If he's ready, Knile Davis needs to play

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Knile Davis came to the Kansas City Chiefs this year as something far less than a finished product. The running back has been notorious for fumbling, lining up in the wrong place, running the wrong play and finding pass protection to be complex.

So it’s understandable that the Chiefs weren’t comfortable with Davis in any kind of meaningful role. But running backs coach Eric Bieniemy indicated Tuesday that Davis has made significant progress and is ready for more.

If that’s the case, the Chiefs need to give Davis more. Their floundering offense needs the help, and if Davis is capable of providing a boost, it’s not something the Chiefs should have to think hard about.

“He’s learning how to be a professional,’’ Bieniemy said. “He’s not just showing up for work every single day. He’s taking work home every day, learning how to study, learning how to study film in the correct way, making sure he’s detailed in all of his notes, taking care of his body. [He’s] doing all the little things that are going to help him be prepared as best he can for Sundays.’’

Asked why Davis didn’t get more than one offensive snap in last week’s game against Buffalo, Bieniemy said, “Probably more than anything it’s been Jamaal Charles. Jamaal is doing an outstanding job. We’ve got to get [Davis] involved more. He’s made the progress we’ve counted on. It’s just [a matter] of getting him in the mix.

“You want Knile to go out there and have some success, but it’s hard to pull Jamaal off the field when he’s doing the things he’s doing.’’

Agreed. I’m not advocating the benching of Charles. But the Chiefs can be more judicious about how he’s used. When Charles is out of the game, Davis needs to be in and getting the ball some.

Once upon a time, the Chiefs had a young running back who people seemed to think was a bust. When injuries to others ahead of him forced the Chiefs to pay him, Larry Johnson proved he was not a bust.

I’m not suggesting Davis’ career will turn out like Johnson’s. But Davis is big and fast, and a desperate offense needs to find out whether he is the guy who can supply a spark.