J.C. For L.J. Helps Run Game … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

Larry Johnson had his first 100-yard rushing game of the 2009 season last Sunday in Cincinnati’s victory over Cleveland. There was nothing fancy with his 107 yards on 22 carries, an average of 4.9 yards per carry; not bad for a guy who averaged 2.9 yards every time he ran the ball with the Chiefs this year.

Even though L.J. had a 100-yard game, there’s nobody around the Chiefs wishing he was back with the team. Forget the off-field stuff and focus just on football. With the offensive line that the Chiefs have right now and Todd Haley’s scheme in its first year, Jamaal Charles is better fit than Johnson.

It’s already showing on the field.

“Here’s a kid we put through a little adversity early and sat him, and he’s fought and pushed and everybody is getting a little excited about him,” said Todd Haley, who is one of those people getting excited.

That excitement starts with how Charles has handled himself in several tough situations, from not dressing for the Oakland game in September because of practice habits and focus, to fumbling the opening kickoff against the New York Giants, to his big fumble last Sunday in San Diego. He’s handled the bad with the good and it’s not led to any outbursts, tweets on Twitter, Facebook comments or the like.

Johnson sat out the Jacksonville game on his one-game club suspension and was released the next week. Charles has been the starter for the last four games and he’s run the ball 55 times for 290 yards, a 5.3-yard per carry average with two rushing touchdowns. In his seven starts, L.J. ran 132 times for 377 yards, a 2.9-yard per carry average with no touchdowns.

It’s not like there have been wholesale changes in the offensive line between the time Johnson was the focus to now when Charles is the lead dog. Right guard has been the weakest link in the club’s offensive line chain all season, whether Mike Goff, Andy Alleman or Wade Smith. Currently it is Smith, who seems to have laid claim to the job while filling in for the injured Alleman, who took over for the injured Goff.

Why has Charles been more effective than Johnson? The biggest factors are his speed and his running style. Charles has shown the ability to get to the edge with options. Johnson could get to the edge, but his lack of quickness allowed defenses to continue to string him out and stop the run for little or no gain.

Charles’s quickness allows him to get to the edge and then he has options of where he wants to run. He plants his foot, goes up field and boom, he’s suddenly has five yards.

All this is especially helpful to the offensive line. Across the board the 2009 Chiefs have little margin for error, and that’s especially true along the O-line. But Charles with his speed and quickness allows the linemen to be less than perfect with their blocks. The blockers need to sustain a block for a shorter period of time, and they can get less of their man on the block and Charles can still make something out of the play.

It was evident in watching this offensive line blocking for Johnson that they had to be too perfect, and that wasn’t something they were going to achieve with the players on hand.

The other aspect that Charles brings to the offense is in the passing game as a receiver. Try as he might – and he did try – Johnson was not very effective in the passing game. His 78-yard catch and run on a screen pass against Arizona back in 2006 was a marvelous effort that helped the Chiefs beat the Cardinals that day. But over the last three seasons, there were fewer and fewer plays from Johnson in the passing game.

Since he became the starter, Charles has 12 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. His catch last Sunday against the Chargers was a thing of beauty. Back at the start of the regular season, Haley and his offensive staff had Charles spend time every week with the wide receivers catching footballs. In those practices, he ran receivers routes, not running back routes.

That extra work really showed up on the 49-yard play against San Diego. Charles had to adjust to coverage from CB Quentin Jammer and an underthrown ball from QB Matt Cassel. He did both on the fly and caught the ball.

And despite the fact Charles is 30 pounds lighter than Johnson he’s actually a better blocker in the backfield when it comes to helping with pass protection.

Timing is everything and right now Jamaal Charles is the back to get something done in the Chiefs offense.

CHIEFS MAKE SOME PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES

On Tuesday, the Chiefs added DT Derek Lokey to their practice squad and released DT Marlon Favorite.

Lokey signed with the Chiefs last year as an undrafted college free agent out of the University of Texas. He spent most of the year on the practice squad, but was activated for the ’08 finale in Cincinnati. He was released on September 5th in the final cutdown before the start of the regular season.

