Charles Gets It Done As Receiver

From Arrowhead Stadium

Todd Haley likes to talk about how his players’ ability to understand their roles has been a big factor in the success of the Chiefs in the 2010 season.

That’s especially true with Jamaal Charles. He knows what his job is.

“My role is to make plays, to get the ball in my hands and move,” Charles said Sunday, after the Chiefs had beaten the Tennessee Titans 34-14. “I think I can do that a lot of different ways.”

Charles has shown that over his three-year career. He’s made big plays as a runner, receiver and returner. Sunday against the Titans, it was as a receiver where he shined. Charles caught four passes for 40 yards, but two of those went for touchdowns.

“I’ve always been catching the ball out of the backfield,” said Charles. “It’s just today that I was more in the game plan as a receiver. I just wanted to make plays. I just went and made plays for my team.”

As a receiver this season, Charles has caught 43 passes for 455 yards and now three touchdowns. That ranks him third on the team in catches and yards, behind only WR Dwayne Bowe and TE Tony Moeaki.

For his career, he now has 110 catches for 1,024 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

“Jamaal has continued to grow in the passing game the entire year,” said QB Matt Cassel. “Today was a great example of that. If you can get him the ball in some space, he does some great things. It increases your stats and your passing yards, you’ve got to love that; throw him a short pass and let him do all the work.

“He continues to grow as a player. He keeps getting better and better.”

The yards were hard to come by on the ground against Tennessee, as the Titans were determined to clog the box. That’s why the Chiefs used so many formations where a tight end was lined up as a wide receiver. The idea is simple – get that safety or linebacker out of the box and covering the tight end.

Charles ended up with 77 yards on 13 carries. That gives him 1,380 yards on the season. Combined with his receiving, that’s a contribution of 1,835 offensive yards this season on 259 touches. That’s 7.1 yards every time he touches the ball.

That’s what makes him so vital to the Chiefs offense, and why teams like the Titans come in trying to shut down the running game.

“The main objective with them being the leading rushing team was to slow them down and for the most part, we did so,” said Titans MLB Stephen Tulloch. “They had a couple of plays here and there in the air. They made big plays and they jumped out early and they held their own.”

Another way to open up those running lanes is to get Charles involved out of the backfield catching the football.

“I always thought Jamaal had good hands and natural receiver skills,” said Chiefs head coach Todd Haley. “It’s more about Jamaal being able to handle all facets of the position; being a running back in this league is a difficult job. Backs and tight ends have to transition between run and pass and that adds in a whole bunch of factors that can affect you.

“Jamaal has been getting a better and better grasp of his role on this team. Jamaal has a big role on this team. He does a number of different things for this team. He understands his role.”

He sure does. His role is to make things happen.

“I just want to go out and make plays,” Charles said. “That’s what I do for this team. I want to be great. I don’t want to be average. I want to go out there and do things right, pick up the blitzes, run the ball, catch the ball out of the backfield and whatever the coach asks you to do, go out there and execute it.”

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