KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The best way for the Kansas City Chiefs to grow their offense is to develop threats other than running back Jamaal Charles. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and slot receiver Dexter McCluster immediately leap to mind.
But the Chiefs plan to try to squeeze even more from Charles, who leads the team in rushing, receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.
Kansas City Chiefs
“I don’t think so,’’ offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said when asked whether or not the Chiefs were getting about all they could from Charles. “He’s a guy that steadily wants a little more each week, a little more responsibility. The more he gets comfortable with our system and what we’re asking him to do, then we can put a little bit more on his plate.
“He’s so explosive and we want to be able to utilize him more in that fashion and create matchups in our favor.
The 6-0 Chiefs, tied for first place in the AFC West with the Denver Broncos, shouldn’t lessen their demands on Charles. He’s their most reliable offensive threat and if the Chiefs are to eventually make what they’d like to of this season, Charles has to be a huge part.
For him to be that, the Chiefs need to keep him healthy. This will be his first full week of practice in some time, though that’s not necessarily the best indication of his physical condition.
“Practice really doesn’t matter,’’ he said. “You’ve got to suit up on Sunday.’’
The Chiefs have at least 10 more of those Sunday games. The best way for the Chiefs to make sure Charles in their lineup for all of them is to get what they’re getting from Charles and grow the offense elsewhere.
The Chiefs re-signed Bowe this year for five years and $56 million but with just 20 catches, 229 yards and two touchdowns he’s on pace for his worst NFL season. New coach Andy Reid, Pederson and the rest of the offensive staff were excited about working with a player of McCluster’s potential, but he has just 12 catches.
But instead of talking about getting more from those players, they’re going to ask more from Charles. That’s a risky strategy.