Kansas City Chiefs: What to do with Knile Davis


What a performance from the Kansas City Chiefs. In a game that could have been rife with complacency, Andy Reid and his Chiefs played with their foot and the gas throughout the four quarters.

They suffocated the San Diego Chargers from the first moment with the defense playing lights out. The offense complimented such a great defense, avoiding turnovers and dominating the clock, and the special teams were outstanding. (As a side note, how good is Dustin Colquitt?) In the last few weeks, many have stated how the Chiefs can focus on making the postseason. And while the schedule has long been kind, I have been reluctant to commit to the postseason hype until the Chiefs reached .500.

After the dominant performance on Sunday, Kansas City has now reached .500 with a record of 5-5, and the preseason target of reaching the postseason and maybe winning a playoff game is back on the cards.

While I sat in awe of the Chiefs’ performance, I couldn’t help but think of the future of a certain Knile Davis. The third-year running back has acquitted himself well while in Kansas City, but his time could well becoming to an end. Drafted out of Arkansas in the third round in 2013, Davis has been the back up to Jamaal Charles over the last couple of years. Last season, while Charles remained banged up throughout the year, Davis played well in his stead.

Last year, the 1-2 punch of Charles and Davis was highly effective. Davis, as the downhill runner, and Charles as the change-of-pace back, the Chiefs running game excelled last season behind a highly ineffective offensive line. When Davis started due to injury to Charles, Davis ran with great intensity and tenacity, particularly between the tackles.

Through Weeks 2-4, Davis ran for 79, 132 and 104 yards respectively with Charles on the sideline. His best performance was against the New England Patriots in Week 4, rushing for an average of 6.7 yards per carry. Davis looked like more than a serviceable backup, and coming into the preseason, was second on the depth chart.

However, throughout the first 11 weeks of the season, Davis has certainly slipped behind Charcandrick West in the depth chart, and may well have found himself further down after Sunday’s game. Davis has been criticized in two major areas, and it has nothing to do with his physical ability. Davis clearly lacks football IQ. His vision is extremely poor and he gets stuffed at the line of scrimmage far too often for his ability.

Repeatedly, Davis will simply miss the hole, gain a yard when seven were available, as evidenced by his 3.4 YPC in his career, and his 2.4 YPC this season. The second area is in the pass game. His recognition of blitzes is poor, especially when compared to the work of Charles and West. Out of the backfield, Davis truly dreadful. His route running is rusty, his hands are rock hard and struggles with drops.

The doubts over his game are magnified when the Chiefs’ passing game heavily relies on the skills of the running back. Charles is arguably the best back in the league out of the backfield, and West has shown himself to excel in such an area after an 80-yard touchdown reception last week and a 47-yard reception last Sunday. Davis’ weaknesses have been shown up by West’s performances in the past weeks. Unfortunately for Davis, Spencer Ware, the fourth-string running back, looked excellent when he came into game for West due to a hamstring strain.

Ware was aggressive, possessed great wiggle and quickness, and although the Chargers’ run defense is poor, he outplayed West. Now, not for one moment am I saying that Ware should be playing over West. I am simply illustrating the quality of Ware. Davis now looks expendable for the Chiefs with West and Ware’s new-found prominence.

Davis has one year left on his rookie contract, and per Over the Cap. If cut before next year, will save $700,000 in cap space with $126,000 dead money. Clearly, Davis is not going to be cut, but if traded, general manager John Dorsey will have the same cap space to work with. The Chiefs are not short on cap space. Give great credit to Dorsey for that, but if they a received a fifth-round pick or an offensive lineman for a running back who is very rarely going to take the field, that may well be worth it. Davis has shown flashes of ability, and there are teams who are short at running back who may take a punt. If Dorsey can take advantage, it could turn into a great move.

Do you agree with my assessment of Davis, or do you rate him higher than myself? Are you as impressed with West and Ware, and what value would you take for Davis in a trade? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading, and as always… GO CHIEFS!!!