“The defense came out and helped us a lot,” running back Jamaal Charles said. “We played like a family.”
If that’s true, then Charles is looking more like a stepchild. The Chiefs’ young and talented rusher had half as many carries as Thomas Jones, and Charles didn’t touch the ball until the team’s third possession.
In Kansas City’s locker room, Charles acknowledged for the first time that he is the Chiefs’ backup running back. That Jones is the starter and that Charles has come to terms with his role.
“I don’t have any complaints,” he said. “Hey, man, as long as we win games around here, it doesn’t matter to me.”
Charles is saying the right things, and he appears to mean it, too. But the Chiefs can’t keep this up forever. Can they? If sloppy wins are charming now, what happens when all that slop turns on Kansas City and the defense or special teams has a bad day?
Haley didn’t explain Sunday when he was asked why Charles, who broke a 56-yard touchdown run last Monday against San Diego, hasn’t played more. He indicated that it was about the game plan and the Chiefs’ strengths against Cleveland.
“We have a clear-cut plan for how we want to start the game, how we want to do things,” Haley said. “Today was a grind-it-out type of day.”
Outside of this week, Charles outperformed Jones thoughout the preseason and week 1. But week 2, it was Jones who logged more carries. It's still hard to believe that Charles won't overtake Jones at some point, but the Chiefs are 2-0 and Haley doesn't have a reason to change things at this point as long as it keeps working in terms of wins and losses. Keep in mind, Charles is only one injury to a 32 year old RB away from a significant workload increase, and we know he has the skill set.