Chiefs coach Haley said second-year running back Jamaal Charles, who is expected to start Sunday and be counted on for a significant number of carries, was assigned weeks ago to study a video of Tennessee running back Chris Johnson.
Charles, like Johnson, is a thin running back but with plenty of speed. Charles is listed at 5 feet 11 and 199 pounds, the same height but one pound lighter than Johnson’s listed size.
Haley said he wouldn’t mind if Charles emerged as a similar rusher as Johnson, who rushed for 228 yards on 24 carries in a win last week against Jacksonville. Weeks ago, Haley said, assistant head coach Maurice Carthon delivered a tape of Johnson’s performances to Charles and assigned him to study what has helped Johnson become one of the NFL’s most dynamic young runners.
“There are some similarities there,” Haley said. “If you’re built like somebody else or have a similar skill set, that’s a pretty good guy to watch.”
Sunday could be the best opportunity Charles gets to prove he’s capable of being the Chiefs’ featured back. Larry Johnson is suspended, and Kolby Smith could be activated but isn’t likely to get many carries.
“Jamaal is his own person,” Haley said, “and he’s got a great opportunity here.”