Jamaal Charles is a workhorse who can dish it out, and he's in it for the long haul
By JEFFREY FLANAGANFS Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. --
Five observations on the current state of the Chiefs.
GIVE ME THE BALL
Much has been written and said about
Jamaal Charles perhaps getting overworked, and that the toll of all his hits will diminish his effectiveness later in the season.
Puh-leeze, says Charles.
"I'm not worried about my pace," Charles tells us. "I've been doing this for years, so I'm not worried about how many times I touch the ball. It doesn't really matter to me, as long as I come up to practice, I'll be part of the offense.
"As long as the ball is in my hands, I'm up for whatever."
People tend to overlook Charles' toughness and view him as a finesse runner. That's a mistake, says coach Andy Reid, and I couldn't agree more.
"Listen, Jamaal is a physical runner," Reid says. "He can dish it out, too."
GETTING THE BREAKS
When a team starts out 6-0, you almost assume it was on the right end of some good fortune along with simply being good.
That's certainly been the case for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs got a break by starting the season against the lowly Jags, and dismissed them routinely. Then the Chiefs got three straight games against the NFC East, which seemed formidable back when the schedule was released. But who would have guessed the NFC East would turn out to be the worst division in the NFL?
Then the Chiefs got Tennessee when the Titans were without starting quarterback Jake Locker. After that, the Chiefs got the Raiders, who are, well, the Raiders, a self-destructing bunch often bent on handing victories to opponents.
And now the Chiefs get the Texans, a team in freefall and total disarray -- again, something that didn't seem possible when the schedule came out last spring.
SECONDARY HELP COMING?
Fifth-round pick Sanders Commings, a big-bodied (6 feet, 223 pounds) safety, was back at practice Wednesday after returning from the short-term injured reserve list. Commings could be eligible to play in two weeks.
Commings could add some depth to the safety position, as well as some toughness.
"I think I could definitely step in and help the team," Commings says. "These vets around here and coaches have helped me stay on my game from the mental aspect. The strength coach is doing a good job of helping me get in shape so if I do get the call, I'll be ready."
It'll be interesting to see how much Commings, who recovered from a broken collarbone, can contribute because he is the type of big, physical safety that general manager John Dorsey covets and likely will seek in future drafts as well.
The expected return of tight end Anthony Fasano this week won't necessarily boost the Chiefs' passing offense. During his seven-year career, he has never caught more than 41 passes in a season.
But Fasano, who has been out a month because of ankle and knee injuries, should bolster the team's blocking in pass protection and running.
"He brings a good level of experience and knowledge," says offensive coordinator Doug Pederson. "He did a nice job in the first couple of games this season. Getting him back gives us three good tight ends; it gives Sean (McGrath) a break and a little bit of rest.
"(Fasano) is a good route-running tight end with the ability to block at the line of scrimmage. We'll see where he's at come game day."
Yes, Arrowhead Stadium is again the intimidating force it was in the 1990s. And the obvious benefactor is the defense, which feeds on the crowd noise and also gains a huge edge because opponents simply have trouble hearing play calls and snap counts.
But as Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton points out, the deafening noise also presents a challenge for his troops, who must resort to hand signals to communicate just like opposing offenses do.
"We have to be able to communicate well, too, because we can't hear each other anymore," he says. "You're demanded to use good hand signals, get a signal, give a signal, and that's probably one of the big differences on the road. On the road everything is quiet and you can hear each other talk and it's not hard because they don't want to make it difficult for their own offense."
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email at email@example.com.