Jul 28, 2013; St. Joseph, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) carries the ball during training camp at Missouri Western State University. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

If Charles is Hurt, What’s Next For the Chiefs?

The first big piece of bad news struck out of Kansas City Chiefs’ training camp in St. Joe this morning. As was reported first by Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star and picked up by every major football news reporting agency from NFL Network to Arrowhead Addict, of course I’m referring to Jamaal Charles leaving practice early with a foot injury.

While Andy Reid is reporting to the KC media that it was only a foot sprain and nothing to be too concerned about, I feel that the Sea of Red is still on collective pins and needles and holding their breath to find out the true extent of the injury. We’ve lived this nightmare, and nobody wants to endure that again.

While a foot sprain is not nearly as bad as the ACL that took JC25 away from the Chiefs for the entire 2011 season, it’s one of those injuries that could nag and bother him going into the regular season. This dilemma really leaves head coach, Andy Reid and general manager, John Dorsey in a bit of bind. Should they play Charles through the preseason to allow him to acclimate to this new offense? Or, should they sit him for the remainder of the preseason and allow him to heal?

Of course, the flip side of the coin, and more in Dorsey’s area of expertise is the question regarding depth at the running back position. R & D made good strides during the draft by picking up rookie Knile Davis with one of their two third round picks. Although Davis has a big question mark on his back right between the “3” and the “4” regarding his health and ability to hold onto the ball, there’s no doubt he’s able to make big plays.

Behind Davis, incumbents Shaun Draughn and Cyrus Gray performed admirably last season in the Brian “I’m Only Giving the Ball to JC 5 Times per Game” Dabol offense. While I think that Draughn and Gray are solid back ups, to this point, they haven’t flared with any real show of that starter quality.

So what’s left?

Free agency still has a stable of running backs waiting for a phone call and job. While I wouldn’t consider any of them JC’s equal, there are several who could fill in nicely for him, should he need to take a quarter or half off to rest his foot.

First on the list of potential signees would have to be Michael Turner, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons. Last season, turner rushed for 803 yards on 223 carries, scoring 10 touchdowns. He was used primarily as a goal line option and was excellent at punching the ball in for a score inside the five yard line. Turner’s best season was in 2008 when he amassed 1,699 yards on the ground and an incredible 17 TD’s. The downfall with Turner is two fold. First, he would likely be more expensive than the Chiefs could afford. His price tag last year was $5 million a season. Second, he was arrested in June for a DUI reckless driving. While the DUI was dropped, he’s still a potential discipline problem and distraction the Chiefs don’t need.

Behind Turner, the talent pool drops off slightly. I think the next most talented back would be Willis McGahee. The former Denver Bronco/Baltimore Raven/Buffalo Bill has had his ups and downs since his rookie year in 2004, but has proven himself a versatile back. Last season, he stepped into the starting half back role on the Denver Broncos and carried the ball for 731 yards in just 10 games, certainly helping perpetuate the myth that Peyton Manning is unbeatable. The biggest downfall for McGahee is his age. He’s going on 32 which is no spring chicken in the NFL. Still, a one year contract with the Chiefs and the potential to run against his old team after he helped get them to the playoffs might be an attractive offer to an otherwise unemployed stud.

I think the third best option for the Chiefs would be Cedric Benson. The majority of Benson’s up and down career has been spent with the Cincinnati Bengals, where I believe he was underutilized. Still, in that offense, he was able to average 1044 yards per season. While the days are long past of considering 1000 yards a fantastic season for a running back, a guy you only need to plug a hole getting just north of 1K isn’t bad. Again, with many of the free agents still sitting in the unemployment line, Benson has an injury history of his own which definitely gives the prospect a black eye.

The other road block to the Chiefs signing any free agents at this point is their salary cap space. Currently, the Chiefs have the lowest cap space of any team in the NFL with only $82,492 available for the 2013 season. This could change by restructuring deals or making some roster moves, but I’m not sure that Dorsey is willing to do that to make up for a “what if.”

The bottom line here, is while I hold my breath with the rest of the Chiefs Nation, I’m trying to think good thoughts and hold to the hope that #25 will rest up his wheels and be back on the field by Week 1 to juke Jacksonville defenders out of their jock straps.

