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Tribal Warfare
08-14-2011, 10:24 AM
How will Charles get his carries with another running back in the Chiefs’ mix? (http://www.kansascity.com/2011/08/13/3075057/how-will-charles-get-his-carries.html)
By KENT BABB
The Kansas City Star

T he old man took a shove and then came back ready to swing. Thomas Jones still has some fire left.

Jones, the veteran Chiefs running back who on Friday will turn 33 years old, was pushed out of bounds in the first quarter of last week’s preseason opener against Tampa Bay. It was mostly an unmemorable evening — it ended with a 25-0 Chiefs loss — if not, in part, for Jones’ crashing into a table after a 17-yard carry and then running toward the Bucs defender who shoved him.

“Once you stop loving the game and playing with intensity,” Jones said afterward, “it’s time for you to stop playing. I don’t feel that way.”

In an abbreviated appearance, Jones rushed for 25 yards on two carries, perhaps a glimpse that age has not yet caught up with him and that, in a crowded Chiefs backfield, the team’s third-eldest player can still account for some memorable moments.

The Chiefs face an interesting problem entering the 2011 season: A year after leading the NFL in rushing, averaging 164.2 yards, they have more talent in their backfield — perhaps so much that a reliable running back or two might be denied carries. The Chiefs signed fullback Le’Ron McClain, and second-year player Dexter McCluster has taken plenty of snaps at running back during training camp.

Already, some Chiefs fans are in a fury that, for the second consecutive season, it was Jones and not Jamaal Charles — whose 1,467 yards last season was second only to Houston’s Arian Foster, who had 1,616 — who was listed as the team’s No. 1 running back when the first depth chart was released last week.

Charles was in uniform but didn’t have a carry in Friday’s game, and he declined a postgame interview, saying he preferred to let the team’s younger players speak.

Regardless, Charles has said he doesn’t pay much attention to the depth chart, and despite the fan concern, sharing carries last year with Jones seemed to make Charles a more explosive back.

Finishing with 15 carries fewer than Jones’ 245 in 2010, Charles improved on his rushing average and yardage, and reduced the number of fumbles from his breakout season in 2009, when he averaged 20 carries per game — about six more than his workload last year. Charles also ended the season healthier; he underwent offseason shoulder surgery before the 2010 season.

So a healthy Charles is a productive Charles, and odd as it might seem for some fans, giving the team’s best rusher an occasional break was a good thing last year. Now, it’s a question of how to find the right balance among Charles and the team’s other backs.

McClain was Baltimore’s primary rusher in 2008, reaching the first of two consecutive Pro Bowls. His role was de-emphasized after the Ravens drafted Ray Rice to pair with Willis McGahee, and McClain said during free agency that he wanted to sign with a team where he’d have a chance to be one of its main ball carriers.

On Friday, McClain backed off that mandate, saying he would happily block for Charles and Jones — and whoever else carries the ball.

“You’ve got so much to choose from, with Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles and Dex back there,” McClain said.

He added that he signed with the Chiefs with the hope of being “utilized” more than he was in Baltimore, where he totaled 74 carries in the past two seasons. He said that if he excels in his role as a blocker, perhaps a few carries will trickle in his direction.

“Priority No. 1: Block for those two guys and get our running game back to where it needs to be, and that’s No. 1,” he said. “I think that’s why they brought me in here, and that’s my job, so I’m going to be laying linebackers out weekly, man, and doing whatever I can.”

In the back of the locker room, near the exit, Jackie Battle dressed quietly as other backs held small, informal news conferences. Battle was the Chiefs’ leading rusher against Tampa Bay, finishing with 40 yards on 13 carries, but he also had a fumble that weighed on his mind hours after it occurred.

“I can’t make mistakes,” he said. “And I made one.”

Battle, the Chiefs’ best short-yardage back last year, is easy to overlook in the team’s running backs derby, and he said Friday that the pressure is higher and the margin of error smaller with so many talented backs surrounding him.

