November 17, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid (right) acknowledges running back Jamaal Charles (25) during the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
With the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players coming to an end tonight and the ranking of Jamaal Charles still up in the air, I decided to take a look at his production over the years. While the debate of best running back is still ongoing between McCoy, Peterson, and Charles, there is no doubt that Jamaal was the biggest force for our offense this past season. Jamaal led the Kansas City Chiefs in rushing, catches, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. Andy Reid gave Jamaal all sorts of opportunities with the ball in his hands, and he did not disappoint. While only playing in 15 games, he set career records in rushing and receiving touchdowns, receptions, and receiving yards. All with a new offensive coordinator and new head coach. So, what is next for JC?
In their first year together, Andy Reid utilized Jamaal’s athleticism to the fullest, lining him up all across the field. Besides being an incredible screen threat, Jamaal was also able to line up wide and create mismatches against linebackers spread out to guard him. While Reid’s use of running backs is widely known, the amount of touches that Jamaal got were staggering. Only four other running backs had more receptions than him, and none of them had as many receiving yards. While only having the 10th most rushing touches in the league, Jamaal had the third most yards. While Andy Reid and Alex Smith were connecting as a first year quarterback/head coach combo, Jamaal Charles carried the load to allow for his coach and quarterback to connect.
Besides using his versatility, Andy Reid used Jamaal in a way that doesn’t get very much national attention: goal line situations. Typically, the national media views Jamaal as a “small” running back. Pundits often worry about his size and if he can handle the ground and pound game beneath the tackles. Unlike these wonderfully educated national pundits, however, I happen to remember a certain play against the Eagles in which Jamaal tried out for the other inside linebacker spot beside Derrick Johnson (You can view a GIF of the block at this link here). Besides his excellent pass protection skills, however, Jamaal was also incredible in goal line situations. Three of Jamaal’s twelve rushing touchdowns were longer than 3 yards; 2 of those runs were merely 7 yards. While still an incredible speed threat, Jamaal seemed to add physicality to his game, as he only had seven rushing touchdowns of less than five yards his entire career before this last season. Whether or not that is due to a lack of opportunities, it is clear that Jamaal stepped his game up in a multitude of ways this past year, and was well deserving of the MVP mentions he received.