When the Chiefs made the playoffs in 2013, six players — quarterback Alex Smith, running back Jamaal Charles, safety Eric Berry, inside linebacker Derrick Johnson, safety Husain Abdullah and punter Dustin Colquitt — were selected as captains for their wild-card loss to the Colts.
All six players remain with the team, and with the Chiefs navigating choppy waters — they are 1-3 and losers of their last three — their leadership matters now more than ever.
“It's a long season,” Charles said. “It’s like a storm. You can (let it get) messy or you can clean it up yourself ... You can go in the community and pick up all the junk and the wood up and start rebuilding. Right now, we've got to continue to do everything in the locker room to straighten all trash up.”
This responsibility falls on the vets in the locker room.
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“A lot of young guys look up to the veteran guys,” Charles said. “I still think we’re one of the best teams in the league. We still have our confidence up there. (Now we need to) go out there and work. We have a good team — this team's not bad.”
The Chiefs last three losses have come to Green Bay, Denver and Cincinnati, who are a combined 12-0 this season.
“We (just) played three playoff teams (from) last year that are pretty good,” Charles said. “I look back at the three teams we played, and two games we should have had, and one of the games didn't come out with enough energy.”
With the latter, Charles was referring to the Chiefs' 38-28 loss to the Packers on Sept. 28. But he says effort wasn't an issue in their last game, a 36-21 loss to the Bengals.
“I felt like last week, we did come out and play with a lot of energy,” Charles said. “We gave up some big plays on 'D,' the offense wasn't able to execute in the red zone and we moved the ball pretty good.”