The Chiefs still have a spot open on their developmental squad after WR Quinten Lawrence was promoted to the active roster before the game in San Diego.

SIGNINGS, INJURIES & MOVEMENT AROUND THE LEAGUE

  • BEARS – signed LB Cato June.
  • BUCCANEERS – signed P Sam Paulescu.
  • CHARGERS – released OT Corey Clark; signed LB Marques Harris.
  • COLTS – released DE Josh Thomas and CB Anthony Madison.
  • EAGLES – released RB Ramzee Robinson; promoted WR Jordan Norwood from the practice squad; signed TE Brent Celek to a six-year contract extension.
  • FALCONS – released K Jason Elam and LS Bryan Pittman; signed K Matt Bryant and LS Joe Zelenka.
  • 49ERS – promoted RB Brit Miller from the practice squad.
  • PANTHERS – released LB Kelvin Smith; signed LB Quinton Culberson.

FROM THE PAGES OF CHIEFS HISTORY

On December 2, 1962, the Dallas Texans lost to the Buffalo Bills 23-14 at War Memorial Stadium. A crowd of 35,261 saw the home team jump to 16-0 lead and rode that to victory. The Texans were shutout in the first half, but scored in the second half on a 13-yard TD pass from QB Len Dawson to TE Fred Arbanas. Later Dawson connected with TE Tommy Brooker for a 28-yard score. The Texans turned the ball over four times. RB Curtis McClinton (right) had 100 yards in total offense, including a 40-yard run. Bills QB Jack Kemp was 21 of 35 for 248 yards and a pair of TD passes.

On December 2, 1973, the Chiefs tied the Cleveland Browns 20-20 in front of 70,296 fans at Arrowhead Stadium. The visitors scored twice late in the fourth quarter to even the score and escape with a tie rather than a defeat. The Chiefs were up 20-6 when RB Ed Podolak scored on a two-yard run. He set up the score with a 48-yard punt return late in the fourth quarter. Earlier, WR Elmo Wright (left) caught an 11-yard TD pass from QB Mike Livingston and Jan Stenerud kicked a pair of FGs. Livingston left the game in the third quarter, suffering a cut jaw and losing several teeth. He was replaced by Pete Beathard. Cleveland’s late scores came on a 65-yard TD run by rookie RB Greg Pruitt and then QB Brian Sipe connected with TE Milt Morin for a 51-yard scoring pass with two minutes, 40 seconds to play. RB Willie Ellison ran for 108 yards on 20 carries. The Chiefs defense forced four turnovers.

On December 2, 1979, the Chiefs beat the Seattle Seahawks 37-21 in front of 42,160 fans at Arrowhead Stadium. On the road, the Chiefs jumped out to a 24-0 lead at half-time as the offense pounded home three TDs and K Jan Stenerud hit two FGs. QB Steve Fuller threw a 28-yard TD pass to WR J.T. Smith and RB Ted McKnight had touchdown runs of three and five yards. RB Earl Gant had a two-yard run as well. Stenerud finished with three field goals. Defensively, the Chiefs picked off Seattle QB Jim Zorn (right) three times, as Gary Barbaro, Gary Green and Frank Manumaleuga all had picks. DE Mike Bell had a sack.

On December 2, 1984, the Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos 16-13 at Arrowhead Stadium. A crowd of 38,494 saw K Nick Lowery hit three FGs in the fourth quarter, including a 42-yarder with less than two minutes to play to win the game. The Chiefs only TD was a 24-yard pass from QB Bill Kenney to WR Carlos Carson. QB John Elway threw a 48-yard scoring pass to WR Steve Watson, but also was picked off by CB Albert Lewis. Carson had 126 yards on seven catches. The Chiefs sacked Elway three times, two by LB Jerry Blanton and the other by DE Art Still.

