Want Big Plays Chiefs Fans? Jamaal Charles Is Ready To Provide Them
Perhaps the best thing that could have happened to head coach Todd Haley was this week's gay slurring meltdown by running back Larry Johnson, and his subsequent suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.
Now Haley can spend the bye week figuring out ways to integrate the team's most dynamic player, Jamaal Charles, into his offense.
Thus far, 22 games into his professional career, Charles has averaged 5.3 yards per carry in limited action as a backup. He also has averaged 9.6 yards on his 41 catches. Those numbers far surpass anything Johnson has done during that same span.
As a backup, the 22-year-old Charles has shown flashes of what he can do. This past Sunday, a forgettable 37-7 loss to the San Diego Chargers, Charles showed on two particular occasions the big-play potential he brings to this offense.
Late in the second quarter against the Chargers, Charles showed an incredible burst up the middle for a 15-yard gain and a first down.
Then on a first down play midway through the third quarter, Charles lined up as a wide receiver and flew up the sideline, five yards behind the Chargers secondary, only to be missed on a deep pass by quarterback Matt Cassel.
Finally, Haley has no excuse but to play Charles on a full-time basis, and it should almost certainly help this team's offensive production.
Charles is a threat to explode through a seam up the middle on inside runs, or beat defenders to the edge with his world class speed on sweeps and pitch plays.
He also plays well out of the shotgun formation, a staple in Haley's offense and the offenses he played in while at the University of Texas. His speed creates matchup problems for defenses and makes it almost mandatory to shadow him out of the backfield with a corner or a safety.
When Charles left Texas after three seasons, he left in fourth place on the Longhorns all-time rushing list behind Ricky Williams, Cedric Benson, and Earl Campbell. That's not bad company by any standards, especially considering the seasons Williams and Benson are having this year.
Charles also had one of the most memorable individual performances in Longhorns history when he torched the Nebraska Cornhuskers defense for 290 yards on October 28th, 2007.
Now, Chiefs fans can look forward to seeing Charles and his big-play potential on a full-time basis. This offense, which has been in such desperate need of a spark, should be a lot more fun to watch with Charles as an integral piece of it after the bye week.
Even if Haley's offense continues to struggle, don't be alarmed just because Charles doesn't leap to the head of the NFL's rushing list, or the team continues to lose games.
The mild-mannered and always smiling 22-year-old will just continue to work and make plays that give the Chiefs a chance to win, and keep them moving in the right direction.
He won't be parlaying his team's struggles into potshots at everyone in Kansas City on his Twitter account.
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