KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Knile Davis didn’t take kindly to my suggestion that Jamaal Charles was too valuable for the Kansas City Chiefs to remove from their lineup for any extended period or that there’s a sizable gap between the abilities of the two running backs.
“I don’t feel like there’s a gap,’’ Davis said simply.
Good for Davis for standing up for himself. It's a good sign that he believes in his ability.
In fairness to Davis, he’s never had the chance to be a full-time back, as Charles has. Davis has had three games in his two seasons with the Chiefs in which he’s been the featured back. He rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries in the final regular-season game in 2013 when the Chiefs rested Charles and some other starters for the next week’s playoff game.
He replaced an injured Charles early in a Week 2 game last season in Denver and rushed for 79 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. He rushed 32 times for 132 yards and a touchdown the following week in Miami, but he also fumbled twice and dropped a pass. Pro Football Focus also shows him allowing a sack and a quarterback hurry in pass protection.
It’s impossible to ignore Davis’ deficiencies in the passing game. He has not been reliable as a receiver or pass-blocker. As a runner, he’s averaged 3.5 yards per carry in his two seasons, or a full 1.5 yards less than Charles.
That’s a significant difference. Until that changes and Davis becomes better as a receiver and pass-blocker, the Chiefs absolutely should go with Charles as their featured back.
Even if he doesn’t understand the reason, Davis gets that the job belongs to Charles.
“Be available and stay healthy and when Jamaal needs a blow, I’ll go,’’ Davis said when asked what he expected his role to be. “When it’s my turn, I’ll turn it on.
“He’s the starter. It’s his time. I’m waiting [until] my time.’’
Charles indicated he has no plans to retire any time soon. He’s only 28 so without dramatic improvement, Davis might be looking at a long wait.
“He says six more years,’’ Davis said. “I believe him. He made me a believer this far. We’ll see.
“If you look in his locker, there [are] a lot of vitamins, a lot of different shakes that he takes. He does massages, chiropractor, a lot of different things to keep his body in top-top [shape]. He’s a true professional.’’