On December 2, 1990, the Chiefs beat the New England Patriots 37-7 at Foxboro Stadium. From the first series of the game, the Chiefs controlled this contest as QB Steve DeBerg hit WR Stephone Paige (left) on an 86-yard TD pass. That helped them jump out to a 23-0 half-time lead. DeBerg had an 11-yard TD pass to WR Robb Thomas and RB Christian Okoye scored on a pair of one-yard runs. K Nick Lowery hit three field goals. Overall, RB Barry Word ran 19 times for 122 yards and Paige caught seven passes for 151 yards. Defensively, Deron Cherry and Jeff Donaldson both had interceptions, while Bill Maas and Neil Smith had two sacks each.

SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY …

Born on December 2, 1959 in Mankato, Minnesota was OL Todd Thomas. He was selected in the fifth-round of the 1981 NFL Draft out of the University of North Dakota. Thomas played one season with the Chiefs, appearing in 15 games during that rookie season.

Born on December 2, 1969 in Atlanta was LB Lew Bush. He joined the Chiefs in 2000 as a free agent after playing seven seasons with the Chargers. Bush played three seasons (2000-02) with the Chiefs, appearing in 37 games, with 24 starts. He had one interception and recovered a fumble.


24 Responses to “J.C. For L.J. Helps Run Game … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • December 2, 2009  - MenInRed says:

    Ya like on opening day and LJ should of been cut/traded in the off season and we would of saved $,$$$,$$$.$$ but oh-well. Things are getting better in our run game now.

    Go Chiefs!!!


  • December 2, 2009  - gorillafan says:

    Lee,

    Im a big fan of this new regime and dont dog them much, but I have wondered why they didnt see this earlier…

    But like bob said, they had to set him out due to practice issues, ect…so maybe it is to Haleys credit that Jamaal is starting to be a stud. Having him practice with the recievers and practice a certain way…who knows but Charles is looking good and thats all that matters for the future of the team we love best!!


  • December 2, 2009  - el cid says:

    gorillafan – “I have wondered why they didnt see this earlier”. That is what I have been saying all season long. Pioli/Haley have credentials to do their job and, goodness knows, the Chiefs needed a new road. But they do strange things, not bad or good, just strange. Add the mystery they like to surround themselves around and it magnifies it. I have beat it to death, I know. But sign forever QB and surround him with Goff. The draft, so far I am correct, except for Succop not one guy has shown any skill or improvement. Ignor the free agents but buy into every WR off the street. If a OLineman gets hurt, Wade Smith is the only backup. Miss judge LJ, dump him, and no backup for Charles except a hobbled Kolby Smith. They make odd decisions without explanations. It looks like the pizza against the wall plan, see if anything sticks.


  • December 2, 2009  - el cid says:

    While I am ranting – 4 REPEAT 4 TEs The one they drafted apparently has nothing. Always inactive and the two off the street play. Cottam plays in some cases but not effective. But we really need to carry 4 TEs on this roster because we have no needs for other positions. Someone please explain this to me, I am just to stupid.


  • December 2, 2009  - SG says:

    I will admit I was wrong in my assessment of Mr. Charles – who has performed rather well at RB thusfar. I wonder what either Charles or LJ would do with a good O-Line.


  • December 2, 2009  - Jim Lloyd+ says:

    I see Pope & Cottam in there more & more ,but along with this the blocking is better . It’s starting to show in the run game .
    Matt thinks he can take more time in throwing , but the longer he holds the ball its not working .
    Drew & Tom were throwing a LOT QUICKER than Matt .
    The extra time Matt takes ONLY gives the deffence more time to cover and then Matt can’t find anyone ,except his new friends – 350 lbs apeice , then add another SACK to the record count .
    Matt IS MORE AFAID OF AN INTERCEPTION than a sack or fumbel .
    YOU have to look off coverage and throw QUICKER to receivers in route , wether they are there or not ,this has to be praticed AAALOT . To win in todays game you HAVE TO HAVE PLAYS THAT GAIN CHUNKS & CHUNKS OF THE FIELD TO EVER WIN …
    They are all getting the ball down the field TOO fast !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • December 2, 2009  - jimbo says:

    Charles is looking good. He is always fighting for that extra yard. A refreshing running style sorely missed around here. Has anybody noticed that whenever he gets tackled he is consistently pointed downfield, meaning he is not getting caught going horizontal.
    Granted Haley has been patient in putting Charles on the field & I’m sure he had his reasons, meantime I thoroughly enjoy watching Charles with the ball. We may have ouselves a future pro-bowler.
    Go Chiefs.


