Offense Needs Faster Jamaal … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

Over his still young NFL career, Jamaal Charles has done some amazing things, including averaging 6.38 yards per carry last year, the first running back to go that high since Jim Brown did 6.4 yards per carry in 1963. Since mid-season in 2009, he’s run for 2,491 yards in the last 25 regular season games.

One thing Charles has not been is a fast starter. After a miserable opener against Buffalo, the Chiefs need the young back out of Texas to get up and running faster than he has in previous seasons, much faster.

“I haven’t started out very fast in the past, but I was always in different roles with the offense then,” Charles said. “Sometimes I wasn’t given the opportunity to get the yards. If you don’t get the opportunities, it’s hard to get the yards.”

Charles is right – only in the last two seasons was he in the same role as the lead piston in the Chiefs offensive engine. As a rookie in ’08 he was a limited participant at the start of the season. At the start of the ’09 season, he was in Todd Haley’s doghouse and even missed the second game of the ’09 season when he was a healthy game-day inactive.

Including his 10-carry, 56-yard performance against Buffalo last Sunday, Charles has played 12 games so far in the first quarter of the 2008-09-10-11 seasons. Not once did he crack 100 yards. Three of the 12 games he topped 75 yards, with all of those performances coming last season. In those 12 games he averaged 44.1 rushing yards per game.

Charles didn’t crack the 100-yard mark until the eighth game of the ’08 season, the ninth game of the ’09 season and the seventh game last year, when he ran for 177 yards against Buffalo.

“It just comes down to making plays, no matter who is in there, no matter who we are playing, we just have to make plays and I have to make plays,” said Charles, who cracked off a 22-yard run against Buffalo, but otherwise was held to 34 yards on the other nine carries.

“I want to be great. I want to be the best player on the field. I’ve got to make plays for my team.”

Right now, the Chiefs would be happy if he didn’t make plays for the opponent. Suddenly, Charles has been coughing the ball up, losing two fumbles in the final pre-season game against Green Bay and then another one in the opener against Buffalo.

“Yeah, when you turn the ball over it’s very concerning to me,” head coach Todd Haley said. “It’s not just Jamaal; it’s anybody that’s carrying the football. There’s a direct correlation between the plus-minus (turnovers) and win-loss. There’s no other stat that’s even close.

“If you can end up in the plus, you have a much better percentage chance of winning so we need to protect the football and at the same time, we need to create more turnovers. That’s the bottom line because that cures a lot of ills.”

Charles knows that, and knows it’s important for him to correct the problem. He’s too important to the success of the Chiefs offense to be taking them off the field by giving the ball away.

“I just have to be calm and make some plays, but I have to let them come and not try to force things,” Charles said. “That’s when fumbles happen.”

Is there anything else holding back Charles at the start of the season? In those dozen games in the first quarter of the season, he ran for 529 yards, an average of 44 yards per game. In the other 37 games he ran for 2,415 yards or 65 yards per game.

“I honestly don’t feel any different at the start,” said Charles. “Maybe it just takes time to get the momentum going. I don’t run any harder at the end of the year than I do at the beginning.”

Coming off his 1,467 yards rushing last year, Charles ended up spending most of his off-season/lockout time back home in Port Arthur, Texas. He worked out with familiar faces, did a lot of track work with local sprinters and tried to maintain, even improve his speed.

“I worked hard with the track guys and I think it really paid off,” said Charles. “I felt good going to camp and now that we have started the season, I feel good and strong, ready for the long marathon.”

Here are the numbers for Charles over the first four games and then the first game where he reached 100 yards.











1st 100-yard







Game #8/18 for 106






Game #9/18 for 103






Game #7/22 for 177



13 Responses to “Offense Needs Faster Jamaal … Friday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • September 16, 2011  - ED J says:

    IF this offense is going to be successful Charles needs to get over 20 plus carries and Bowe needs to have more than 3 catches. He hasn’t done much since that Titans game last season. He needs to step up as well. In this league you’re going get double coverage you have to learn how to beat double coverage. Charles is just amount of opportunties. If he gets the carries he’ll be productive thats on Muir and Haley. Its on Cassel to get Bowe more involved. I also would like to see him get Breaston involved as well.

  • September 16, 2011  - bhive01 says:

    IF Cassel can start going through his progressions instead of staring down receivers that would help get Breaston and eventually Baldwin and our passing game going.

    I agree that Charles needs carries. We also need to not get in major point deficits that get us away from the run game.

  • September 16, 2011  - Michael says:

    It all kind of gets dysfunctional together. No run game=no passing game=quarterback under pressure and making mechanical and mental mistakes.

    It all starts with the Chiefs running the ball. It’s key for their play action passes and giving Cassel time. I really think they need McClain in the game more, blocking for Charles, Jones and McCluster, and he can run and catch a little, too. Rolling Cassel out helps also. I’m also not opposed to little dump off passes if the receiver (Charles, Jones or McCluster) is in a position to get YAC, but not for a 3yrd gain.

  • September 16, 2011  - bhive01 says:

    How about a 4 yard gain?

