When the Chiefs closed their offseason workouts last month, running back Jamaal Charles was on the field doing individual work but coach Andy Reid wasn’t making any promises about his participation level when training camp opens.
Reid said the team was optimistic about what Charles would be able to do once it did get underway, but that there was no rush to have him back to a full workload after last year’s torn ACL. That’s a prudent approach, although it may not be one they have to employ for too long.
Charles posted a video from one of his rehab sessions late last week that showed him making lateral moves while making his way through a set of drills with an agility ladder.
As we all know, this isn't the only time Charles has had to come back from a torn ACL. As the the story pointed out, don't be surprised if Charles has a quiet camp as the team takes a cautious approach, getting him ready for the start of the season. Also, don't be shocked if Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware continue to get work once the regular season starts. Charles dips a little from where we're used to seeing him in our rankings, coming in seventh among RBs.
The Chiefs’ three-day mandatory minicamp starts Tuesday, and it appears a few notable injured players — including star running back Jamaal Charles — might take part in on-field drills for the first time this offseason.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Charles, who is recovering from a torn ACL, and receiver Mike Williams, who is battling a strained hamstring, could make their first on-field appearance of organized team activities.
“What you might see if them doing drills,” Reid said.
Both players could spotted running and jumping around cones over a 25-yard period during Friday’s practice, which was another first of the offseason.
Charles was playing at an elite RB1 pace prior to tearing his ACL in Week 5. Our injury expert, Russell Manalastas, predicts that Charles will be limited in camp and good to go for Week 1, and that his recovery is an opportunity to get him at a discount. The Chiefs found solid contributors in Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware, so Andy Reid could elect to reduce his workload in an effort to keep him healthy.
Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder also gave injury updates on a number of players Tuesday afternoon.
Running back Jamaal Charles and cornerback Phillip Gaines each underwent ACL surgery early last season. Both are doing “great,” and both are training at the team’s facility and will get some limited work during organized team activities and minicamps in May and June.
Charles tore his ACL in mid-October, so he will be nine months into his recovery in mid-August. Historically, it takes a year to fully recover from a torn ACL, but that timeframe has been decreasing in recent years.
When asked Wednesday why Knile Davis didn’t receive a similar workload to last year with Jamaal Charles out of the mix, Chiefs coach Andy Reid acknowledged that while Davis did have three productive games with Charles out a year ago, Charcandrick West is a better fit for what the offense is currently doing.
“The things that we’ve been doing, we feel pretty good with what Charcandrick (West) is doing and Knile working in on some other things,” Reid said. “So we’re not down on Knile by any means. That’s not where we’re at with it. Just with some of the things we’re doing right now, Charcandrick kind of fits that.”
The Charcandrick Era did not get off to a very good start -- he was benched late after fumbling -- but it sounds as if the Chiefs will continue to use him as the lead back.
Thursday, October 15, 2015, 6:18pm
Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (groin, neck) took full practice reps again Thursday. Kelce should be fine to play in Week 6. There’s a chance the team features him more in the offense with Jamaal Charles done for the year.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 6:20pm
Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (groin, neck) practiced fully Wednesday. Kelce should be fine to play in Week 6. There’s a chance the team features him more in the offense with Jamaal Charles done for the year.
That they went with an in-house option, Spencer Ware, to replace the injured Jamaal Charles on their roster, would seem to speak well for Ware and their other backs, Charcandrick West and Knile Davis. Ware, who played for the Chiefs in training camp and the preseason, had been on their practice squad.
Most outlets say it's West who passed Davis on the depth chart as the team's RB2. Andy Reid went as far as saying West has a similar skill set to Charles while Davis is a one-cut runner. Davis has had success filling in for Charles in the past, but right now it seems like West is the back to own. However don't be surprised if Davis gets some work as well.
Charcandrick West filled in for Charles on Sunday and looks like he's passed Knile Davis on the depth chart. West only carried seven times for 31 yards. Davis should also be expected to contribute, but since entering the league in 2013, Davis has averaged just 3.4 yards per carry, the story said. The Chiefs could also opt to get De'Anthony Thomas involved in the running game. It's seems to be a pretty fluid situation when not all that long ago Davis was the clear handcuff for Charles. The Chiefs were also linked to workouts with Pierre Thomas and Ben Tate. Senior Editor John Paulsen believes West will be the lead back and receive 50-55% of the touches. He recommends a large waiver wire bid for those owners in FAAB leagues.
The injury is bad news for the Chiefs, but it might be even worse news for Charles. This is the second time since 2011 that Charles has suffered a torn ACL. But, after tearing his ACL in 2011, Charles rebounded by rushing for over 1,500 yards in 2012. In his five games played in 2015, Charles averaged more than 5 yards per carry.
Monday, October 12, 2015, 1:40pm
The 5-foot-10, 220-pound Tate is a former second-round draft pick of the Houston Texans. He rushed for a career-high 942 yards as a rookie in 2011 and rushed for 771 yards in 2013.
If he works out well, Tate could help the Chiefs. The untested Charcandrick West is first in line as the replacement for Charles, who tore the ACL in his right knee in Sunday's loss to the Chicago Bears.
The initial diagnosis was made after preliminary tests were performed on Charles' knee after he left the game. The Chiefs will know more about the injury once he undergoes an MRI.
Charles went to the ground grabbing his right leg after a non-contact injury before being helped off the field. He was cutting when his right knee appeared to buckle.
