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.
“I just feel comfortable because I feel like I have a Pro Bowl guard [Ben Grubbs] in front of me and I’ve got Jeff [Allen] back and we went to the playoffs with him,” Charles said, via the Kansas City Star. “We’ve got Fish [Eric Fisher] who is developing more in his third year, we’ve got Donald [Stephenson] and he played a whole season and did a great job when Branden [Albert] and Fish were going at it and battling for depth at the position. I feel like we’ve got some guys that have been playing for a while. We’ve got vet guys up there that can help the young guys. I feel so comfortable with that line now. Not saying I didn’t last year, but I feel a lot more comfortable than I did last year.”
Charles has finished in the top 9 in both standard and PPR formats in each of the last three seasons, and was the #1 running back in both formats in 2013. After racking up an average of 20.9 touches in 2012-13, he touched the ball 16.4 times last season as Knile Davis saw his average workload increase from 5.1 touches in 2013 to 9.4 touches last year. We currently project Charles for 18.8 touches per game, which may be a best-case scenario if Davis remains healthy.
"We've got to sort of retrain, rethink just a little bit," offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said this week at OTAs, via ESPN.com. "But going from that first year to where we are now with (Smith), now he sees that kind of stuff. It's just a matter of cutting loose."
With the addition of Jeremy Maclin, Travis Kelce the clear No. 1 tight end, the improvement of speedy Albert Wilson and the move of DeAnthony Thomas full-time to receiver, the Chiefs hope their pass-catchers will help force Smith to pump the ball down the field.
"I like where Alex is," Pederson said. "But now in the spring, we want to see any quarterback shoot the ball down the field and at least test it. That gives him the comfort level the next time he's in that situation."
Smith is a dirt-cheap quarterback option who could provide high-end QB2 numbers if he becomes a tad more aggressive. He has finished #13 and #18 in the last two seasons, but is the 24th QB off the board. 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.
In hopes of complementing Alfred Morris with their first true big running back since Stephen Davis left after the 2002 season, the Redskins drafted Florida's 6-2, 226-pound Matt Jones in the third round this month.
"Alfred's a darn good halfback," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Saturday on the second day of Washington's three-day rookie minicamp. "In order to take carries off of him, you gotta show a lot. "So far, Matt's taken the right steps to take a little bit of the load off of Alfred (who had 85 percent of the carries by Washington's running backs the past three seasons). If you want to commit to running the football, you gotta have a couple guys that can tote it."
By hiring offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who helped make Dallas the NFL's top rushing offense in 2014, and using three of their first five draft choices on Jones, tackle Brandon Scherff, and guard Arie Kouandjio, new Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan has shown how committed the Redskins are to a power running game. McCloughan called Jones "a physical player and as tough as crud." And yet, Gruden raved about the rest of the rookie's game.
"You think of him as a big, power-type back, but Matt's done some things out in space that have been very, very impressive, making moves on the second level, in the passing game, running some option routes on linebackers," Gruden said. "He's got natural hands."
Jones only had 19 catches in three years at Florida, but it sounds as if he may compete for third down duties now that Roy Helu is no longer locking down that role. Morris has caught 68.5 percent of his targets, which is a higher rate than what Shane Vereen and Jamaal Charles posted last season, but he has yet to make much of an impression in the passing game.
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (hamstring, ankle, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 17. Charles figures to play since his team is still alive in the playoff hunt.
Friday, December 19, 2014, 6:02pm
Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (knee, ankle, probable) took full practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 16. Charles will be fine for a good matchup against Pittsburgh.
Thursday, December 18, 2014, 6:14pm
Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (knee, ankle) took full practice reps Thursday after being limited Wednesday. Charles should be fine for a good matchup against Pittsburgh.
Friday, December 12, 2014, 6:26pm
Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (knee, ankle, probable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is probable for Week 15. Charles is dealing with soreness in his ankle and knee, but HC Andy Reid said on Friday that he should see his usual workload against the Raiders.
Thursday, December 11, 2014, 6:32pm
Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (knee, ankle) returned to limited practice reps Thursday after missing Wednesday practice. Charles is dealing with soreness in his ankle and knee, but HC Andy Reid doesn’t seem overly concerned about his availability for Week 15. If possible, his owners should pick up Knile Davis as insurance.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 6:25pm
Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (knee, ankle) did not practice Wednesday. Charles is dealing with soreness in his ankle and knee, but HC Andy Reid doesn’t seem overly concerned about his availability for Week 15. If possible, his owners should pick up Knile Davis as insurance.
Jamaal Charles thought the same thing many Kansas City Chiefs fans no doubt did when he had his left leg wrenched during a pile of humanity in the first quarter of Sunday’s 17-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
“It was scary at first,’’ Charles said. “I thought I tore my knee up.
“I just got twisted up. Everything got twisted up.’’
Those were sobering words coming from Charles, who knows what a ruined knee feels like. He tore his ACL during the 2011 season.
Monday, HC Andy Reid said Charles was dealing with swelling in the knee and ankle, but didn't seemed concerned about Charles' Week 15 status. According to the ESPN story, Charles had a mere sprained ankle and he was able to return and finish the game. Charles didn’t get a heavy amount of use, with 10 carries and a pair of pass receptions. But he rushed for 91 yards and scored both of the Chiefs’ touchdowns, one on a 63-yard run and the other on an 18-yard catch from quarterback Alex Smith. He appears good to go, but keep an eye on Charles this week. The Chiefs have a nice, home, Week 15 matchup against the Raiders in what will also be a revenge game. If you own Charles and/or just have an extra roster spot, Knile Davis should be owned.
Friday, December 5, 2014, 6:38pm
Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (knee, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 14. OC Doug Pederson said that the team intends to lean on Charles even more down the stretch.
Offensive coordinator Doug Pederson told reporters this week that the team's All-Pro running back will be featured heavily over the next four games as Kansas City looks to capture its second straight playoff berth.
"We as a staff, and me as a coordinator, I have to allow him to touch the football as often as we can," Pederson said, per The Kansas City Star. "You look at the stat sheet and look at the targets and the number of touches that guys get, and then you go back and say, 'Oh, I wish I would have done this or I wish I would have done that, or more of this or less of that,' after the game, win or lose."
Charles is averaging 17.4 touches per game, which is a far cry from the 26.6 touches that DeMarco Murray has seen through 14 weeks. Charles is a smaller back, and may not be able to hold up to that kind of workload, but his owners would like to see the Chiefs feed him the ball without being too predictable about it. That said, it's not wise to tell the media about your intentions to feed him the ball. Charles has a tough matchup with the Cardinals in Week 14, but he's an elite talent who can produce against anyone given the opportunity.
Thursday, December 4, 2014, 5:59pm
Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (knee) practiced fully Wednesday. Charles is fully expected to play in a tough matchup with Arizona.
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