Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles was nursing a quadriceps contusion on Monday, and head coach Andy Reid was hopeful he’d be ready for Sunday’s home opener against Dallas.
Charles suffered the injury in the second half of the season-opening 28-2 win at Jacksonville. He returned for one carry when the Chiefs were leading 21-2 but was shut down for the rest of the game and finished with 16 carries for 77 yards rushing, including a 2-yard touchdown, and with three catches for 23 yards.
“He does have a range of motion,” Reid said, “but we’ll just see how he does here over this week. He is moving around he’s OK.”
When Charles left the game, he was replaced by second-year man Cyrus Gray instead of rookie Knile Davis, who had been running second team in the preseason and even started the second preseason game when Charles was out with a foot injury.
But Davis has had a history of fumbling, and he’s still learning the nuances of pass protection, so Reid went with Gray, who appeared in 10 games last year as a rookie, mostly on special teams.
Gray, who also played in passing situations before Charles was hurt, carried twice for eight yards and caught a pass for six yards. Davis carried four times for 12 yards and caught a pass for 5 yards.
“We mixed it up a bit,” Reid said. “You saw Knile in there; he was in for a few snaps. We’re using Cyrus in some third-down situations. We’re trying to use all of them the best we could, so that’s what we did. You could say (Gray) is a veteran. He hasn’t been at it that long, but he’s been at it longer than Knile.”
Reid gave high marks to just about everyone who had a hand in the game, especially the defense, which pitched a shutout while allowing 178 net yards, collecting six sacks — three by linebacker Justin Houston — and intercepting two passes, returning one for a touchdown.
“Pressuring the quarterback is a big thing in the National Football League, and accumulating six sacks is a big thing,” Reid said. “The other thing was, they were rally sacks, where Justin was right there and another guy right behind him. They were swarming to the quarterback ”
About the only facet of the game that went wrong was surrendering a blocked punt out of the end zone for a safety early in the first quarter. Reid attributed some of the problem to the turnover in personnel that occurred last week when the Chiefs released or traded seven players and added seven new ones. Several of those newcomers played on special teams.
“We have no excuses, but we do have some new people coming in who are busting their tail and working their tail off, but sometimes there are some protections or looks that you haven’t gone over,” Reid said. “And they got us; it’s that simple. Maybe in another week, communication will be better; guys will be on the same page. But they ended up doing that, they worked that out and finished it up strong.”
After the game, when Reid became the first Chiefs head coach to win his opener since Frank Gansz in 1987, club chairman Clark Hunt handed him the game ball.
“I appreciated it,” Reid said. “That was very kind of him. When he gives it to me, he’s really giving it to the team and that really means more than the individual. I know it’s not a one-man sport, I know that, and the guys, we were all able to gather around the ball Everybody has a little piece of that ball.
“There’s a lot of emphasis put on the first game. I keep in perspective that it’s one out of 16 games and hopefully more that you have an opportunity to play. On the other hand, I’ll always tell you that you work your tail off to win every game so every victory you get, you’re going to cherish and enjoy it for that small window that you get to enjoy it. Now we’re moving on and getting ready for the Cowboys.”