Until next time, Addicts!

Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • JordanPollock

    You’re welcome.

    • chiefridgy

      Thanks

    • Jason Seibel

      For what?

  • chiefridgy

    I think we’ll be alright with the backs we have on the team now.

    • Jason Seibel

      I’m not saying we won’t, but a little insurance wouldn’t be bad, would it? Michael Turner on the Chiefs in 2011 might have been the difference between 7-9 and 9-7.

      • chiefridgy

        I think there are plenty of has-been running backs who aren’t on a team right now we should keep on speed dial for insurance. And Turner would’ve made all the difference in 2011… he had 1300+ yards and 11 touchdowns.

        • Jason Seibel

          My point exactly, Chiefridgy. While Turner’s production has declined a bit, I think he could be a viable backup. But, as I said above, I think it’s all a moot point. I’m inclined to think R&D are happy with the roster and aren’t shopping for insurance right now.

          • KCMikeG

            I think McGauhey may be the best of that bunch. He had almost a 1,000 total yards and only played in 10 games. If healthy of course a whole season at that pace would be over 1,500 total yards. Nice insurance policy.

  • STEVE

    THE CHIEFS SHOULD GO GET MICHAEL TURNER ANY WAY. IT NOT ONLY GIVES YOU A HIGH QUALITY SECOND BACK BUT IF SOMETHING DOES HAPPEN TO CHARLES DOWN THE ROAD YOUR COVERED

    • Bosco Cletus

      That button juuuust left of the A seems to be stuck there guy.

      • STEVE

        BUTTON AINT STUCK

        • Jason Seibel

          Then why do you insist on typing in all caps?

          • KCMikeG

            Because it make everyone ask.

          • Jason Seibel

            And I bit right into it…

          • STEVE

            NON YA

  • ArrowFan

    I agree with chiefridgy I think we are fine for now. I would rather roll with what we have than Thomas Jones 2.0. For now any ways after all there os no way we can have two JC’s anyway.

    • Jason Seibel

      No team can have two JCs. Having a little insurance couldn’t be bad, though…right?

  • Justin Williams

    I say let’s not worry about it until we cross that bridge. Kniles Davis might just turn heads if he ever get a full time gig just like jc did when he got his shot. Plus I have high hopes for Cyrus gray so maybe I’m just a homer

  • Chris Tarrants

    If JC does miss some time, I think Dexter could fill his shoes for a spell. They are similar in stature and in speed. Don’t get me wrong there is only one Charles but Dex would be the closest clone in the league

  • Lyle Graversen

    Nice job on laying out the best options available Jason. That having been said, if Charles were going to miss a lot of time I think I would continue to use the guys we have in the preseason (plus add Dex to the mix) and then look for someone better when roster cuts go down. I just don’t like any of those guys listed in this specific offense. I wouldn’t touch Turner with a ten foot pole. He looked completely done last season. 3.6 YPC on an offense with those kind of deep threats in the passing game is REALLY bad. You know those safeties he was facing were NEVER down in the box with Jones and White on the outside and he still could only get 3.6 YPC, yuck. You add to that the fact that his career high in receptions is 19 and he just doesn’t fit what we’re doing at all. I think KC would be looking for a poor man’s Brain Westbrook that could get some yards and catch the ball out of the backfield.

    • Jason Seibel

      I ranked those backs purely by production. I actually really like McGahee. But we’ll see what happens.

  • freshmeat62

    I’d shut JC down for the next 2 games. Foot strains or sprains are painful and can last a long time. When you try to accelerate on the balls of your feet, putting all that stress right there on the middle of the foot, holy crap that hurts. Since he’s probably more than 1/2 of the O, maybe as much as 3/4, I’d have him on crutches, or at least a stationary bike.

    One more reason I would give the 1st stringers (except JC) an extra series of downs to become more cohesive in a game.

  • Jamie Denton

    There was also talk today on NBC PFT that and this is a big IF, one of the Packers backs might be available for trade, can’t remember the name but it was mentioned with the Chiefs in mind and Dorsey’s connections with the Packers!