Jamaal Charles Injury: 5 Chiefs That Must Step Up With Star RB Down
As the early games are moving along, the Associated Press is reporting on a bad injury to Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. It's still early, but it looked bad when seen on television, and Charles was carted off the field.
Until we know what really is happening, all we can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best—and all the Chiefs can do is hope the people left on the field can step up.
The AP report says Charles is definitely out for the remainder of the game and that "the injury appeared significant" and "Charles also appeared unable to put any weight on his left leg as he was helped onto the cart." So with Charles down, it's time to examine who the Chiefs need to step up if they are going to make the best out of a bad situation here.
Thomas Jones got a huge amount of carries last season, more than Charles did. So we know he can carry part of the load. If Charles is gone any amount of time, we will find out if he can follow the whole thing.
The 33 year old back has bounced around the league but was very productive for the New York Jets, compiling over 1000 yards each of the three years he was there.
He's capable but hasn't had to be the primary ball carrier in some time. Has he had any drop off due to age? His success in New York was in part due to a great offensive line. Will he do as well behind a suspect line?
Jones is a tough runner who will wear down a defense, but he's not a speedster and he isn't a big receiving threat.
The Chiefs will need him to stay healthy and effective between the tackles all season long.
Dexter McCluster is a good compliment to Thomas Jones, in that McCluster is an elusive, shifty runner with very good speed.
He's got very good hands and is a great receiver as well.
While Jones will get the tough between the tackle yards, McCluster has the home run speed and ability.
He needs to pick up his pass blocking a bit and will need to prove his small frame can withstand the pounding of a larger amount of carries over the course of the whole season.
McCluster could give the Chiefs a big boost with his speed and will have to prove he can take on a lot more work in a short time.
Matt Cassel has looked decidedly average so far this year, and he could do that with Charles in the game.
Without Charles, Cassel needs to pick his game back up.
Cassell will have to be more careful with the ball and more effective with his passes. He's going to have to make teams pay with the pass in order to clear some room for the run.
He will also have to be very careful with the ball. As much as teams will focus on stopping the run, they will challenge Cassell as well. He cannot afford sloppy play when the team has lost one of it's biggest weapons.
After last season, Bowe looked poised to finally reach the potential we've been waiting on for his whole career.
So far in 2011, not so much.
He's still the primary target for the Chiefs in the passing game. But if Cassell is going to throw the ball to him eight times, he needs to come down with more than a pair of balls.
The only way the team will clear the coverage for the ground game is if they can move the ball through the air. In order to do that, Dwayne Bowe needs to play like he did last year when he compiled 1,162 yards and 15 touchdowns.
That's right, I'm calling Haley out.
Last season Haley coached this team to a shocking 10-6 record.
However instead of accolades, many people have been pointing to a soft schedule and the now departed Charlie Weis as bigger factors than Haley for the 2010 success.
With Charles gone, Haley must prove it was him—not Weis, not the schedule, not luck—which won them the division.
Otherwise, the questions will just haunt this team and it's coach for a long time to come.