Spelling Jamaal Charles: K-N-I-L-E


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Two heads are better than one. You can never have too much of a good thing. Teamwork makes the dream work. I think all of these idioms speak to the unique situation the Kansas City Chiefs have in their offensive backfield. The presence of second-year man Knile Davis makes the expansion of this offense possible. I’m aware that he’s just a backup, but given the number of touches Jamaal Charles had in 2013 (329), they’re going to need another horse.

Last year it took time for Alex Smith and Kansas City’s passing offense to find its rhythm. Jamaal Charles became a familiar hero because of it. For a significant part of the season, he was the Chiefs’ offense. Charles scored 19 of the team’s 41 offensive touchdowns. In case you’re scoring at home, that’s 46%. The Chiefs could stand a bigger offensive contribution from Davis in 2014. It would certainly keep Charles’ legs fresher and minimize wear-and-tear on his 200-pound frame.

The biggest knocks on Knile Davis coming out of college were his penchant for injury and inability to secure the football. As expected, his offensive opportunities were limited the first half of the year. The former Razorback had just 20 touches in the 9 games before the bye week. He stayed healthy and fumbled only once over that stretch. The back half of the season he was rewarded with three times as many touches (61). Davis made good on those chances, amassing over 240 yards of total offense and 4 touchdowns. Here’s what Reid had to say about his 2014 plans for Davis:

Knile was a rookie and he was learning every week and getting better every week. As the season went on we were able to give him the ball a little bit more. Coming into this season we’ll be able to mix it up a little bit better than what we did early in the season last year.

Chiefs Broncos Football

Davis is also key for this offense because injuries happen in the National Football League. Kansas City’s been fortunate the past two years. Since returning from the ACL injury that ended his 2011 season, Jamaal Charles has missed only two starts. The team and all of Chiefs Kingdom hope that trend will continue in 2014, but there’s simply no good way to know that. NFL players are always one hit or false step away from the injured/reserve list. Davis’ fractured fibula in the postseason matchup with the Colts can testify to that. The good news is, his leg didn’t require surgery and he’s been a full participant in the offseason program thus far.

The most inspired performance of his rookie season came in the Chiefs’ playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Davis was thrust into the lights on the biggest stage of his young career when a first quarter injury sidelined Jamaal Charles. Despite his inexperience, he went on to post 100 yards from scrimmage and 2 touchdowns. It was as convincing a rookie performance as the Chiefs may have had in 2013. For him to have answered the bell, in such an important game, suggests he can be effective for this football team when they need him the most.

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With an offseason to heal and mature in this offense, it’s safe to expect Davis to play a bigger role in 2014. When healthy, he and Charles could make for one of the best 1-2 punches in the NFL. The Kingdom’s chomping at the bit for offensive sets that have both he and Charles in the backfield at the same time. Having them on the field simultaneously creates a nightmare scenario for defensive coordinators. Each back has game-breaking speed and the ability to catch the football out of the backfield. Reid can create mismatches that the Chiefs’ offense can exploit and keep defenses honest with.

The sky’s the limit for young Knile Davis. He’s flanking one of the league’s best runningbacks and boasts a skillset that may soon enter him into that conversation. Time will tell if he can continue to ward off his fumbling issues and nagging injuries. If he can, Kansas City’s offense has one more weapon in its arsenal. With a tougher schedule ahead, they’ll need all the help they can get.

What say you? Will Knile Davis make a bigger contribution to the Chiefs’ offense in 2014? Can he become an even better complement to Jamaal Charles? Will Andy Reid call his number more often this season? Use the comment section below to have your take. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.

Until next time, Addicts!

 

 

Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • David Whited

    Amazing combination of size and speed and he seems to have really benefited from Jamaal’s influence. Charles blew off the large part of his first two years and regrets his lack of focus, Davis May be the beneficiary.

    • berttheclock

      I do not understand “blew off the large part”? His first year saw limited service due to the Chiefs using Larry Johnson. It was the second year when, Johnson was released and Todd Haley “blew off” using him ahead of Kolby Smith. It was not until the later part of the season until Charles fulfilled his promise. Remember one other thing about him. He caught passes out of the backfield and returned kicks for TDs. Any “blowing off’ had far more to do with a coaching staff of very limited vision.

      • Blaize Richardson

        Yeah it’s still crazy to think that Pioli was considering trading Jamaal for next to nothing to the Redskins. Haley/Pioli were certainly as blind as can be when it came to jamaal. The fans were clamouring for him to get opportunities at that time, because the talent was evident and he had a crazy high ypc, but Haley/Pioli thought he was too small to be an effective starter. Just one of the many times they clearly mis-judged obvious talent.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          I must’ve blocked that from my memory. Charles was on the block at one time?