  • September 16, 2011  - traumaman says:

    If Haley really wants to get Charles going and win consistently, someone needs to get an important message to Pioli a memo; copy the Raiders and Lions personnel and attitude model. Begin by starting players that actually instill some fear in our opponents aka LeRon McClain and maybe relieve them occasionally with Charles. Unfortunately, Charles is cute, but his heart and ability to take a hit was exposed by the Ravens and Raiders last year. Trade him now, if anyone would give us anything for him!!! Use any player proceeds to fix glaring “O & D” lines that don’t intimidate even the weakest teams in the NFL. This version of the Chiefs is admired by fans and players around the league as much as “the tallest midget.” Perhaps the Raiders have discipline issues and the Lion’s have always been a joke, but I’ll take big, strong, nasty and at this point, undisciplined, any day over this unimpressive group of lightweights Pioli has assembled. Unfortunately, when not a single player on our active roster grades out better than the roster equivalent of two proverbial bottom dwellers like Oakland and Detroit, oh wait that’s KC as well since Marty’s departure, we in KC have to become vocal about our serious long term problem that is mostly thanks to our GM that has demonstrated he is a complete novice.

  • September 16, 2011  - Chuck says:

    Lets just say that if Haley is the true MASTER PLAY CALLER that some people think he is then lets see him work his magic sunday in the Motor City. This is where the man can really earn his 3 million dollar annual salary.

  • September 16, 2011  - Chuck says:

    On a side note I went back and watched the play that Stevie Johnson knocked out Eric Berry on. I actually watched it in replay mode 8 times. Let me say that one more time, I watched the replay 8 times carefully. YES, it was a cheap shot. YES, he aimed his helmet low at his knees which he would not have had to do. I hope you guys go back and watch it. IT WAS A CHEAP SHOT. One play and our pro bowl safety is out for the entire year because of a CHEAP SHOT. Good thing Iam not the commishiner as Stevie would be looking at a 50K fine and a 4 game suspension!!!!!

  • September 16, 2011  - Justin says:

    Wow, traumaman, sounds like you have some issues. First, question Jamal’s health not his heart. He has taken quite a few good shots and gotten up and played on. He also made an average line look very good for the last couple years (this by the way concedes a bit of your point about the OL and DL). Trading him gets you nothing unless you can replace the WHOLE line. As far as your undsiciplined goes – see the Raiders – they have tons of talent and tough, nasty players but they GO NOWHERE.

  • September 16, 2011  - el cid says:

    I bet a farm, Charles will be as ready to play as physically possible. But is still a team sport and coaching required. Offense, defense, and even special teams will play a bigger part if Charles is successful or not. After last sunday, I just do not know. Detroit’s games will tell us a whole lot about the Chiefs, the running game, coaching, and success in 2011. I am just not sure it will be good news, but hope springs eternal.

  • September 16, 2011  - aPauled says:

    I kind of agree with traumaman’s point, although I wouldn’t trade Charles. He doesn’t tend to get the tuff yards…more of a homerun threat. That limits his contribution against teams like the Raiders and Ravens. McClain is a great compliment IF WE WOULD ACTUALLY USE HIM. Thunder and Lightening. Subbing McCluster for Charles doesn’t add much as they are similar threats though slightly different styles…I don’t get moving him back to RB.

  • September 16, 2011  - Fleaflicker34 says:

    Traumamans post is the reason I don’t read the comments on the Star website.

    Another clueless fan who has inside knowledge of what “fans” and “players” across the country think of the Chiefs.

    How many “players” do you talk to dimwit?

  • September 16, 2011  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Sorry to say it guys but anybody who buys what Traumaman is selling has the same bias that his rant demonstrates and throws into question their football acumen. Charles is an exceptional back. He’s not the biggest but runs with heart and is more than willing to take a hit and can explode for a score from anywhere on the field like very few running backs. A lack of discipline will sink even the best teams and anybody who ever played organized football at any level realizes that. You can like or dislike Pioli’s approach but he’s recognized by the professionals in the field as an outstanding executive who has earned his awards, Belichick notwithstanding. Tman sounds like a disgruntled Raiders fan to me. Many of the same folks screaming about how lousy our GM, coach and team are now are the same ones who readily climbed on the bandwagon a year ago after the same usual suspects had declared that we were three or four years away from being competitive. I don’t agree with all the moves or lack thereof and do think we have been leaving a lot of money on the table that could have improved the team. I also think it could have been accomplished within the framework the organization has applied to building a consistent contender. I also don’t like the heavier handed aspects of secrecy and refusal to honestly discuss what goes on in the organization on a daily basis. However, I do try to not allow my thoughts on that to cause me to be confused regarding a lack of coaching, personnel skill, or commitment to another approach than the one I would prefer.

  • September 17, 2011  - Michael says:

    johnfromfairfax: couldn’t have said it better. Some people think just because you agree with some of the moves from Pioli and Haley, you necessarily agree with them all.

    And to think they would never make any mistakes on their way to building the team is just ridiculous.

    bhive01, If I’m garaunteed 4 yrds on first down, and 4 on second, I’ll take it. You could do a lot worse than 3rd and 2.

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