ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- For all the unsolicited advice the Kansas City Chiefs receive about how to best preserve running back Jamaal Charles for the long term, they don’t seem inclined to listen. Days after they fortified Charles’ contract, the Chiefs appear prepared to utilize their best offensive player as much if not more than in seasons past.
"I think he's got a lot in the tank," coach Andy Reid said. “We're going to keep using him. He's a good football player and he enjoys playing the game, so we'll keep getting him the football."
It's difficult to argue with that strategy. The Chiefs have surrounded Charles with a decent cast of complementary players but they have no one else with his proven record of productivity.
The main backup for Charles is Knile Davis, who when it comes to raw ability has as much as anyone the Chiefs have, Charles included. At 227 pounds, Davis is a bigger, stronger runner than Charles and is every bit as fast.
Davis has come a long way since he joined the Chiefs as a rookie last year but he's still unpolished. He's particularly rough in the passing game, where his skills as a receiver and blocker lag far behind those of Charles. As offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said, "This will be a big camp for him."
With a strong showing at camp, Davis could convince the Chiefs he deserves more playing time. The Chiefs have fiddled with some formations that include both Charles and Davis.
But as far as diminished playing time for Charles, nothing short of injury will make that happen.
"He may not get more touches," Pederson said of Davis. "He may get more plays. We just pick our spots. There are certain plays for Knile and certain plays for Jamaal. Sometimes it's a feel thing: 'Hey, let's get Jamaal [a rest for a play or two] and then get him back in the game.'"