Controversy At 2-0? … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

OK, let me get this straight; I’ve been a little foggy for the last few days.

The Chiefs are 2-0 and the Chiefs Nation is a buzz with not a quarterback controversy, but a running back controversy? Some think there is a conspiracy afoot to deny Jamaal Charles playing time. One internet clown apparently wrote that Charles isn’t being allowed to play because he’s a draft choice of the Peterson-Edwards-Kuharich regime. Supposedly that has Pioli/Haley slicing his touches.

So, let’s approach this with some logic, without emotion and hopefully without that kind of stupidity. Follow along.

#1 – Coach Says What?

Todd Haley said when asked Monday if he was satisfied with the number of carries Charles has had – “What’s our record? I am very comfortable with how the majority of things have gone. Do I want to be better? Heck yeah. We have to be better in every area.”

How has the lack of opportunities the Chiefs have given Charles over the first two games hurt them? How does his lack of work change the outcome of games?

It doesn’t. End of story.

However, we’ve got bytes to use and inches to fill, so let’s move on and look at the situation.

#2 – The Numbers.

Charles has carried the ball 22 times for 141 yards, a 6.4-yard average, a 56-yard long run for his only TD. He has caught two passes for 35 yards, a 17.5-yard average and a long reception of 27 yards. He’s the leading rusher and fifth leading receiver and has the two longest offensive plays of the season. His total touches are 24 for 176 yards and a TD.

Starter Thomas Jones has carried the ball 33 times for 122 yards, a 3.7-yard average, a long run of 11 yards and no scores. He caught one pass for five yards. His total touches are 34 for 127 and no scores.

#3 – The 2009 Season

The finish of Charles season in ’09 is now part of Chiefs history. It was one of the best half-season performances in football history, let alone that of the Chiefs.

But let’s go back to the start of the season. In the first two games in ’09, Charles has eight touches for 37 yards, so he’s already had 16 more touches for 139 yards this year. He didn’t get his 24th touch until the fifth game of the season. Over the first eight games he averaged 5.75 touches per game.

Everything changed when Larry Johnson had another one of his personality farts and Kolby Smith was coming off that patellar tendon injury. That left Charles. Over the last eight games, he averaged 23 touches a game.

#4 – What Haley Knows About Charles.

Let’s give the Chiefs head coach credit for having some sense of football talent. He knows that Charles is the biggest offensive threat on his team. There isn’t any doubt about that or argument needed.

There also isn’t any doubt about this – Haley’s cushion as a head coach is gone. Last year was his break-in year. He needs to win games and this team needs to show significant improvement, or the future will be bleak.

#5 – So What’s Up?

Let’s look at factors involving Charles.

Haley’s Standards: We know that with Haley it’s not just about talent. There’s a lot more that a player has to show this coaching staff and you know most of those parameters – intelligence, focus, constant hard work, football first, being a good teammate and on and on. This is where Charles ran himself into the dog house last year. It wasn’t anything bad; it was an attitude of entitlement that he projected. As a third-round pick out of a big-time school like Texas, he expected to automatically be given the opportunity to start, especially given the problems of L.J. That’s what led to his game-day inactive status for the second week of the season against Oakland. Maybe Charles has run afoul on this point again.

Establishing An Offensive Identity: A more rugged back like Jones and an improved offensive line in place for this season, it gives Haley a better opportunity to establish a power running game. He wants to be able to take the ball and shove it down the throat of the defense. I know some people had this impression that based on the Arizona offense he was coordinating Haley was some mad bomber type wanting to throw the ball at every turn. He’s not that way. He’s far more old-school, far more understanding that in Kansas City in the winter an offense based on throwing the ball isn’t going to work. Quite possibly, the more action for Jones comes down to this.

Saving Him For Later: After the ’09 season, Charles had major surgery on his shoulder. It had been a problem for him over several years, but last year with the increased activity in the second half of the season, his shoulder kept popping out. Major surgery for a running back on his shoulder is a tough rehab. Given that background, maybe Haley is saving Charles for later. Maybe this plan that the head coach keeps saying they have with the backs involves giving more time to Jones early, and then Charles later. Maybe team doctors have said to go slow in his comeback.

