Jamaal Charles knows he'll be a target

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Jamaal Charles knows the secret is out.

He is not going to sneak up on teams anymore.

“That’s over,” the Chiefs’ running back said Wednesday. “Teams are going to be looking for me now after last year. I’m going to have to step it up. I’m not going to surprise anybody anymore.”

I guess that’s what happens when you run for 1,467 yards (the second most in the NFL) and average a ridiculous 6.4 yards per carry. Teams are, indeed, going to key on you.

Still, I pointed out to Charles that his positive second half of the 2009 season surely caught the attention of NFL defensive coordinators. Charles had 1,120 yards after he took over the primary tailback role with half of that season remaining.

“It’s going to be more than last year,” Charles said. “Teams are going to be looking for me.”

That’s why the Chiefs -- who had the No.1 running attack in the NFL last season -- plan to give Charles plenty of help. In addition to holdover Thomas Jones, the team signed Le'Ron McClain, and second-year player Dexter McCluster is likely going to get more time at running back than at receiver, especially on third downs.

“It will keep me fresh,” Charles said. “Whatever helps the team, I’ll do.”

Averaging another 6.4 yards a pop would be a good start.