Chargers Editorial: Woodhead Must Remain Healthy

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Mandatory Credit: Getty Images
Mandatory Credit: Getty Images

Following a Week 1 come from behind win the San Diego Chargers are definitely riding high as they prepare for their Week 2 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. While the Chargers defense was able to stifle the Detroit Lions in the second half, and their offense was able to gain yards and put up points quite efficiently, the win did not come without some question marks on both sides of the ball.

On the offensive side of the ball, the main issue for the Chargers on Sunday, and the main issue going forward into Week 2 and beyond, is who will take the reins as the Chargers biggest offensive weapon on the ground over the long-term. For the purposes of this article, Danny Woodhead will be the key cog in the Chargers offensive machine if the Chargers hope to make the playoffs. 

Due to the Chargers moving up to draft him in the first half of the first round, and Ryan Mathews leaving via free agency, it seemed pretty clear that the Chargers were poised to make Melvin Gordon the man going forward.

Prior to his injury trouble last year, Ryan Mathews was the starter at running back for the Chargers with both Branden Oliver and Donald Brown getting a majority of the playing time once Matthews was out. One thing the Chargers did not have going for them the majority of last season was Danny Woodhead, who was injured in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills and did not return for the remainder of the season.

Based off the statistics from Week 1, it seems pretty clear that Melvin Gordon will be getting the lions share of the work on early downs with Danny Woodhead playing a pivotal role both on the ground on certain downs as well as in the passing game. With the youth and inexperience of both Gordon and Oliver, Woodhead’s intelligence and experience will definitely be an important part of the Chargers hopes for success in 2015. More so than anyone else in the offense, Woodhead will be a focal point that needs to have a successful, and injury free, season if the Chargers hope to make a return to the playoffs.

Woodhead will provide a good change of pace from the more strong and powerful runner in Melvin Gordon and will also play a big role in the passing game with Philip Rivers. Woodhead is one of the more intelligent veterans on the Chargers offense and has a knack for finding holes and making big plays in both the running and passing game.

With his return from injury in 2015, it seems likely that Philip Rivers and company will rely on Woodhead heavily to keep the offense firing on all cylinders. The Chargers playoff hopes may just hinge on the performance of the Chargers young cast of running backs led by the veteran Danny Woodhead.

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