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Ryan Mathews says he's going to 'blow it away' this season

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
Mathews has jumped on his own bandwagon, which is already crowded. (US Presswire)

Not many people noticed, but to close out the 2012 season, Chargers running back Ryan Mathews put up some big numbers. That led to his 2012 bandwagon getting pretty crowded this offseason.

Count Mathews as one of the riders -- he said recently that "expectations are real high" for 2012 and pointed out that he's, um, actually working out this offseason.

“Expectations are real high," Mathews told XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego, via SportsRadioInterview.com. "I'm in way better shape this time than I was last year and I just feel good about myself. I really do. I feel real confident and like I said my trainer Jeff has been helping me on the little things with ball security and working my way through tight spaces and explosion and stuff, so it's going to be a good deal and it's going to be real fun.”

Mathews isn't the only one with expectations. CBSSports.com fantasy gurus Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both have him as a top-five fantasy back next season. Norv Turner's said that Mathews is "ready to take the next step."

And Mathews seems to have genuinely matured. At least judging by his comments, anyway -- Mathews understands that when he showed up out of shape after the lockout, he didn't exactly look like the guy who was supposed to replace LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego.

"You can't want to be the star running back and come into camp and not be able to do the conditioning test and that was my main thing is how my fans saw me and my team saw me," Mathews said. "I don't want to feel like that again. I had a great offseason and great OTA's and mini camp, so I'm about to blow it away. It is going to be fun."

If Mathews does what's expected of him -- something like 350 total touches carries and close to 1,700 total yards sound right? -- it'll be real fun. Fantasy owners will have a blast, Turner will be thrilled and Chargers fans might finally forget about their latest roster addition.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.

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