Here’s a prediction. Running back Jamaal Charles will not rush for 1,509 yards this season, as he did in 2012. He may not rush for much more than 1,000 yards.
But he still may gain close to 1,500 yards from scrimmage as a rusher and as a receiver. New Chiefs coach Andy Reid loves throwing to his backs, and Charles, who caught 35 passes for 236 yards last year, will more than double that this season based on what we’ve seen in training camp.
Charles splits out wide in some formations, and has caught the ball on screens as well as flares to the flats and on check-downs when receivers downfield are covered.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for me,” Charles said. “And my future is bright. When my opportunity has come to catch the ball, I have to step up and do it. I love football, and now I love it even more because of the coach we have, with his confidence and his belief of me … I have to prove I’m up to high expectations.”
Charles’ expectations for himself are just as great.
“I just don’t want to be an average running back; I want to be a great running back,” said Charles, a two-time Pro Bowler whose 5.8-yard average per carry ranks first in NFL history. “I look at Emmitt Smith, I look at Walter Payton and some of the greatest backs before me … I don’t want to be one of the backs that people say, ‘He could have done this, he could have been that.’
“I want to be on that stage at the Hall of Fame. That’s still my goal … to keep pushing and to be the greatest running back ever.”