How much will Jamaal Charles play vs. Chiefs?
By Matt Conner
The Kansas City Chiefs will see a familiar face on the other side of the field for the first time since his release when Jamaal Charles and the Broncos come to town.
Jamaal Charles is a familiar sight at Arrowhead Stadium. Jamaal Charles in a Denver Broncos uniform is not something Chiefs fans are used to seeing. It will be interesting to see the response to Charles when he enters Arrowhead on Sunday as both teams face off in an important divisional match-up.
Yet the emotions of the moment might not match the reality of actual time on the field. After all, Charles has played sparingly for the Broncos so far in 2017. He’s looked very good in very limited spaces, making it hard to tell just how much Vance Joseph might allow Charles to go against his former team.
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Several days ago, Joseph said that Charles would begin to get more and more touches on offense, especially as the Broncos have a greater need than ever for offensive help given their lackluster performance in recent weeks. That was even before the Broncos were shut out on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers in a game that had Broncos fans clamoring for anyone else, even Tim Tebow, at quarterback over Trevor Siemian.
On Sunday, Charles did have more targets in the passing game than ever before this season, a grand total of four looks. To his credit, he caught them all for a total of 20 yards. However in the rushing game, he had only 4 rushes for 2 yards. Eight touches for 22 yards is not even worth writing this column about, if it weren’t for Charles’ incredible resume and the fact that, even after the horrible rushing stats on Sunday, Charles is still averaging a healthy 4.7 yards/carry in 2017.
Will Joseph give Charles more touches as he said with each passing week? And will that elevate now that Charles is playing in a game that’s bound to feel personal? Both sides can downplay this, but Charles let it slip this offseason that Dorsey’s release felt personal and let details out that players normally keep to themselves. It’s hard to imagine that Charles hasn’t had this date circled on his calendar since signing with the Broncos. If so, it’s easy to imagine Charles asking (begging?) for a chance to show his former coaches and teammates what he can still do. And isn’t that what you’d want as a Broncos coach, an ultra-motivated player to help you toward an important divisional win?
Charles has 42 rushes for 196 rushing yards and 1 touchdown in 2017. Those are solid numbers that show, at least in limited spurts, that Charles is still a very elusive player. He’s overcome his injuries to become a positive force on offense even if he’s not the game-changing back he once was. Whether he can continue this impact, or even enhance it, remains to be seen on Sunday in a subplot all of us will be watching.