Chiefs starters logged a half in the second preseason game last Friday, and coach Andy Reid said they’ll get up to three quarters in Friday’s game against the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium.
That’s probably good news for the backup running back.
Knile Davis carried a heavy workload last week against the Seattle Seahawks. His 40 offensive snaps led the team, as did his 10 rushing attempts. In the two preseason games, Davis has been on the field for 51 snaps.
Starter Jamaal Charles is fine. He caught three passes in the victory over the Seahawks. But the team’s top offensive weapon will be used sparingly in the games that don’t count, and Davis happily accepts the action.
“I’ve had the opportunity to get some extra reps and I’ve been enjoying them,” Davis said. “This is what the preseason is for. Everybody knows who the starters are. Backups get the opportunity to show what they can do.”
Davis, a third-year back from Arkansas, increased his production last season, ripping off a 132-yard rushing game against the Dolphins while Charles was out because of an injury. The next week, Davis rushed for 107 yards in the Chiefs’ rout of the Patriots.
The Chiefs have used the preseason to help round out Davis’ game. He caught two passes and was targeted three times against the Seahawks.
“He’s done a great job of coming in for Jamaal and running the football,” Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. “I’ll tell you one thing: Knile’s done a good job of catching the football.
“It goes back to the offseason, summer and through camp.”
That’s been an emphasis for Davis, who has 27 receptions in his two seasons. Last season he had the longest touchdown reception of the year, a 70-yard, catch-and-run to daylight. Davis wants more of that.
“Every opportunity I’ve gotten to catch a ball in the preseason I’ve caught them,” Davis said. “I need to keep doing that. Come out of the backfield and run routes, be in the slot, out wide and be more versatile.”
Davis remains the listed kick returner on the depth chart, though the Chiefs have returned only three of seven kickoffs in two preseason games. Rookie free agent Tullo Luckett returned one against the Cardinals, and Chris Conley, a rookie from Georgia, returned two against the Seahawks. The rest have been touchbacks.
Davis has returned a kickoff for a touchdown in each of his two seasons, including a team-record 108-yarder in 2013.
Working toward becoming a complete back figures to get Davis more action and not just in the preseason.
“I’m ready to do anything they ask of me,” Davis said.