Contract, What Contract? Charles is in the final season of his rookie contract. We don’t know what the labor landscape will look like come the spring, or even if there will be football. Under old standards he would be a restricted free agent. It’s hard to believe this would have anything to do with the current allotment of touches. But Haley’s going to give the most opportunities to the people he feels he can count on.

#6 – And Finally … Maybe It’s Too Early For This Type Of Controversy

Come on folks … it’s two games in a season with 16 to play. Whether or not there is any sort of trend would depend on a sample size far larger than what we’ve got. In game No. 1, Charles and Jones shared equally. In game No. 2, Jones was the obvious feature back.

It might make a lot more sense to wait and see what happens in Games No. 3 and 4 before we come to any conclusions.

I say enjoy the unbeaten record and the spot on top the AFC West. It might be around only another three days or so.


  • AFC – Texans WR Andre Johnson named offensive player of the week; Steelers LB James Harrison named defensive player of the week; Bengals kicker Mike Nugent named special teams player of the week.
  • NFC – Falcons RB Jason Snelling named offensive player of the week; Packers LB Clay Matthews named defensive player of the week; Saints K Garrett Hartley named special teams player of the week.
  • BUCCANEERS – FS Tanard Jackson was suspended for at least one year by the NFL for violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. He cannot apply for reinstatement until next season. Jackson was the Bucs starter in their first two games. He served a four-game suspension at the start of the ’09 season.
  • CHARGERS – RB Ryan Mathews will not play this weekend becasue of a high ankle sprain.
  • DOLPHINS – claimed TE Mickey Shuler on waivers from the Vikings.
  • JAQUARS – re-signed LB Jacob Cutrera; WR Scotty McGee was placed on the injured-reserve list (shoulder); added WR Lance Long to the practice squad.
  • JETS – released OT Patrick Brown; CB Darrelle Revis has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Dolphins because of a hamstring injury.
  • PATRIOTS – place RB Kevin Faulk on the injured-reserve list (right ACL), ending his season; signed an extension with Proctor & Gamble to keep the name Gillette Stadium through 2031.
  • RAIDERS – named Bruce Gradkowski the starting quarterback for this Sunday’s game; re-signed OT Erik Pears.
  • RAVENS – released S Ken Hamlin; activated CB Cary Williams from the suspended list.
  • SAINTS – signed RB Ladell Betts; released RB DeShawn Wynn.
  • STEELERS – named QB Charlie Batch as the starter for Sunday’s game in Tampa Bay.
  • VIKINGS – released TE Mickey Shuler.

24 Responses to “Controversy At 2-0? … Friday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • September 24, 2010  - Johannes says:

    Good article, this has been blown way out of proportion!

  • September 24, 2010  - Brad says:

    No question that Charles should be ‘saved’ so that he is at the peak of his powers at the end of the season. This is all the more important now, when there is a glimmer of hope that we might be in a race for a playoff position come December.
    The bigger controversy in my mind concerns McCluster. After hearing so much about him in training camp, he hasn’t down anything on offense (though of course has the one punt return). Why aren’t we doing more to get him the ball in open space?

  • September 24, 2010  - Matt says:

    So Charles is in the last year of his contract, and we drafted Dex who is a very similar player. Are we planning on letting Jamaal walk at the end of the season? I certainly hope not.

  • September 24, 2010  - aPauled says:

    I like where the Chiefs are and don’t buy any of the conspiracy theories. I would like to see more of Charles though. The 11 touches against Cleveland wasn’t enough…15 is probably the goal. Could it have changed the outcome? Not for this game. How about for future games?

    Beating Cleveland was the immediate goal. Getting better to compete with the upper echelon of teams is the bigger goal. This offense is not in any way to the point of sitting back and resting on its accomplishments. It has a looooooong way to go for the Chiefs to be .500 much less make a push for the playoffs. That preparation and improvement needs to be in the Chiefs minds every series of every game. Making Charles and Dex integral parts of the O, ensuring they get their touches is a critical part of that improvement.

