yds
No, Ray Rice is not an option. He's suspended and a player that the Chargers wouldn't touch in a million years.
So, which of these guys makes the most sense for the Chargers? I think it depends on Woodhead's injury. If he's out for the year, I think LaMichael James makes the most sense. Don't forget that Donald Brown is/was the team's #1 KR and Danny Woodhead worked as the team's backup KR/PR last season. James can take Danny's role in the offense for the next few weeks, then pass that role to Donald Brown when Mathews returns, but will still contribute in the return game.
If Woodhead's injury, like Mathews', will only keep him out for a few weeks... I'd probably go with BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He can do things that Brown can't as a RB and makes a living out of not making mistakes, meaning he won't cost the team any games while they wait for their starters to return.
What do you think?