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Sun., Jul. 19, 2015 7:30 AM PDT
Brown Finds His Groove in Final Preseason Game
Minus Ryan Mathews and two key starters on the offensive line for most of the preseason, the San Diego rushing attack entered Thursday night’s game ranked 31st in the NFL with a lethargic 66.3 yards per game average. But on an evening in which the Chargers were dominated in many regards, Ronnie Brown was a real bright spot for the Bolts, making numerous plays both on the ground and in the passing game.
The veteran running back carried the ball five times for 25 yards. It was an encouraging sign for a rusher who may very well have to carry the load with Mathews sidelined with a broken clavicle.
“I thought Ronnie showed a lot of life today,” said head coach Norv Turner. “He had a lot of energy.”
Brown himself said he felt strong on the field, but noted that there is always room for improvement.
“I felt like I did alright and made a couple of improvements, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do,” he said. “I’m getting a better feel out there and that was my goal all along, to get a better feel each week as we went along. I felt a bit rusty on a couple of runs and I’m working on trying to feel natural and just run. But I felt better than I did last week and I feel ready for the regular season.”
Brown is also a key contributor in the passing game, and tonight proved to be a valuable safety outlet for the Bolts quarterbacks in the limited time he was on the field, catching two balls for 19 yards.
“Ronnie is an accomplished veteran player,” Philip Rivers said. “He’s obviously a good runner, but what’s key in our offense is being able to protect and catch the ball out of the backfield, which he does very well. I knew when we signed him he’d be a good fit for us. It’s unfortunate Ryan got hurt, but it helps having Ronnie back there.”
The former Pro Bowler noted he is ready to pick up the slack and expects the offense to not miss a beat should he have to start Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders.
“I’m comfortable with it,” he said. “I’m comfortable with the offense, but at the same time, I have to get more comfortable with the linemen as far as me making the reads and knowing what I’m going to do. We have 10 more days and I’m looking forward to making the adjustments and getting better”
Obviously, the Chargers would love to have Mathews ready for the season opener. Nonetheless, having a veteran like Brown capable of making the start if need be is a huge bonus, especially if he performs like he did Thursday night in San Francisco.