  • September 24, 2010  - el cid says:

    Gosh, McCluster is not doing much? Why, oh why? Could it be that all 31 other teams noticed what his was able to do and decided “Let’s take him out of the Chiefs equation, let’s let them beat us with Cassel and his WRs”. You noticed what he can do but think the NFL should ignor him.

    As for Charles, we need to get over it. For whatever reason, Haley wants Jones and that pretty much says it all.

    Last note on Kolb, he is going no where but our resident genius, Pioli, has a responisbility to determine if he could improve the roster and availability. Face it, Pioli seems to only get involved with NE and MIA. I guess his genius does not extend to the 29 other NFL teams.

  • September 24, 2010  - Edward says:

    Yea I think media and fans are missing the big picture here. WE need to be upset with Weis not getting Dwayne Bowe more involved in the offense than Charles right now our running game is 4th in the league. Our passing game is near the bottom. People been banging Cassel but I watched the games receivers aren’t getting open. Its not like he’s just overthrowing alot of balls or underthrowing alot of balls. He’s been accurate for the most part its just receiver aren’t getting any separation.

    Mcluster has been spectacular as return guy. As a receiver he’s been falling down too much on his routes. Chambers isn’t getting any separation. Bowe just isn’t involved more on offense. Moeaki has been the only guy who consistently been getting open and he’s a rookie tight end. We can’t depend on him to carry the passing game. Weis has to do something to get #82 involved. All we read about was how much progress Bowe has made well its time for us to see that on the field.

    HEy Bob please ask Haley does he feel he need to get #82 more involved in the offense. Also how about getting Horne on the field to spark this passing game. HE like Moeaki showed in offseason he has a knack for getting open.

  • September 24, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    great cup o chiefs today, missed it.

    I too want to see charles more. but we are 2-0 and he is still fresh. I like the idea of saving him, but dont like it. we won both games so im not going to bitch, but if we were 0-2, that would be a different story. I for one like the fact that this team has improved much over last year, once our offense starts clicking we WILL be a good team. cant wait. so i will just enjoy our 2-0 and not say anything negative….yet

    bob. great observation of your take on the matter!

  • September 24, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    however, we BARELY won those games and mccluster and charles are game changers, Weis needs to be creative!

  • September 24, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    Does anyone else think chambers looks slow? he did do a very good job for us last year, but is he just one of those guys that doesnt look fast but he really is? he has a lengthy wierd build in my opinion, just looks like he takes long and slow strides….just a dumb thought. I guess he isnt, no one has ever seaid that he was

  • September 24, 2010  - Dave says:

    not aware of any controversy, but we are having the conversation because there is no way we can continue to win the way we have been. cannot depend on special teams and defense to put up points on a regular basis. getting charles the ball will increase our chances of a big play and open up the passing game. jones is a stud, but charles is a beast.

  • September 24, 2010  - Jimbo says:

    Welcome back Bob. Heres to you getting better each day.

    Charles is a great running back. I’m excited each time he has the ball in his hands. To say he is’nt feared by opposing teams would be an understatement. Just him on the field makes the defensive coordinator nervous.

    I don’t have any theories on his “less than what we think” amount of playing time. I think Bob’s point of his off season surgery & subsequent re-hab time is a big factor. I would say that we have been close in points with the first two teams we have played. No real threat for us to play catch up on the scoreboard. Maybe we don’t really have to constantly utilize our biggest playmakers (Charles & McCluster) to win those games. It would make sense not to expose them to injury if we are not in dire need of their full time services.

    I can guarantee you this much. Charles & McCluster will be seeing alot of playing time at Indy & Houston. Not so much bruised & banged up. Just healthy & ready to do some serious damage when called for active duty. As much as I look forward to these guys getting more playing time. I think for now, I can handle being a little more patient.
    Go Chiefs.