“I’m just trying to find my role,” he said. “The offense, it’s different now. We’ve got a bunch of guys in here; a lot of talent. I’m just trying to find my place in there.”

Battle said he’d like a larger slice of the carries pie — he had 20 last year — but he understands there are plenty of hungry teammates to satisfy. He said he’d do whatever the Chiefs ask of him, as long as he has a place on the team.

“I’ll put my hand down and play fullback if they want me to,” he said.

The problem with that is the Chiefs signed McClain and drafted Shane Bannon in the seventh round. Still, Battle said he’s hopeful he’ll have a roster spot after final cuts are made in about three weeks.

McClain thinks coach Todd Haley and coordinator Bill Muir have a plan for how to split the carries and to make certain the Chiefs remain one of the league’s top rushing teams. But McClain also said that some might be left out, others could emerge and depth-chart questions — like the aging but fiery Jones starting over the spectacular Charles — will likely persist.

He said none of that will matter if the Chiefs replicate their 2010 performance.

“The sky’s the limit,” McClain said. “They put that up last year, being the No. 1 running team in the league. Now this year, with me added to it, we’re trying to get it again. And again and again, as long as I’m here.”

Deberg_1990
08-14-2011, 10:30 AM
um

BossChief
08-14-2011, 10:37 AM
“Priority No. 1: Block for those two guys and get our running game back to where it needs to be, and that’s No. 1,” he said. “I think that’s why they brought me in here, and that’s my job, so I’m going to be laying linebackers out weekly, man, and doing whatever I can.”

Me likey

dannybcaitlyn
08-14-2011, 10:38 AM
Jones still has good vision but definitely has lost a gear.

Okie_Apparition
08-14-2011, 10:41 AM
The JC needs more carries is sooooooo 2010, Bent Kabb

HotRoute
08-14-2011, 10:44 AM
“You’ve got so much to choose from, with Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles and Dex back there,” McClain said.

This quote says a lot about the chiefs backfield for the upcoming year. I expect mccluster is going to have big role in the chiefs backfield and will show that he can be the playmaker pioli drafted him to be

notorious
08-14-2011, 10:44 AM
McClain is going to bust LBs chops all game.


Until that one time he has the ball and the LB prepares to take on another block and ZOOOOM McClain blows by him.

boogblaster
08-14-2011, 10:48 AM
i hope Mc can block .. thats all folks ....

HotRoute
08-14-2011, 10:49 AM
Jones still has good vision but definitely has lost a gear.

What's the stat for jones something like every team he has been on for the last 5 years led the NFL in rushing.

Okie_Apparition
08-14-2011, 10:51 AM
It does make you wonder how Bowe will get his catches with Baldwin, Breaston & Culbert..Colbert..thatguy too...

Smed1065
08-14-2011, 10:53 AM
“I think that’s why they brought me in here, and that’s my job, so I’m going to be laying linebackers out weekly, man, and doing whatever I can.”

We need some hard nose players on both sides IMO.

kstater
08-14-2011, 11:04 AM
Someone should tell the Star that the days of 350 carry backs are gone.

KCrockaholic
08-14-2011, 11:08 AM
It does make you wonder how Bowe will get his catches with Baldwin, Breaston & Culbert..Colbert..thatguy too...

And Urban. And Moeaki. Oh noes!!!!!! Bowe NEEDS MOAR CATCHES!!!!!!111

J Diddy
08-14-2011, 11:15 AM
Someone should tell the Star that the days of 350 carry backs are gone.

Hmmm, I vaguely remember a certain bulletin board that despised Marty's running back by committee. Now it's endorsed as the best approach.

kysirsoze
08-14-2011, 11:22 AM
Hmmm, I vaguely remember a certain bulletin board that despised Marty's running back by committee. Now it's endorsed as the best approach.

