KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Chiefs coach Andy Reid called the prognosis of Jamaal Charles “all positive” on Wednesday, increasing the likelihood that the injured running back finally will get on the field this weekend.
Charles has not played since Week 5 last season, when he tore the ACL in his right knee. He was back on the field for training camp and has been splitting time with the scout team and first team in practice, but the four-time Pro Bowl selection has not been active for a game.
Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West have been filling in for him .
“You know, I think the longer you can wait with him the better it is,” Reid said, “even though I think he probably thought he could play today, or tomorrow or whatever. I just think we’ll see how this week goes. Another week I think it going to help him.”
The Chiefs play the New York Jets on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
Charles could provide a jolt for an offense that has been slow out of the gates . Kansas City has only managed a field goal in the first half of each of its games.
The resulting deficits have forced the Chiefs to abandon their run game, easily the strongest part of their offense. Kansas City is averaging 5.4 yards per carry, fourth best in the league, but is only handing off 19 times a game – more than only five other teams.
With a quarterback in Alex Smith who excels at controlling tempo, the Chiefs have been unable to dictate the pace of games with their deep stable of running backs.
“It’s frustrating,” West said, “but in the end it all falls back on us. We have to get the offense going, make sure we don’t get in those situations where we need to rely on the passing game. I mean, we got to take responsibility for that too, get the offense going.”
Charles is certainly not going to fix all of the Chiefs’ ills, but if he is truly close to 100 percent, his game-breaking ability is unlike anything Kansas City has on offense.
Even his understudies appear willing to admit it.
“I mean, he’s Jamaal Charles,” West said. “He’s been back, for me, in my eyes, for a while.”
The Chiefs actually got by quite well without Charles last season, ripping off 10 straight regular-season victories and winning a postseason game. But nobody in the Kansas City locker room Wednesday was under any pretense that the Chiefs are better off without him.
“Who knows when we get him back? That’s obviously up to the docs and how he’s feeling,” Smith said. “But he’s a one-of-a-kind player, without a doubt. There’s not many guys who have that skill set and those capabilities. Whenever we get him back, we’re going to be happy to have him.”
This week would be an opportune one: The Jets have one of the most fearsome defensive fronts in the NFL, one that is allowing just over 71 yards rushing per game.
“I think the way our backs are playing right now, the way Spencer and Charcandrick are playing, it’s nice not to have that pressure and hurry (Charles) back when he’s not ready,” Smith said. “These guys have been really dynamic for us. It’s nice for the organization, the coaches and Jamaal not to get pressured. They can make the right decision for his health.”
Notes: SS Eric Berry had some knee swelling, but was on the practice field Wednesday. OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff (ankle) also planned to work out. … LB Sam Barrington (hamstring), OL Jah Reid (ankle/knee) and OL Parker Ehinger (concussion) did not participate.
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