The Kansas City running game finally started producing at any acceptable level in the final preseason game Thursday night against Green Bay, albeit with the third and fourth backs, Cyrus Gray and Shaun Draughn, doing most of the work.
Still, the overall preseason numbers were ugly. Jamaal Charles, who played in only two of the four exhibition games, averaged 1.9 yards per carry. Even with the improved numbers against the Packers, Charles, Gray, Draughn and Knile Davis combined to average slightly less than three yards per carry in the four games.
That’s the kind of result the Chiefs probably should have expected given the emphasis coach Andy Reid put on the passing game during the offseason and training camp. The Chiefs ran a few practices where all they did was throw.
“I was trying to get the pass game going,’’ Reid said. “I felt like this team has run the ball well in the past. It hasn’t necessarily thrown the ball quite as well as I thought needed to be done. I wanted to really get that taken care of as best we could and get enough reps at that before we got into the season.’’
Reid is correct in that the Chiefs had one of the NFL’s worst passing games the past two seasons. But he may come to regret not spending more time getting Charles, the Chiefs’ best offensive player, more comfortable.
The signature preseason moments for the running game came last week in Pittsburgh. The Chiefs needed one yard for a first down, but the blockers couldn’t get a push on consecutive plays and Charles was swarmed behind the first-down marker.
Expect more moments like that this season, acceptable though they may be if the cost is a greatly improved passing game.
“I know we’ve got a good runner there and he’s had a lot of yards and he’s done it mostly behind this offensive line so we’ll see how that goes once we get into the regular season,’’ Reid said. “You get into the season and get the blend going and kind of mix and match. I think we’ll be OK. I thought we were average at that [in the] preseason games. I think we’ll be all right when all is said and done.’’