<iframe width="425" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/vCWdCKPtnYE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

petegz28
08-14-2011, 11:29 AM
Charles cannot carry the ball all the time, he will get pummeled. I think they way used him last year in the 2nd half of the season is more of what we will see this year and you will see McCalin on the 3rd and short carries. TJ is still the guy to take the brunt of the up the middle carries and that's a good thing.

milkman
08-14-2011, 11:48 AM
Hmmm, I vaguely remember a certain bulletin board that despised Marty's running back by committee. Now it's endorsed as the best approach.

I can't speak for the rest of the "bullet board", but for myself, I hated Marty's committee because the committee had no talent.

Hank ran a committee also, and I have never complained about his.

Pasta Giant Meatball
08-14-2011, 12:10 PM
Simple. Get him the ball and use the other backs to keep him fresh. They are the ones that will be fighting for carries.

KC Tattoo
08-14-2011, 12:44 PM
This quote says a lot about the chiefs backfield for the upcoming year. I expect mccluster is going to have big role in the chiefs backfield and will show that he can be the playmaker pioli drafted him to be

:thumb: yup!

Deberg_1990
08-14-2011, 12:52 PM
I can't speak for the rest of the "bullet board", but for myself, I hated Marty's committee because the committee had no talent.



Im not sure i agree with that. They were talented enough to win it all. As you have said many times, it was no QB that made the difference, not the RBBC.

Exoter175
08-14-2011, 12:55 PM
I think people are reading way too much into Dex taking snaps in the backfield during training camp.

We already know JC is going to be a hoss, and we know he was going to show up in shape working hard during the off season. He's our guy. What we're doing now is trying to sort out the rest between TJ and Dex. My guess is McCluster is going to be in a lot of 2 back sets with Charles where one of them is going to go in motion to the slot and we're going to see some trap, counter, and delays mixed in with some PA short routes from that set.

We already saw it once this preseason where Dex was the only back, with Charles in the slot. You know we're going to turn that into a motion-sweep somehow, or some razzle dazzle reverse flea flicker trickery.

All that said, JC isn't going to have an issue getting his 200-220 carries this year.

mesmith31
08-14-2011, 12:57 PM
From 11-21 to 12-18 the only way to be competitive is ball control and wearing fools out. You wouldn't think that offseason moves would be built with one season's schedule in mind, but the line they are taking is one built for giving us an outside shot during that stretch.

DTLB58
08-14-2011, 12:58 PM
“Priority No. 1: Block for those two guys and get our running game back to where it needs to be, and that’s No. 1,” he said. “I think that’s why they brought me in here, and that’s my job, so I’m going to be laying linebackers out weekly, man, and doing whatever I can.”

Me likey

With the addition of McClain and Dex moving to RB I think Battle be seeing Arrowhead in his rear view mirror here shortly.

DTLB58
08-14-2011, 01:00 PM
I think people are reading way too much into Dex taking snaps in the backfield during training camp.

We already know JC is going to be a hoss, and we know he was going to show up in shape working hard during the off season. He's our guy. What we're doing now is trying to sort out the rest between TJ and Dex. My guess is McCluster is going to be in a lot of 2 back sets with Charles where one of them is going to go in motion to the slot and we're going to see some trap, counter, and delays mixed in with some PA short routes from that set.

We already saw it once this preseason where Dex was the only back, with Charles in the slot. You know we're going to turn that into a motion-sweep somehow, or some razzle dazzle reverse flea flicker trickery.

All that said, JC isn't going to have an issue getting his 200-220 carries this year.

Haley has already said he wants Dex to be full-time 3rd down back.
I'm not in favor of it, so don't shoot the messanger, just saying...

Exoter175
08-14-2011, 01:50 PM
Haley has already said he wants Dex to be full-time 3rd down back.
I'm not in favor of it, so don't shoot the messanger, just saying...

Which is exactly why he's getting his reps at running back.......

Believe me, I know Dex is a prototypical 3rd down back, but I promise you we won't see him on 3rd & Short as much as we'll see him on 3rd & Long.