          • Blaize Richardson

            I don’t think they were actively shopping him. The Redskins just called an offered a 4th round pick for him since he was low on the depth chart and Pioli asked for a 3rd instead. That’s why the trade didn’t work out. It’s crazy we could’ve lost our best offensive player for a 3rd round pick. It’s also crazy that the Redskins didn’t take that deal. They have to be hitting themselves in the head about that now.

            source: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/08/19/jamaal-charles-was-once-almost-dealt-to-the-redskins/

      • Calchiefsfan

        Both Haley and Pioli went with their favorites over actual performance. I think we can all remember how frustrating it was watching Thomas get as many touches as Charles. Let’s see 6.2 ypc vs 3.1, was it really that hard Todd? Same thing with the O line, some of the best linemen were sitting on the bench while Cassel was running for his life.

        • sidibeke

          Haley couldn’t get past how small JC was; what, “150 with his shirt soaking.” He was convinced Charles would get injured so he treated him as if he already was. Except the last game of the season at Den that year. That was fun.

      • David Whited

        Just referring to Charles comments that his focus and preparation was not on track his first two years. It’s easy to think his meteoric rise was simply a one sided issue of him being a victim of an ignorant coach, but believe it or not Jamaal also matured a ton! (His words).
        If Davis can learn to be a pro earlier than later, this could be a really really special situation.

  • Jacob

    I personally was surprised he didn’t get Chiefs rookie of the year. Cooper did great for being thrown onto the big stage from being nearly the last pick in the draft (and then deemed not good enough to make the roster of the team that drafted him), but Davis took every opportunity he was given and ran with it, and didn’t fall off as the competition became stronger like Cooper did. The guy was backing up arguably the best RB in the league, and the offense didn’t seem to miss much when he stepped in during the San Diego game and the WC game.

    To me, for a rookie, that is amazing. Yes, he had a few fumbles, but I feel like that can be fixed. I’m a believer in Davis, as long as he can stay healthy and get his fumbling issues in check.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Cooper played well the first half of the season. Davis only had two solid games the entire season. His time is coming though. Next year, I think Davis could make himself fabulous trade bait.

      • Jacob

        Do you think he’s more valuable as trade bait than great depth and a possible replacement for Jamaal down the road?

        • Stacy D. Smith

          An argument can be made for trading him if he becomes that valuable to the team. Runningback is one of the easiest positions to replace in the NFL. I’m merely suggesting that he could potentially elevate himself to that point. What the team actually does will depend on their cost-benefit analysis at that time.

  • Daniel Mayfield

    Reminds me of Holmes & Johnson. A great combo for the RBs.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Yep. Can’t wait to see how close to that tandem this one can get.

      • Jim Harper

        I’ve become a real fan of your column this year. You obviously do your homework. Great work!

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Thanks, Jim! I really appreciate that.

  • Tyler Alexander

    Davis in the backfield, Charles and DAT in the slot with AJJ and Avery outside… fastest offence in history.

  • berttheclock

    I believe the coaching staff did wonders to build his confidence. One knock on him coming out of Arkansas was after returning from his injury, he had a tendency to not finish plays, but, would go out of bounds too early. They was not apparent in the Colts game. He was the “steal of that draft” for the Chiefs and showed the many naysayers they were very wrong.

  • Merlin_Arrowhead_Addict

    Nice article Reach. Just a nit to pick, If someone fumbles once in twenty touches, I would not refer to it as “only fumbling once”. I think Davis still has a lot to prove when it comes to hanging on to the football.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      That’s a fair point, but he didn’t even lose that fumble (it was recovered). On the year, 81 touches, 3 fumbles, only 1 lost. Is it completely behind him? No, but I think he’s earned more opportunities.

      • Calchiefsfan

        I think this preseason is going to be very interesting this year. These are the kind of things we’ll get a good feel for during the preseason games. What role will Davis have? Has he improved on the fumbling issue? Are Smith and Bowe on the same page now? Will Jenkins step up? Cooper? Commings? Kelce?

        I think a lot of our second year guys are going to make the difference on whether the Chiefs will be a better team or not. I almost forgot about Fisher too.

