Free Jamaal

Written before Chiefs-49ers game.

In the third game of his third season, Jamaal Charles is listed as the number two RB behind the seasoned Thomas Jones. He still, again carries a giant, immeasurable chip on his shoulder and has to attest to the fact that he as bona fide as they come. Charles has already justified himself against Todd Haley’s inane decision of issuing Jones the starting position, but this should be the final time.

Haley’s adamant about confiding in Jones but has generated an outcry by the Chiefs Kingdom. This decision is so subtle that this has tabbed Haley as a mediocre coach. The uproar has not been blow out of proportion, only understated. Haley, obviously needs to go with the lightning, it’s no secret who gives them more spark and scoring options. The role has been reversed on what was perceived when the Chiefs inked the veteran RB to a 2 yr. $5 million deal, Jones was penciled in as the secondary option as envisioned by Chiefs fans. But what we got was the inverse result.

This isn’t an unfamiliar position for Charles as he trounced RB Larry Johnson in the alleged RB battle which culminated in Johnson being released after Week 7 and being acquired by the Cincinnati Bengals. Initially, Charles should’ve been given the reins of the offense, but that didn’t turn out to be true, so he manifested why the Chiefs drafted him and ultimately was handed the job. It took time for him to win over the coaching staff and should’ve been a foregone conclusion with Johnson legs dead in the water and  his dwindling speed. (Through first 7 games the 2009 season- Johnson’s YPC- 2.6, Charles’ YPC- 5.5. Charles even had a smaller sample size and less carries. *Sigh*)

Haley has alluded to the significance of ball security and that may verify why he has confided in Jones, with an already hazardous threat under center in Matt Cassel. He has been harping on that all season and I’m not denying that. But he needs to be realistic with himself and plug in the electricity already. Charles still has gotten 10 plus carries in the first two games but that’s NOT ENOUGH to be effective he needs to be in possession of the ball at least 15 times per game. You can’t deprive a guy of touches with that kind of explosiveness and elusiveness particularly in this offense, which is downright putrid.

I can fathom where Haley is coming from and it’s conventional wisdom for coaches to go with the experience over youth. But it’s fuzzy thinking to have Jones on top of the depth chart when Charles is in the 3rd league of his encouraging NFL career. It’s staggering to think Charles was only on the field for the 19 of the 69 Chiefs’ offensive plays. Jones doesn’t have a definite edge in blocking or any other aspect besides years put in. Although Jones had was ostensibly an elite RB, he was running behind one of the most cohesive, powerful offensive lines, there’s alot of pretense behind that.

Charles has the ability to break a lengthy run, can play as the slot receiver and is less reliant upon the O-Line. He just has so much burst he makes Jones look like a Paraplegic. Charles has averages 6.4 YPC while Jones averages a pedestrian 3.7 YPC. Everything is in favor of Charles except ball security but even that right now is extraneous for an offense desperately trying to crawl its way out of their shell and need every asset they can get their hands on.

Let’s face it, the Chiefs have gotten preposterously lucky beating the notoriously slow-starting Chargers at home in an environment that heavily favored the Chiefs and only beat the Browns thanks to Brandon Flowers’ interception. Their luck is going to run dry at some point and points will be harder to come by soon, you just hope Haley  realizes when.