  • December 2, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    SG says:
    “I will admit I was wrong in my assessment of Mr. Charles – who has performed rather well at RB thusfar. I wonder what either Charles or LJ would do with a good O-Line.”

    I think we’ve seen what LJ can do with good blocking…in his good years here, and last week with the Bengals. We also saw what he could do with poor blocking. Which was basically nothing. LJ is the type of back that HAS to have good blocking to be effective.

    Charles, on the other hand, has proven that he doesn’t need good blocking to gain yardage. He’s elusive, has the speed to turn the corner and go, and the ability to shed tackles. He’s also still young and learning. The more experience he gets, and the smarter he plays…the better he should become. What could he do with a good O-line? I think he’d be a freakin’ monster. I’m really hoping we find out the answer to that question next year. But, that’s probably just a wild dream.


  • December 2, 2009  - ABLEY says:

    I too am encouraged by Charles’s production, but it seems like every time he gets going and has a couple of good games, he fumbles at the worst time. Although LJ’s production was awful this year, he held on to the ball. Same thing for when he was putting up monster numbers a few seasons ago, he held on to the ball. If Charles can hold on to the ball then watch out.


  • December 2, 2009  - colby says:

    There’s no question that our offense has been better ever since it’s been changed to the Charles/Chambers show from the LJ/Bowe show. When Bowe returns, we should be even better. Also, Kolby Smith is still shaking off the rust and he should only improve as the games go on.

    As for Cassel holding the ball too long, I agree. HOWEVER, play calling is part of the problem as we seldom see WR screens or quick slant patterns. Also, if his WRs aren’t getting open, I don’t want him forcing throws and getting picked off either.


  • December 2, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    Popular misconception, ABLEY.

    LJ did NOT hold onto the ball, really. He has 15 career fumbles. In 2005, he fumbled 5 times. Last year, he fumbled 5 times…in what, 12 games? This year, LJ had two fumbles for us. Charles has two this year (if I’m not mistaken). So how is it that Charles has problems holding onto the ball…and LJ didn’t?

    Charles muffed a kickoff…and got stripped of the ball in SD. I think this popular notion that he can’t hang onto the ball is unfounded. Besides, a lot of good RB’s (past and present), are known to cough it up now and then.


  • December 2, 2009  - Alexthe"GREAT" says:

    Its funny how Haley is trying 2 take all the credit for Charles success “Here’s a kid we put through a little adversity early and sat him, and he’s fought and pushed and everybody is getting a little bit excited about him” If LJ would have never committed the ultimate sin in criticizing the HC(which had more truth than anything)then Charles would be still inactive rotting on the bench!


  • December 2, 2009  - Alexthe"GREAT" says:

    Mad Chief…….Charles is a good RB but he does fumble the ball more often than not…..U have 2 realize he doesnt get many touches and when he does, he will eventually put it on the ground. U cant compare him and LJ b/c at times LJ would touch the ball 35 times a game vs Charles 15.


  • December 2, 2009  - big vess says:

    Thats true Johnson did handle the ball well and not fumble as much as Charles and size as well but LJ had limits as far as the complete back. Charles has all the things in a back except for size he looks a lot like Chris Johnson but I would take him over LJ of 2004,05,06 because LJ did not have the cut back ablity of Charles and Charles would make you miss him with juke moves instead of the bruiser approach that LJ brought. Better hands Charles better blocking skills Charles and the open field Charles so I will take Charles. Just think if we had Charles during the time we had a great offensive line during the Vermeil years OMG! He would have broken the record a lot sooner.I did enjoy the old LJ of anger and determination during the those years before he became a filled fat cat with nothing to prove .


