No Grounds For Controversy


As training camps launch across the NFL, every team has plenty of position battles, and the Kansas City Chiefs are no exception. Competition sometimes provides an avenue for some in the media to stir up a little controversy, and why not? Controversy sells almost as well as sex.

The QB position is usually the “sexiest” controversy to get started, but most wouldn’t expect to find any fuel around Arrowhead for that fire. It was already done in a recent story, which indicated that Brodie Croyle would be Todd Haley’s guy, if only Scott Pioli hadn’t of steamrolled him with Matt Cassel and his huge contract.

Seriously? Let’s not go there. Even more ridiculous was the suggestion this week that there may be a running back controversy in Chiefs camp. Are you kidding me? This probably isn’t necessary to say to those of us who didn’t sleep through all of last season, but for anyone who thinks there may be some kind of strife surrounding the ground game for the Chiefs – forget it – there is none!

Granted, Thomas Jones is coming off a career high last year in total yardage, and is a great addition to the line up. A team needs more than one good back these days to be successful. Jones has had a solid career, and will hopefully build upon it by helping a young Chiefs team pile up points this year. Most likely he will contribute in a “big-time” fashion this year, although having already passed that crucial age of major devaluation for a running back, no one is banking on it. However, the Chiefs are banking on Jamaal Charles to continue where he left off last year. I don’t think they won’t be disappointed.

The numbers don’t support such a “controversy”. Jones had his best year in total yards last year, but  only had an average of 4.2 yards per carry. Jets rookie Shonn Greene had a 5.0 average, behind the same line which is probably why the Jets thought the 31 year-old Jones was expendable. Not to take anything away from Jones, but his numbers last season are…well…average. Tim Hightower with the Cardinals, and Cedric Benson with the Bengals had the same average last year – so did ex-Chief Larry Johnson, albeit it was on limited carries. We’re talking about good running backs here, but not the kind that warrants spilling your $10 beer.

For the first half of 2009, the also aging Johnson managed to achieve a 2.9 average for the Chiefs. Then Jamaal Charles took over and averaged 5.9 yards per attempt. That was the best average of anyone in the NFL with more than 100 attempts. It was even a higher average than Tennessee phenom Chris Johnson. Did something magically click at mid-season for the offensive line as they nearly catapulted Charles into the top-ten in total yards for the league? Sure the line got better, but Charles got the line better in a hurry.

No, Haley’s not grumbling because Pioli won’t let him put “his players” on the field – neither Jones, nor Croyle. Everyone is on the same page. The Chiefs have their young franchise RB, and are excited about what he’s going to do for them for years to come. They are giddy with prospect of having a guy like Jones at their disposal, too. The running game promises to frighten opposing defenses this year. Those managing a fantasy team may have a conundrum trying to figure out how the workload is going to fall between Charles and Jones, but in the real world, there is no confusion. In the real world, don’t be surprised if Charles wins the rushing title in 2010. Feel free to spill your beer with excitement every time he breaks free into the secondary. It will be worth it! No controversy brewing here.