Jamaal Charles had just 11 touches in the Kansas City Chiefs first game of the 2014 NFL season. Not coincidentally, the Chiefs lost their first game in demoralizing fashion. It stands to reason Charles will be getting quite a bit more action in week two against Kansas City’s hated rivals, the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos certainly believe they’ll be seeing more of the Pro Bowl running back. According to Denver’s official website, the Broncos took plenty of notice that Jamaal Charles wasn’t actually getting anywhere near the action he’s seen in recent years. “When you have probably the best player on your team, probably — if not the best running back in the league — when you see him only get seven (carries), it puts up a lot of red flags,” said Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton.
Defensive back Aqib Talib said he knows the Chiefs will definitely be going with a heavier workload for Jamaal Charles. All of this does beg the question as to why there is so much talk about needing to find a bigger role for a player who is established as one of the best in the game. Kansas City head coach Andy Reid talked after the team’s first loss about how he did the team a disservice by getting his biggest weapon just seven carries and 11 touches overrall.
The lack of usage seemed to apply directly to just how poorly the offense operated. While quarterback Alex Smith is an upgrade over the passers the team has had in the last few years, he’s not someone who is going to win a game all by himself. Smith should be and is considered more of a game manager. In the team’s 26-10 loss, Smith showed why he isn’t someone a team can lean on as the key method of attack. The former San Francisco 49er completed just 19 of 35 passes, and while he had a touchdown pass, he also threw three interceptions.
Counter Smith’s performance with the five touchdown day the team’s running back had against the Oakland Raiders last December, and you start to realize why even Kansas City Chiefs opponents are scratching their head at how little Jamaal Charles was used last Sunday.
The final reason the Chiefs are going to go back to the best method of attack against the Broncos today? It is the only way they are going to have a chance to actually topple the defending AFC champion. If Jamaal Charles has 20 or more touches, his team has a chance to win, if he has 15 or less, there’s almost no chance.