  • September 24, 2010  - Carl says:

    There is a lot more in play here than it appears on the surface.

    Is Charles’s recovery/health situation a factor? What about specific match ups that vary by game? Is there value in starting with Jones to establish a physical presence and wear down the defense, then counter with Charles’s quickness and speed? What about the change of pace provided by rotating two very good but different style backs? What about using both at the same time on occasion to confuse the defense? What about Charles’s durability over a 16 game season versus using him less often so that he is effective for all 16 games?

    In my opinion, Jones and Charles are both first first string backs that can be used strategically in a variety of ways. I believe it will all work out to the Chief’s advantage as the season progresses.

  • September 24, 2010  - Niblick says:

    Haley has said he would base the use of his running backs on the team we are playing. I don’t know the particular strengths or weakness’s he is trying to esploit with the using different running backs. Perhaps it has to do the speed of the linebackers. More straight ahead running with Jones and more outside running by Charles. I tend to agree with some of you that perhaps Charles is not fully recovered from his injury last year, and they are just being cautious.

  • September 24, 2010  - jim says:

    Prediction: Charles get 18 touches, McCluster is used in under patterns out of the slot, cassell is 18-24, Moieke gets 4 catches, and Bowe drops two passes.

    We win 24-21 and it goes to the wire.

    How ya like me now?????

  • September 24, 2010  - el cid says:

    About speed of WR. Bob Hayes was fast but had to learn to use his hands. Billenicoff (Oakland raider, remember, sorry about spelling) had no speed but lots of stick’em. Point is there are way to get open and the Chiefs do not seem to find a way. Any WRs out there got an idea?

  • September 24, 2010  - Niblick says:

    Jim-I like you analysis and prediction. I’ll add we hold Gore to under 100 yards.

  • September 24, 2010  - Tenand6 says:

    I think the Chiefs have handled their affairs quite well. I also think radio talk show hosts don’t know enough about football to talk about anything of substance. That being said, I hope Charles and McCluster can get the ball more frequently in space.

  • September 24, 2010  - napahank says:

    As for Charles verses Jones it really comes down to two things: 1)Not overusing either back (including resting Charles healing body) and 2)type of run needed. Mostly Jones has been used for the “hard to get short yardage” and Charles for the “no 8 in the box defensive alignments” (with exceptions of course). Finally, if we are going to be a run the ball and strong defense type team we don’t want to have another “wear out the running back” season occur like what happened to LJ years ago.

  • September 24, 2010  - rufus says:

    #7 Fantasy Football is real dammit!!! but screw you idiots playing it and coming into my reality with a bunch of manipulative whining about the lack of carries for YOUR RB lol

  • September 24, 2010  - Rick says:

    Geeze louise, some people would find the negative in nirvana itself.

    We are 2-0 and our offensive weapons (such as they are) are all healthy.

    Oh, and for the record, neither Jones nor Lilja came from Miami or New England.

  • September 24, 2010  - gorillafan says:


  • September 24, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    heres a little what wies said in and interview–quotes from another site…

    Clearly the two dominate story lines surround Matt Cassel and the Thomas Jones/Jamaal Charles setup. As for the latter, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis offered up a couple of interesting points when speaking to the media this afternoon.

    On a couple of occasions, Weis referenced the grind of a 16-game season when talking about the running backs.

    “When it’s all said and done, a season is 16 games. It’s not two games. So you have to plan for a marathon and not just that one game you’re playing. Your ultimate goal is to win that game, that week but you have to look at the big picture as well and make sure you have all your guys thinking as front-line players.”

    And again later….

  • September 24, 2010  - Nate says:

    Great article Bob. I think the only thing you didn’t mention is that Thomas Jones carried the ball 341 times last year and had zero fumbles. Charles has fumbles early in the game a couple of times. Wait until we get in a shootout and see who will be the running back. Jamaal charles! As has been said already we are 2-0 we have no room to bitch or complain about any of this!

  • September 25, 2010  - Niblick says:

    You can add Weigmann and Castille to that list of players not coming from New England and Miami.

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