        So we have Davis, Kelce, Fisher, Cooper and Commings all set to play significant roles this year. I’m trying to imagine what that would look like if they all perform well.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          That’s quite a few unknowns to have to count on in one season. I think Davis and Cooper are the safest bets to contribute in 2014. If two of the other three can be effective, we’ll be in GREAT shape.

  • berttheclock

    I do not believe Andy Reid’s coaching staff receives their collective deserved kudos. They are superb teachers of the game and not just a bunch of misplaced Drill Instructors yelling “Maggot”. Look how A J Jenkins improved after leaving the vaunted Niners’ camp. He regained his confidence. Davis was considered to be the waste of the Chiefs draft by many so-called “pundits”. The coaches worked long and hard with him and you could see his confidence grow. Instilling confidence and skills in players takes far more than just screaming at them or treating them as a Jonas Wilkerson type would do.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I got a chill thinking about what could happen if Jenkins turns the corner. Heaven help us.

      • KCMikeG

        He will and so will Hemingway. IMO R&D believe that or they would have drafted a WR early.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          I hope you’re right. That’s wishful thinking for me though. Neither of them has shown enough to suggest they’ll break out. At least not yet.

      • Jim Harper

        I think you may have stumbled upon why the Chiefs did not draft a WR. Jenkins started to turn the corner at the end of the year. At first glance I was disappointed in our draft due to ignorance of who they picked. I have since changed my mind drastically and this may prove to be an outstanding draft class.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Not enough to expect him to be the guy in 2014, but he did flash a bit.

          • mnelson52

            In Reid’s offense, no one has to be the guy. He spreads the ball around a lot and you just have to make the play when it’s your turn. Last year, Charles was the guy because others were not doing a good job, but if the others do their job there will be no the guy. It will be a total team effort.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Charles will still get a lionshare of the work, but I agree that it’ll be more evenly distributed if Davis proves he can be effective. Reid had two capable backs in Philly, toward the end of his tenure, and Shady still got the bulk of the offensive touches from the backfield.

  • sidibeke

    I hope he and JC can both stay healthy. While he had a great game, Davis seemed to me to wear down at the end of the Indy playoff game. I wonder if he has the conditioning to be a primary back if the unthinkable happens to Charles again.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      He hadn’t taken that many carries all year and it’s normal for a rookie to lose steam at the end of their first NFL season.

      • sidibeke

        That’s promising, then. Bodes well for 2014. Do you think Toub will keep using him on KR, or do you think they’ll give that to DAT/Wessler if they show they can handle it, thus keeping Knile fresher/less likely to get injured?

        • Calchiefsfan

          I’m guessing that would depend on how quickly DAT comes along on returns. We’ll know in the preseason if DAT is going to be Toub’s guy. Would love to see DAT light it up and let Davis take some of the heat off of Charles. I don’t know a whole lot about Dressler maybe he comes in and surprises everyone. That would be just another plus in my book.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Dressler’s never done returns has he?

          • Calchiefsfan

            I have no idea. I was just responding to sidibeke. I’d rather see Davis and DAT anyway.

          • berttheclock

            Kick off returns – 31 for 634, 20.5 avg, Long of 47

            Punt returns – 92 for 907, 9.9 avg, long of 38 and one TD.

          • KCMikeG

            True but hardly any in the last three years as he has been the #1 WR. I’ll be thrilled if he can contribute on ST’s – he better if he wants to make the roster.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Interesting, thanks.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          I think Davis will get his share of KR touches even with DAT in the fold.

  • Ben Nielsen

    It’ll be fun to see formations with De’Anthony Thomas (sub-4.4 40), Davis (sub-4.4 40), and Charles (sub-4.4 40) all on the field at the same time. It’ll be rare for that to happen, but, still, that’d be fun to see.

    You can throw Donnie Avery and/or A.J. Jenkins in there, too. Both sub-4.4 40 guys.

    • mnelson52

      When healthy, Kelce runs a 4:52 40. That is also fast for a guy that is 6’5 and ways 255. Watching some of his highlights, he may even have faster game speed. He is hard to catch from behind. He will not be an easy guy to jam at the line either. Fasano isn’t fast but he does find ways for separation and is a good blocker. I want to see 2 TE sets this year to go along with the other talented receiver and backs. My mind is slipping a little. Was Davis a good blocker?

      • Ben Nielsen

        Alex Smith’s 4.7 ain’t bad for a QB, either. Dwayne Bowe may be the slowest skill position player we have on the team.

        • micah stephenson

          Bowe runs a 4.4 40 too. Look it up.

          • Ben Nielsen

            Doubtful he still runs a 4.4. I’d be more than happy if he restored that speed, however.

