1) How quickly does Charles acclimate?
Chiefs assistant head coach Maurice Carthon has a fairly simple solution for getting Kansas City’s run game back atop the National Football League.
"One thing is to get
The Chiefs led the NFL averaging 164.2 rushing yards per game in 2010. That average dropped to 118.3 yards per contest, 15th in the NFL, last season with Charles missing most of the year.
Charles is expected to be available for the start of training camp next week, but how much action will the Pro Bowler initially receive in his return from left knee surgery?
The Chiefs took extra caution with Charles this spring, holding the home run hitter out of offseason practices. Also,
It was an offseason approach that left Charles chomping at the bit to return.
“When they let that cape off me, I’m ready to go,” Charles said as the Chiefs wrapped up June’s mandatory minicamp. “I’m ready to put my cleats back on and punish everybody in my way.”
In addition to expanding options the in the run game, Hillis’ arrival also allows the Chiefs to gradually increase Charles’ work as the preseason and regular season move forward. The key question is how expedited that process will be?
Charles has logged 20 or more carries just seven times during his 49-game NFL career and it’s often debated whether his frame will ever allow him to be a consistent 20-carry per game runner.
However, Charles has also averaged 7.1 yards per carry in the games he’s received at least 20 rushing attempts. His average falls to 5.6 yards per attempt when receives less than 20 carries. Good numbers either way, but interesting that he’s been more efficient with a higher workload.
McCluster is just too versatile, and new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll values game-specific matchups far too much, to declare McCluster’s days as a running back over.
The Chiefs worked McCluster out of the slot this spring, but the position change appeared more exploratory than permanent. In addition,
It was a natural time to get McCluster work at receiver.
“We’ve given Dexter reps at the wide receiver position in this new offense because we feel like he knows how to play running back and we can put him over at running back at any point in time, but we felt like he needed the work at wide receiver,” head coach Romeo Crennel explained.
McCluster spent the 2011 campaign exclusively at running back and hadn’t practiced at wide receiver since the end of his rookie season.
“It opens it up for us to be able to use him however and whenever,” Crennel added. “We need him at whatever position. He’s taken to it really well. He’s been enthusiastic about it, so that is working out pretty well for us.”
3) What approach with the Chiefs take at fullback?
This is one of the most interesting position battles heading into training camp, and one we’ve already covered at length this offseason. New OC Brian Daboll has several options at the position.
Kansas City currently carries two fullbacks on its roster, though both are untested in NFL game action. Former seventh-round draft pick
If not, the Chiefs could try and use a tight end in a hybrid role much like Daboll used Charles Clay last year in Miami.
Peyton Hillis also has fullback experience, but the Daboll showed no signs of utilizing him at the position this offseason. Of course we haven’t seen Hillis paired with Charles in the same backfield yet either.