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 Haley doesn't want Charles to be feature back

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PostSubject: Haley doesn't want Charles to be feature back   Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:48 pm

Todd Haley doesn’t want Jamaal Charles to be a feature back. Here’s why he should.

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley has been getting heat for a
while now about one subject that universally frustrates any fan or
fantasy player who follows his team: Because it is so obvious that
Jamaal Charles(notes) is Kansas City's best running back, why does
Charles not get more carries or other opportunities to make the offense
go?

In 2010, Charles got 230 carries to Thomas Jones'(notes) 245. And while
we'll be bringing some more advanced stats to this argument presently,
we'll start simple: Charles averaged 6.4 yards per carry, while Jones
averaged 3.4. Oh, but Jones is the short-yardage back, you say? YPC
isn't supposed to matter? Fine, but if that's the case, and Jones' job
is to get those valuable first downs, how is it that he only picked up
39, while Charles blew it up with an amazing 70? Think about that —
Jamaal Charles was good for a first down on 30.4 percent of his carries.
Adrian Peterson tied Charles for fourth-most first downs in the NFL
last year behind Arian Foster(notes), Maurice Jones-Drew(notes) and
Michael Turner(notes), but it took Peterson 53 more carries to do that,
which bumped his first-down percentage down to 24.7 percent.

We'll continue the argument for more of Charles in a second, but first,
we thought we'd let Haley try and explain himself. This is what he told
SI.com's Peter King last week:

"We led the league in rushing,'' Haley said, "and all I ever hear is
how we don't run the ball the right way because Jamaal's not getting it
25 times a game. It's anti-TEAM. The way fans looked at what we did on
offense was so fantasy football driven. You know, the curse of the NFL
-- the scroll on the bottom of the screen, with all the individual
stats. Fortunately for us, Jamaal's such a good team player. He says,
'Coach, I get it. Whatever you want me to do, I'm here.'''

King adds that "Haley's theory is he's eating the clock and keeping
Charles healthy for 16 weeks, and he has zero regrets." And of course,
that's all well and good. Charles is in a good situation in a lot of
ways. He's got a great zone-blocking line in front of him that sets his
talents up very nicely — it's almost impossible for an edge defender to
contend with Charles if he gets a clean burst to the sideline — and the
Chiefs gave a nice new contract last year. But the myths about Charles
are so flawed. You can't look at him as the typical speed back. He may
be 5-foot-11 and 199 pounds, but not every smaller back needs to be put
in a box in favor of a lumbering and decidedly less effective second (or
in Jones' case, first) option.

Todd Haley doesn’t want Jamaal Charles to be a feature back. Here’s why
he should.Haley has said that Charles is still learning blitz pickup?
Well, according to Football Outsiders' game-charting numbers, Kansas
City went with two tight ends 38 percent of the time, third-highest in
the league. You've got blockers, dude. He's not an every-down back?
Charles was actually one of the few backs in the league to put up
positive DVOA (FO's primary opoponent-adjusted efficiency metric) on
every down, while Jones racked up negative DVOA on every down. Haley's
afraid of burning him out? From carries 11 through 20 per game, only
Oakland's Darren McFadden(notes) (7.3) had a higher yards-per-carry
average than Charles' 6.9.

We understand the importance of protecting your best assets. But there
are exceptions, and here's one: When you have the next Chris Johnson in
your backfield, and you're short on explosive plays overall (take away
the 36 plays of 20 yards or more authored by Charles and receiver Dwayne
Bowe(notes), and the rest of the team totaled 19 in 2010), it behooves
you to throw caution to the wind and ride that very special horse as
long as he'll go. Haley's preference is to color outside the lines — on
one preseason play this year, the call seemed to be for the 170-pound
Dexter McCluster(notes) to cut back inside on a third-and-long, a play
that should have been burned in a public ceremony.

It's hard to see outliers sometimes. Coaches think conservatively for a
number of reasons, and as much as they say they'll assess each player
differently, it's hard for them not to get caught up in types. Charles
would seem for all the world to be that split-off back — a fantasy
handcuff who's better off in a rotational role. But when you're dealing
with this kind of talent, the landscape changes. The Chris Johnson
comparison is apt with Charles — both backs far exceed the expected
means of production you normally get from their body types, because
their skill sets are so freaky.

Todd Haley is fortunate enough to have a very special offensive weapon.
There's no doubt that he's a great offensive coach, but why does he
refuse to see the potentially enormous benefits of Jamaal Charles' rare
palette? I talked to Haley about Charles on a conference call last year,
and I know that he believes in the way he's using his best player. I
don't think it's stubbornness or anything like that.

But when so much evidence flies in the face and leans to the contrary
... underutilizing Jamaal Charles seems to be a tougher sell every day.

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PostSubject: Re: Haley doesn't want Charles to be feature back   Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:19 pm

If feature back is the same as workhorse, Charles is by no means a feature back. I've been in the vast minority when I say that Charles' workload is just about right.
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