  • December 2, 2009  - gorillafan says:

    Alexthe GREAT

    Just because Charles was a good player before, doesnt mean you can be coached better, to be a more elite player in the NFL? Im sure thats the direction Haley was taking with Charles and D-Bowe for that matter

    Unfortunately its a process for the players we have on our current roster as well and the franchise..

    Id rather have Charles or anyother player we have set out and get there shit together and be a better player as a result……just look what Vince Young is doing now


  • December 2, 2009  - gorillafan says:

    Another post that didnt post, this is getting old……


  • December 2, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    Alexthe”GREAT” says:
    “Charles is a good RB but he does fumble the ball more often than not…”

    More often than not? 2 fumbles is “more often than not”?

    Hey, I’ll take a guy who can make things happen, and produces results, but MIGHT fumble every now and then…over a guy that hangs onto the ball, but gains 2 yards and falls down.


  • December 2, 2009  - gorillafan says:

    ….okay i make this short then–Alexthe”GREAT” id take Haley setting players out like D-Bowe and Charles to get the most out of them and there potential anyday than them just being pretty good players…he is trying to make them great players..so im okay with it i guess–look and VINCE YOUNG..good example “that worked”

    i do however agree with you on the fumbles issue with lj compared to charles


  • December 2, 2009  - Mad Chief says:

    The fumble Charles had Sunday is being blown WAY out of proportion. He was trying to fight for yards, got stood up, and the guy stripped him of the ball. A good play by the Defense, really. It not like Charles just coughed it up out of nowhere. And while our guys just stood there and watched, basically. When you see other teams RB’s in that situation…you’ll see their linemen knocking defenders off their man with the ball.

    So yes, Charles fumbled…technically. But this “headhunt” by some is crazy. Get off the young man’s ass and let him learn from it, and go on. It’s not like it was on the game winning drive or anything. The Chargers killed us, regardless.

    Why is no one questioning Matt Cassel’s ability to hold onto the ball? That “butterfingers” fumble he had would make me question a players ability to hang onto the ball 1,000 times more than Charles’ fumble.


  • December 2, 2009  - Jim Lloyd+ says:

    Other teams have recivers that the ball is thrown to and it goes between their hands and is on the ground . Then there is the few that just grab it if it is near them , all the time.
    When you get old , there are still alot of thing’s you think you can do —- but you can’t or even players that are not old seem to have the same problem ?
    Even a class III flying eye test often reveals a lot of sight corrections needed for when you look down you see the runway out farther than it is .
    If your not carefull you can land short !
    D. Bowe get two different eye tests for down Prif.vision test’s ? I think you are seeing the ball in an ever so slightly different movement than it really is ….. Just knowing this maybe can fix it enough to correct –eye-hand grip !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • December 2, 2009  - Jim Lloyd+ says:

    Untill I just wrote this last mention of line of sight & catching problems , I never thought about it but Tony G . almost always ran routes that you had to reach out for the ball . when the ball is comming straight at you——maybe , it will look smaller and there could be a tendancy to NOT get a grip as the same speed ? I see this in a lot of games , with a lot of different players .
    This is in these side line short passes , they seem harder to catch !


  • December 2, 2009  - Alexthe"GREAT" says:

    Hey dont get me wrong I LOVE Charles, but he has always had a history of fumbling the ball its just facts all the way back 2 college…..and Cassel I wont even go there with him…I’m still waiting for him 2 show me something consistently. I know all the Cassel lovers are gonna say he is tough he can take a hit and get back up…………last time I checked we were all watching football right? Isnt that what u are suppose 2 do?…Tackle who has the ball and he gets up and u start the next play.


  • December 3, 2009  - SG says:

    “But, that’s probably just a wild dream.”

    But should it be? Should we raise our expectations of our coach and GM to do more than that?




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