KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs will have a problem in Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders, but it is one that is pleasant and was unexpected in the dark days after they lost Jamaal Charles for the season with a torn ACL.
“I think you have to use them both,’’ offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. “Charcandrick is more of that slasher, quick-cut guy and here comes Ware, a big physical type who can hit you downhill. It’s a little bit of a change of pace for a defense.
“It’s great to give both of those guys equal opportunity.’’
It may not be equal during Sunday’s game. The Chiefs like West, who is versatile enough to execute everything in their playbook. They particularly like him as a pass receiver coming out of the backfield. It’s why they promoted West over Knile Davis early in the season, when he became Charles’ leading backup.
But the Chiefs also can’t ignore the job done by Ware, who took over as the featured back from West two weeks ago in San Diego, when West left their lineup with a sore hamstring. Ware led the Chiefs in rushing that day and again in West’s absence last week against the Buffalo Bills.
Ware had more yards after contact in both games than either Charles or West had this season in any of their games.
“Aggressive, fierce, downhill,’’ Pederson said in describing Ware’s running style. “Powerful running back that you see out of Spencer. He runs very violently if you can figure that out. He just runs hard.’’
The Chiefs might find Ware’s ability more useful when yards are most difficult to come by, in short-yardage and goal-line situations and when they’re trying to kill some clock.
Ware last week became the third Chiefs back to rush for at least 100 yards in a game this season. That’s not unusual. It’s the 34th time a team has had at least three runners have 100-yard games during the same season in the last 20 years. The Chiefs did it in 2004 with Larry Johnson, Priest Holmes and Derrick Blaylock.
But the Chiefs have marched on without Charles with regard to their running game. Charles averaged 5.1 yards per attempt before his injury. The Chiefs are averaging 5.0 yards per carry since his injury. They are sixth in the NFL in yards per game (124.3) and yards per carry (4.6).
That’s not bad for a team that had to dig deep into its bench for running back reinforcements.