          • mnelson52

            Well I looked it up. Bowe’s 40 was 4.51 at his combine.

          • Calchiefsfan

            He doesn’t need to run a 4.4 anyone who can catch him isn’t big enough to bring him down :)

          • micah stephenson

            I seen he ran a 4.4

          • mnelson52

            Bowe
            Low 4.49
            High 4.61
            Official combine time 4.51

        • Stacy D. Smith

          He isn’t often caught from behind either though. Bowe’s pretty good with the ball in his hands. That long touchdown against Tennessee a few years ago comes to mind.

      • John Moore

        Always injured. Always. And a head case to boot. It will be a miracle if Kelce can stay on the field and out of trouble. A truly dreadful draft choice with the first pick of the third round.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          We should reserve judgment until the injuries continue or he gets himself in trouble.

    • KCMikeG

      Built for speed! I wanted to see more formations last year with JC, DMC & KD but don’t remember it happening. Hopefully Reid will open things up earlier and get deeper into his playbook now Smith is comfortable running it.

      • Ben Nielsen

        It will be interesting to see how much more of the playbook we’ll see early this year. Especially with how tough the schedule is out of the gate.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          I hope we see more of that Colts gameplan early. We really punched them in the mouth to start that game.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        That’s the exciting part. We won’t have to hold anything back to start the year. The Chiefs’ offense can hit the ground running. We’ll need to with that early season schedule anyway.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      So many guys with world-class speed on this football team.

      • Stan Colbert

        Last year, the weakness of passing game, were they due to bad hands, not able to get open(poor routes), what?

        • Stacy D. Smith

          I think the early part of the season was a lack of rhythm and familiarity. The rest of the year it was Donnie Avery’s hands and a general inability to separate.

      • Chris Tarrants

        That post made Al Davis smile in his grave

  • Calchiefsfan

    I can see Davis getting 150 touches this year if he keeps improving like he has been. Just another reason why I think the offense is going to be just fine, (if the O line can hold). I think another knock on Davis was his pass blocking, pretty much non-existent. Here’s hoping Charles helps him with that as well, then Davis will definitely see more action.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I could wrap my head around an Arian Foster-Ben Tate type situation here in Kansas City.

      • ladner morse

        Yes!

  • Stan Colbert

    About the only thing Knile does compareatively to JC is rush the center of the line. With his injury history I doubt he holds up, besides the last thing Andy uses is a back to rush the center of the line.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      He certainly doesn’t have the same skillset as Charles, but there’s no question that he has the speed to get to the edge. He also has capable hands. There’s no limitation to what Reid can do with Davis.

      • Stan Colbert

        How about line him up at #2 WR?

        • Stacy D. Smith

          I meant there’s no limitation to what Reid can do with Davis…as a runningback.

          • ladner morse

            However… it would be an interesting idea to line JC up at WR #2 and Davis in the backfield.

          • KCMikeG

            I like how you think! JC already di split out some last year and was very effective doing so. I was surprised Reid didn’t utilize DMC more but with DAT being even faster he should play more of a role. I’m hearing Davis is expected to be a full participant at OTA’s yet some are claiming he won’t be ready at the beginning of the season. Whats’s the truth?

    • berttheclock

      With the weakness in the center of our line for the past few years, it is wise to not go up the middle.

  • John Moore

    Davis will not even play early in the year because of the injury. WTF?

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Says who? He’s already been a full participant at OTA’s according to Reid.

      • berttheclock

        I guess the guy didn’t like his coming off the bench in a playoff game and running for a 3.7 average and gaining 67 yards. He, probably, prefers Marshawn Lynch who had a 2.6 average against the Broncos and only gained 39 yards.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Everyone has players they don’t like. That doesn’t bother me so much. Just wondering how he’s so sure that Davis is going to miss games.

  • John Moore

    Knile Davis will start fumbling, if he ever regains his form after the knee injury. The guy is always injured. His YPC last year was 3.9. Why everyone still thinks he is an asset to the team I do not know. I was shocked the Chiefs did not draft a suitable backup for Charles.

    • ladner morse

      I disagree. I think Knile Davis will most likely be the next in a good run of Chiefs running backs… Holmes, Larry “Diaper Dandy” Johnson, Jamaal Charles….

  • ladner morse

    Great article Stacy. I look forward to seeing the progress that Davis has taken this off season. Another good reason to make it to training camp!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I look forward to a game like the 2004 matchup with the Falcons. One where we just completely run it down someone’s throat all day.