Ryan Who? Tolbert Finds Himself In San Diego Spotlight


Ryan Who? Tolbert Finds Himself in San Diego Spotlight

Ryan Mathews was supposed to be the main man in San Diego. With feature running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Turner no longer with the organization, the Chargers moved up in the NFL Draft to select Mathews, from Fresno State, with the No. 12 overall pick.Like many rookies, however, Mathews’ debut year has been anything but easy. He’s been hampered by injuries and has just two touchdowns. Tonight, he probably won’t even play in the Monday Night Football matchup with the Denver Broncos.Dinged up again, Mike Tolbert, who has actually produced better numbers (395 yards and seven touchdowns and the exact same number of carries as Mathews, will be the go-to back. The Chargers hope their bruising back will lead them to a victory within the AFC West, a division they can still win despite a 2-5 start.Mike Tolbert joined XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego with the Drive to discuss his running style, if he leads with his head when he carries the ball, Ryan Mathews’ fumbling problem, playing on Monday Night Football, the rivalry between San Diego and Denver, why he doesn’t like the Broncos and whether blackouts have an impact on players.

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On his bruising running style:

“I’m not really trying to use speed on them, I’m trying to rush through everybody and be a power back. It’s definitely different from being a fullback running six yards and a tailback running 30 yards.”

On lowering his head as a running back:

“I wouldn’t say I was leading with my head. It was basically, I’ve got a ball in my hands and I’ve got to protect myself and protect that ball at all costs. I’m going to use every instrument that I can to make that happen. Whether it be using my head or my shoulders or my head or my feet … I’m going to do that. If I can run somebody over in the process, that’s just extra fun.”

On Ryan Mathews’ problem with fumbling:

“I think people, because he is Ryan Mathews, he is the so-called main guy, the back, everybody’s going to come after you when you’re the first-round draft pick and they move up so many spots in the draft to draft you. People on other teams are going to test you. Even some of the players on our defense, earlier in the season, would test him, just trying to get him ready and let him know this isn’t college anymore. He’s learning that slowly but surely and once he fully gets a grasp on what the NFL is like, he’ll be fine.”

On playing on Monday Night Football:

“It’s what you dream about when you’re a little kid. All eyes are on you, being able to do the thing that you love and play football and to be a starter, at that, is just a special feeling. At the same time, you can’t get wrapped up in the hype.”

On the rivalry with the Denver Broncos:

“It’s just as feisty as ever. We know that the Broncos don’t like us and we really don’t like them, so it’s going to be a slugfest. We’re going to hopefully come out clean and untouched.”

On why he doesn’t like the Broncos:

“Their demeanor. Ever since they’ve gotten a new coach, their demeanor is high and mighty and we want to knock them off their high horse. Everybody calls us one of the most talented teams in the NFL and we want to go out and prove it every Sunday. This time we get to do it on Monday in front of millions and millions of people.”

On whether the games being blacked out affects players:

“To be honest, we really don’t even think about that. We know that the people want to come see us play. Unfortunately, everybody can’t afford to buy tickets and those people that’s at home want to see the games but can’t. We’re going to play and hopefully they can see the highlights, but on Sunday or Monday, we’re really just focused on our opponent.”

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