Kansas City, Mo. All those critics who’ve been carping about the way Todd Haley uses his running backs all of a sudden have fallen silent.
It’s hard to argue with No. 1.
With quick-hitting Jamaal Charles piling up 418 yards on 66 carries and muscular veteran Thomas Jones adding 336 more on 79 attempts, the Chiefs go into their game against Jacksonville today with the most productive run game in the NFL.
The first few weeks of the season, the older, slower Jones was getting more carries than Charles, whose breakaway speed makes him a threat to score on every touch. Fans like him, of course.
Now even Charles agrees the coaches knew what they’re doing.
“There’s no complaints. There’s no worries,” Charles said. “It’s about the team. I’m all about the team. Me and Thomas, we’re all in. Winning games is all that matters right now. We go out there and set our goals and try to be the best backs in the league.”
The Chiefs’ average of 164.6 yards rushing per game could come in handy this week against a Jacksonville rush defense that’s tied for 19th, giving up 111 per game.
“It’s really about who’s in the offense,” Charles said. “I can’t worry about how they use me. I’ve just got to go out there and make plays for my team. We’re just trying to make plays. Hey, we’re No. 1 in rushing right now. We’re just trying to keep that going.”
The biggest worry for the Jaguars (3-3) was probably not stopping K.C.’s running game, it was identifying a quarterback.
In Monday night’s 30-3 spanking by Tennessee, the Jags lost starter David Garrard to a concussion and backup Trent Edwards to a right thumb injury. On Wednesday, they signed two guys off the street, Patrick Ramsey, who was released by New Orleans in final roster cuts this season, and veteran Todd Bouman. Jacksonville signed Bouman last month and kept him for two weeks before he was released on Oct. 5.
It’s reminiscent of the quarterback carousel the Chiefs rode in 2008 during a 2-14 debacle that led to the firing of both the head coach and general manager.
Such uncertainty affects practice, game-planning and team morale. It presents a situation, coach Jack Del Rio agreed, that is “less than ideal.”
Even if Garrard were back in time for Sunday, the missed practice time could be a problem.
“It certainly presents some challenges,” said Del Rio. “We have enough challenges already with the opponent we’re playing, but again we’ll have a contingency plan in case he’s (Garrard) not able to go. We’ll have a plan in case he is able to go and we’ll just need to be ready to adjust.”