Kansas City Chiefs film room: Jamaal Charles has incredible vision

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Jamaal Charles is a Hall of Fame-caliber running back. Whether or not he can get to Canton is another story, and another article, but his talents are the stuff of legend. The Kansas City Chiefs have been lucky enough to see Charles paint Arrowhead Stadium with his talents over the past seven years, amassing a franchise-record 6,856 rushing yards in that time.

Charles is the NFL’s all-time leader in yards per carry with an astonishing 5.5 mark for his career. This despite having a solid quarterback or any receivers to take the pressure off throughout most of his time in Kansas City. Charles is the best offensive player the Chiefs have employed since Tony Gonzalez, and in a few years might lay claim to being the best, period.

So why is Charles so good? Sure, he’s fast. Still, plenty of players are fast. Knile Davis ran almost an identical 40-yard dash time to Charles, but the players aren’t comparable. Charles also has good feet and is stronger than given credit for, but those still aren’t the main reasons.

Give up? It’s his vision. Charles has the ability to see how the football field is going to look a few seconds in advance and then makes his moves accordingly. It’s a rare talent, something that separates the good backs from the greats. Charles, much like Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears, seems to see how the play will unfold and then navigate in slow motion.

It is not the 60-yard touchdown run which makes Charles special. It’s the moves along the way.

Let’s take a look at three plays where Charles’ vision is impeccably displayed.

Play 1 – Charles shakes, shines, scores

The St. Louis Rams have eight in the box, more than the Chiefs can handle here. Anthony Fasano is lined up on the left side, with Anthony Sherman in front of Charles. At this point, St. Louis is trailing by 14 points early in the fourth quarter, so it is expecting run.

Kansas City actually does a good job of blocking this up, but the free man (Rams had eight up front, Chiefs had seven blockers) fills the gap. Charles has absolutely nowhere to go with the left side closed off. However, look at Jo-Lonn Dunbar, No. 58. He’s off-balance, filling the gap but a little too aggressively. Charles is planting that left foot, ready to make the cut four yards before he hits the hole.

Dunar barely touches Charles. The speedster then runs for a 36-yard touchdown, splitting the safeties inside the 10-yard line. This play put the game out of reach for the Rams. Chiefs went on to win 34–7.

Ryan Harris approves.

Next: A few more Jamaal Charles masterpieces