Previous coaching staffs have never fully exploited Charles’ pass-catching skills like Reid has with versatile backs such as Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy.
The NFL buzzword for 2013 is “multiple.” Reid and offensive coordinator Doug Pederson are using Charles as a versatile chess piece, lining him up as a traditional tailback, as the deep back in the pistol and split out wide at receiver in the Chiefs’ multiple formations.
“Really, I think the sky is the limit with him with what we’re trying to do,” Pederson said, via Fox Sports Kansas City. “You’ve seen him sprint out of the single receiver, and he’ll come out of the backfield. He’s a guy that needs to move around, and (one) you can put in different positions, motion out the back, shift him from the backfield. He catches the ball so well that you have to take advantage of that offensively.”
“When we get Tony Moeakiback, we’ve got three solid guys with whatever happens, going through training camp. Right now, I like where (Anthony) Fasano is at. He’s working extremely hard. He’s a big, powerful guy that we can use in the run aspect of our offense. You mix that with Tony and his athleticism and his ability to run routes and then you throw in Travis Kelce, that gives us three really good tight ends right now.”
Since signing with the team in March, Fasano has become more and more comfortable with the new offense; however, he says that at times, overthinking the playbook can limit the team’s potential.
“Right now, I think part of everyone’s problem, including myself, is thinking about the system so much,” Fasano said. “Trying to learn it mentally, that we’re not able to just cut it loose and play. If you’re thinking when you’re playing, you’re not playing fast. When I let my ability take over and wasn’t thinking so much, that’s when it turns out good.”
Jackson only accumulated 46 solo tackles in his first two years, plus 23 assists, 1 sack, and 2 defensed passes in 28 games. In 2011, those number improved mightily – 37 solo tackles, 18 assists, 1 sack, 2 defended passes, in 16 games. His numbers fell off slightly in 2012 – 31 solo, 12 assists, 3 sacks, 3 passes defended, in 15 games – but from the untrained eye, Jackson seemed to be more effective overall.
Just watching Jackson last season, for every game, it appeared Jackson was even more mobile and active than he had been in past seasons. He was certainly more disruptive. Not only did he record more sacks last season than in his previous 3 years combined, he also set a career mark in batting passes down. It also seemed that Jackson was shedding his blocks quicker, especially in defending the run, and he was better at pursuing plays away from him.
“He’s a big guy and he can run (fast),’’ McCluster said. “He just needs a little more repetition and I think he’ll be really good.’’
Reid said Davis has good vision, which is key for a returner.
“That position, you want the guys that are willing to hit it up the field,” Reid said. “We’ll see how he does. I’m not saying he’s the guy necessarily right now. But he’s working at it and we’ll see how he does through training camp.’’
Judging from offseason practice, Davis will get plenty of work at running back in the regular season even though Jamaal Charles is the starter. But he said returning kickoffs would be another way for him to contribute.