The Kansas City Chiefs are rumored to be desperate about their running back quandary, with the loss of Jamaal Charles threatening to put the season out of reach and sending the team to some innovative solutions to account for his loss.
The Chiefs have already dropped four straight games, and now must try to face the Minnesota Vikings without Charles. The All Pro running back tore his ACL last week, ending a season in which he averaged 5.1 yards per carry to go along with 177 receiving yards. He also managed five touchdowns, half of the team’s total to this point in the season.
Even the Chiefs appeared to be lost as to how to replace Charles.
“You know you’re not going to replace Jamaal,” coach Andy Reid said (via the Associated Press). “He’s one of the best. Really, when it’s all said and done, one of the best in the history of the game.
“We all need to pick it, right now. Raise the level.”
The reality is that the Kansas City Chiefs will not be able to replace Jamaal Charles, but are trying their best to make sure of what they have.
The Chiefs will instead be looking to Knile Davis and second-year back Charcandrick West to pick up more carries in his absence. They may also be looking to the wide receiver corps, with explosive receiver De’Anthony Thomas possibly seeing some time in the backfield.
The team is also trying to remain positive in light of Charles’ injury.
“For me, there are two choices: I mean, yeah, you can let this get to you,” said quarterback Alex Smith. “We have a lot of football left. You can get sidetracked, you can get distracted, you can make excuses. Or we can all look internally, we can all stay together and we can fight.”
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) October 15, 2015
But rumors indicate that the Kansas City Chiefs aren’t going to be looking for outside help, namely in the most talented and controversial running back on the free agent wire. Ray Rice has been awaiting a phone call from an NFL team since his year-long suspension for a domestic violence arrest, and it appears he will have to keep waiting.
The Chiefs brought in Ben Tate for a workout this week, but passed at taking a look at Rice. As Pro Football Talk noted, Rice’s age and his recent difficulties (including 3.1 yards per carry in his last season, 2013) may preclude him from ever getting a call.
“Rice’s name has popped up periodically this season when injuries occur (namely in Cleveland and Dallas), but he hasn’t had a chance to even work out for a team since he was banished by the NFL for knocking his wife out in a casino elevator, becoming the face of domestic violence in the NFL.”
“Other younger and more recently accomplished players have gotten such chances. In the case of Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy, it came without even a perfunctory show of contrition, while Rice has apologized multiple times, and seems to genuinely realize the horrible crime he committed.”
However the rumors shake out, the Kansas City Chiefs will be desperate to find an answer to their running back woes. The team stands at 1-4, likely already too far behind the 5-0 Broncos to even consider a division run and in need of a winning streak to get into wild card contention. With a passing game that is ranked No. 21 in the NFL and Alex Smith looking shaky, it seems the passing game isn’t coming in to save them and they’re going to have to hope the cobbled-together running back squad can turn things around.
[Picture by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]