View Full Version : Chiefs Babb: Chiefs' Charles is man of danger

Tribal Warfare
11-29-2008, 12:08 AM
Chiefs' Charles is man of danger (http://www.kansascity.com/sports/chiefs/story/912427.html)
The Kansas City Star

Jamaal Charles had his celebration dance planned for months. So when his first NFL touchdown happened unexpectedly, he was prepared.

“Back in Texas we call it ‘My Dougie,’ ” Charles, a running back, said this week. “I had to do something. I just did my little dance.”

Charles is a rookie, but it takes more than being a rookie to stand out on the young Chiefs. They’ve got 18 rookies on their 53-man roster this week. No, Charles has separated himself for two reasons, and he’d like to forget one of them.

He has been one of Kansas City’s most electric and versatile players in what has been a season starved of excitement. He’s also spent his rookie year fighting a growing suspicion that he has trouble keeping control of the ball.

Charles heard about it in college at the University of Texas, and now fumbles are dogging him again. He has lost two balls this season, and that leads the team.

The Chiefs are 1-10, and they’re not in any position to make mistakes. That makes Charles’ role in Kansas City’s offense a slippery one: Is Charles’ promise and big-play ability worth risking fumbles?

“He’s one of those young guys; every time he touches the ball,” Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said, “he thinks he’s got to run 30, 40 yards for a touchdown. Which is a good thought, but you’ve got to know when the journey ends, too. You’ve got to put the ball away at some point.”

Charles said his fumble in Sunday’s loss to Buffalo didn’t come because he failed to protect the ball. He said Bills safety George Wilson’s helmet jarred the ball loose. Charles said Wilson just made a play and he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Chiefs had five turnovers in that game, and those accounted for 20 of Buffalo’s 54 points, the most a Kansas City team has allowed in 49 years of football.

“Every running back, when they lose the ball,” Charles said, “it’s like the world is coming down on them. I fumbled the ball, and I’ve got to live with it.

“It hurts, but you’ve got to get up and play. You’ve got to leave that behind.”

The Chiefs hope Charles can leave behind the fumbles, whether they come from bad habits or bad luck. Until he does, the Chiefs will have reservations about whether Charles can carry a heavier load, and whether his playmaking potential is worth risking turnovers.

That’s why Charles and the Chiefs are in a tight spot in his development. They’d like to feed him the ball more often, for experience and, heck, maybe he has another dance he’d like to show off. More experience means sharpened habits and, the Chiefs hope, fewer fumbles.

“It’s just like a receiver who drops the ball; you’ve got to keep throwing it to him,” Edwards said. “We’ve got to give it to (Charles) and trust him with it. He’s got to put it away. The only way you learn, you’ve got to go through it.”

Charles said he wants more opportunities. He’d like a rushing touchdown to add to last Sunday’s receiving score. But Charles said he understands that before that happens, he has to earn the team’s trust.

Until then, Charles said, this season is a disappointment for him. Through 11 games, he said he’d give himself a bad grade, despite being the team’s second-leading rusher and its fourth-leading receiver.

“I’m not the go-to guy,” he said. “Right now, it’s not great. It’s not an A or a B or a C. I’d give myself a D right now. I want to make plays. When my name is called, I want to make plays for my team. It’s got to be a D. We’re 1-10. If we were 10-1, then maybe. I’m not about to say an A.”

Hammock Parties
11-29-2008, 12:09 AM
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