A win is a win is a win.
A win is a win is a win.
The Kansas City Chiefs victory over the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football – while it was not, as head coach Todd Haley said, “pretty” – was just what the doctor ordered for a fan base hungry for signs of improvement from the franchise.
Days after the win, and days before the Chiefs travel for a Week 2 contest with the Cleveland Browns, fans – and some in the media – are still clamoring for more Jamaal Charles.
Well, take it from a guy who is a fan of a one-win team (St. Louis Rams) from last season: Enjoy the first Chiefs’ win to open the season in five years while you can.
Haley and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis have made it clear: Veteran Thomas Jones is the starting running back.
No question Charles is an exciting running back who can take one the distance at the drop of the hat. The University of Texas product’s 56-yard touchdown scamper in the first quarter that gave the Chiefs their first TD of the season was a thing of beauty.
However, the feature back system in the NFL is almost a thing of the past. Successful teams – the New Englands and Pittsburghs of the football world – have successfully employed the running back-by-committe approach over the last few seasons and have reaped the benefits of having multiple players in that position contribute.
Does the words Martyball, Christian Okoye and Barry Word ring a bell?
The Chiefs had a nice one-two punch in Jones and Charles. To overexpose Charles to a full days work at the office would be premature of Haley and his staff and outright bad coaching. Some consider not starting Charles is bad coaching on Haley’s part, but I disagree.
For years Jones has been what is consistently referred to as a workhorse back. He has registered five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, joining St. Louis’ Steven Jackson as the only other player to accomplish that feat every season from 2005-09.
Jones finished third in the league last season with a career-high 1,402 rushing yards, trailing only Tennessee’s Chris Johnson (2,006) and Jackson (1,416).
Don’t get me wrong, Charles is an outstanding young talent. I like him a lot as a running back. The third-year pro rushed for more than 1,100 yards and seven touchdowns last season after a merger 357 yards and no touchdowns his rookie year. He is an emerging star in the NFL if he can stay healthy and effective.
To subject Charles to the type of punishment that comes with being an every down back would be irresponsible and again, bad coaching. Chiefs fans moaned all last season about bad coaching from Haley and now he makes a move that is a good one, and yet he’s still being questioned.
Page 2 of 2 - Let it be.
The Chiefs won by unleashing a dual-headed threat at running back that accounted for 135 yards – 92 yards on 11 carries by Charles and 39 yards on 11 carries by Jones.
Yes, the statistics don’t lie, Charles had a more productive and explosive game than Jones. But, when the curtains are drawn on this season, the success of the team will depend largely on keeping both running backs upright, healthy and in tandem.