Jamaal Charles Injury: 5 Ways Loss of Chiefs RB Affects Kansas City
Sunday has not gone well for Todd Haley and the Kansas City Chiefs, to say the least. Not only are they trying to erase a deficit against the Detroit Lions, but perhaps their best player, Jamaal Charles, appears to be out indefinitely to what Adam Schefter is reporting may be an ACL tear.
Charles is a huge part of what the Chiefs do. Not only is he their most dynamic offensive weapon, but he makes everyone else's job a whole lot easier. Lets check out five different way the Chiefs are affected by the loss of Jamaal Charles.
Thomas Jones, Le'Ron McLain, Dexter McCluster to Carry the Load
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The good news for the Chiefs is that they have a lot of options at running back outside of Charles. Chiefs fans have already been crying to give Charles more of Jones' carries. Well, they will surely see plenty more of Jones, but Thomas is too old to carry the load by himself effectively.
This offseason, the Cheifs signed Le'Ron McLain from the Ravens. When he was in Baltimore, McLain lbiied for more carries as a fullback. Now, he will probably get more opportunities to touch the football.
The Chiefs drafted Dexter McCluster in early in the second round of the 2010 draft as a WR/RB hybrid. They have moved him all over the formation, but now he may see more carries as a regular back.
More Pressue on Matt Cassel's Shoulders
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Cassel has already had a terrible start to the season. Now, things just got a lot harder.
Without Charles, defenses are not going to have to key on the running game as much, which will make for tighter windows for Cassel to throw to. He isn't exactly the most accurate quarterback around, and judging by the way his 2011 season has playe out so far, I expect this passing game to struggle.
More Stress on the Defense
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When you run the ball as much as the Chiefs like to do, it tends to lead to longer drives and runs the clock out. This obviously keeps your defense off the field and rested.
With Charles out, the running game will hardly be as effectvie, which means for shorter drives and more defense. This will affect guys like Tamba Hali the most, as rushing the passer is easily the most exhausting job in football.
Pressure on Dwayne Bowe to Carry the Offense
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Now that Charles is out, the Chiefs are going to turn to the next best player on offense to carry the team, because it sure does not look like Matt Cassel can handle that job as of right now.
Bowe has made a lot of strides since his rookie season. A big, physical receiver, Bowe has the ability to be up to the task of fighting off the extra attention he is now going to receive and still produce. The question is whether or not he has the desire and leadership skills to get the job done.
As I said, Bowe has come a long way; but these next few weeks are going to tell is a more accurate depiction of his development as a professional.
Opposing Team Can Crank Up the Pass Rush
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Without the threat of a top-notch running game, opponents are going to be able to "pin their ears back" and get after Cassel. This is being evidenced already in the game against the Lions. Without the threat of the running game, defensive linemen and linebackers can fly to the quarterback just a hair faster.
In this league, a "hair faster" makes all the difference in the world.