JC is the Golden Goose, Haley isn't going to limit his touches to fewer than last year with the same stable of backs as last year, with the addition of a legitimate fullback.

My take is we're going to see a lot of formations with Dex/JC in twin backs or single back with one of them in the slot, and we're going to see some I-Form with TJ/McClain on short down and distance scenarios.

I might be crazy, but from what I saw last year, JC does better without a fullback in his way, so long as he isn't exposed to an unblocked defender immediately.

I also REALLLLLY want to see that "Bravo Formation" where Dex, JC, and TJ were all on the field and Cassel was off, lol. I think we ran it only a handful of times last year, but it looked awesome watching the defense try to find the QB, only to see him on the sidelines waving as we ran it for 5 or 6 yards.

Hog Farmer
08-14-2011, 04:01 PM
Battle is fighting a losing battle !

rocknrolla
08-14-2011, 04:11 PM
With the addition of McClain and Dex moving to RB I think Battle be seeing Arrowhead in his rear view mirror here shortly.

I hope your right.

milkman
08-14-2011, 05:46 PM
I hope your right.

Don't stop.

Finish your post.

keg in kc
08-14-2011, 05:54 PM
I can't speak for the rest of the "bullet board", but for myself, I hated Marty's committee because the committee had no talent.

Hank ran a committee also, and I have never complained about his.Yeah, when your "committee" is kimble anders and tony richardson and donnell bennett, it's not really something to brag about.

(okay, maybe I'm thinking of the guntherheimer years, but still)

When you've got JC getting 1400 yards as part of a committee, and that committee is part of what's keeping him on his feet for 16 games, it's kind of hard to complain, much less not to see the benefit of it.

Mr. Laz
08-14-2011, 06:49 PM
nothing is going to change, Charles' carries will be limited by the need to keep him healthy not another running back.

Exoter175
08-14-2011, 07:42 PM
nothing is going to change, Charles' carries will be limited by the need to keep him healthy not another running back.

This ^

Rausch
08-14-2011, 08:29 PM
I'd like to see us use McCluster like the Pats used Kevin Faulk...

DBOSHO
08-14-2011, 08:35 PM
Imagine the Jumbo T with our personnel.

..............Cassel......

Charles. McClain. McCluster

MOTHER OF GOD.

CrazyPhuD
08-14-2011, 11:00 PM
This is nothing but good. The more carries we have, the fewer times cassel is throwing the ball! Granted you generally can't run your way to a championship so we're likely screwed there, but I'll take it until stanzi or someone else is ready.

Count Zarth
08-14-2011, 11:03 PM
I'd like to see us use McCluster like the Pats used Kevin Faulk...

If the Pats had had Jamaal Charles they would have used Jamaal Charles instead of Kevin Faulk.

Chiefs=Good
08-14-2011, 11:20 PM
If the Pats had had Jamaal Charles they would have used Jamaal Charles instead of Kevin Faulk.

This. Charles was amazing as a 3rd down back last year, no need to change it.

chiefzilla1501
08-14-2011, 11:28 PM
I don't care what anybody says. Giving Charles less carries is fine with me. I hate that people were pushing for him to get 20-25 carries a game last season. He broke down toward the end of the year. Mount Cody almost took him out of Baltimore. And I think there were 2-3 games toward the end of the season where he had to sit out a quarter and/or walked off the field in a limp.

I would have no problem with the Chiefs again keeping him to about 15 carries per game. 20+ only in games where they need him to really step it up.

Bump
08-14-2011, 11:32 PM
shit with a legit lead blocker in front of him, Charles will get 2,000 yds on like 250 carries man

Thig Lyfe
08-15-2011, 12:50 AM
McClain probably realized that the Chiefs can't do shit on short yardage situations, so he'll get plenty of 3rd & short and goal line carries. He could be a steal in fantasy if he ends up poaching Jamaal's red zone chances.