Charles had 58 yards on 12 totes and had a beautiful 26-yard reception, during which he put on a jaw-dropping, stop-and-start move to burn a defender.
Ironically, we just had a news item this past week about the Chiefs RB2. In Charles' absence, the Chiefs relied on Charcandrick West. Knile Davis, who hasn't played an offensive snap in two weeks, helped shoulder the load, but it wasn't enough to beat the Bears in Week 5. West could be the back to own going forward if Charles is out, but Davis could end up with some work as well and has proved in the past he can carry the load. At least right now, it doesn't appear to be all that clear-cut of a situation.
Knile Davis no longer looks like the eventual replacement for Jamaal Charles as the featured back for the Kansas City Chiefs. Judging by Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Davis is no longer the top backup.
That role, at least for now, seems to have gone to Charcandrick West. West played 17 snaps as a backup to Charles against the Bengals. Davis didn’t play on offense at all, though he was healthy. He served as the main kickoff returner throughout the game.
“We like what Charcandrick has been doing,’’ coach Andy Reid said. “We also like Knile. On certain situations, we like to use them all. In those situations, we chose to go with Charcandrick. We haven’t lost any confidence in Knile. You saw some of the things we were doing with him, and we think Charcandrick does a pretty good job with those things.”
West wasn’t particularly productive against Cincinnati. He had five carries for 17 yards and one reception for four yards.
The story said West is more of a threat as a pass receiver. He is reliable catching the ball, something Davis isn’t. The Chiefs seem comfortable with him as a pass blocker, more than they do with Davis. As a runner, West isn’t nearly as big, fast or powerful as Davis. But he’s more effective. Anything that isn’t straight ahead but requires more than one cut gives Davis trouble. This is something owners of Charles and Davis may way to take a hard look at if you feel the need to handcuff Charles.
But if his backup can be productive enough, the Chiefs may continue to give Charles a lighter load once games start to count, keeping Charles fresher over the 16-game grind than he has been the past couple of years.
"You just want to see that steady No. 2 running back right now that can come in in a pinch or come in and give Jamaal some needed rest, and has that explosiveness," Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. "He's more of your downhill type of runner."
HC Andy Reid has always rode his RB1 since his days with the Eagles so it will be interesting to see if they try to limit Charles' workload in games. One thing is for sure, Davis makes a great handcuff for Charles owners and has proven that he can carry the load. He's getting a lot of reps in camp so far.
The Chiefs understand how important RB Jamaal Charles is to a successful season. Nobody else on the roster can change a game as quickly. So to ensure he's on the field late in the year, when Kansas City hopes to be in the playoff hunt, the teams' brain trust spent much of the offseason dreaming up ways to keep him healthy, not only in training camp but beyond.
'You want to make sure he is healthy late in the season,'' offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said, ''so if that means giving a guy like Knile Davis some reps - whatever you have to do, number one, to keep him healthy for 16 games, and you do that each week.''
Pederson said one of the biggest challenges is noticing when Charles is operating at less than 100 percent. The former Texas standout hates to take time off, even from practice.
''We have to be smart and work with our training staff and our medical staff to just stay in tune,'' he said. ''Communication is obviously the utmost importance when it comes to those kinds of situations. We have to be smart and give him that proper rest, you know? And he has to communicate with us and tell us when he may be a little banged-up or maybe can't go here or there.''
For now, Charles feels the best he has in a year, maybe even longer, the story said. While Andy Reid has always rode his top RB dating back to the Eagles, it's possible the team gives Davis more work. But we still forecast Charles as one of the top RBs this season. Davis is a nice handcuff option to anyone who owns Charles this year, though.
And after five 1,000-yard rushing seasons in the last six years, with one year lost to a torn anterior cruciate ligament, no one would blame Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles if his body felt far older than his 28 years.
Yet he is heading into his eighth NFL season saying he feels young.
"I feel like I am 20, 21," Charles said this spring. "I feel good. I feel healthy. I eat right. I take vitamins. I do yoga. I'm doing everything I am supposed to do to keep my body up at my age."
Andy Reid likes to ride his RB1 even when he has a capable backup, which he certainly has in Knile Davis. Davis did see a bump in touches last year, however, going from 5.1 to 9.4. We predict Charles for just under 1,200 yards this season and he should be among the RB leaders in receptions as he's proven to be a big part of the team's passing game. That should mean close to 300 touches for Charles. We rank Charles fourth on our RB list, but in a lot of drafts he's going as high as second behind Adrian Peterson. Backing yourself with Davis is a good idea if you can afford the roster spot.
On the offensive side, the top play was a catch across the middle from tight end Travis Kelce, who leapt up with one hand and was able to snag the ball out the air more than 15 yards down the field. Alex Smith placed the ball between a couple of defenders and Kelce showed the kind of ability that Chiefs fans are excited to see more of in 2015.
Finally, there was one perfect pass from Alex Smith to Jeremy Maclin on a crossing route about 20 yards down the field. Smith threw the ball into an open window that had Maclin coming out of nowhere as he broke open across the field and made the catch. Smith didn’t wait for Maclin to be open before he threw the ball down the field, which showed the kind of trust and timing that these two have developed throughout the offseason.
Smith is a dirt-cheap quarterback option who could provide high-end QB2 numbers if he becomes a bit more aggressive. He’s dangerous as a runner, and given the addition of a bona fide receiver in Maclin, the emergence of Kelce, and the always-dangerous Jamaal Charles, Smith is an unexciting yet (usually) functional fantasy quarterback.
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