The Chiefs might be 7-0 and remain as the only unbeaten team in the NFL, but running back Jamaal Charles believes the team must get better.
“On offense we have to step our game up more,” Charles told FOXSports.com in a telephone interview Monday. “I think we will now that we’re getting all the pieces back.
“We need to improve on our run blocking and pushing and getting more yards in the running game. Also in the passing game, our linemen need to hold up front and block the defensive linemen. And [our] wide receivers need to get open. But that’s easy. That’s our job.”
It was an ugly 17-16 win for the Chiefs who just edged out the Texans although Houston was starting third-string quarterback rookie Case Keenum.
Charles, who is a fan of the video game Call of Duty: Ghosts which will be released on Nov. 5, was involved in a play that left former Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Cushing with a torn LCL and a broken leg.
While Charles and Cushing have each shown mutual respect for each other on Twitter, the Chiefs’ sixth-year running back discussed what happened during the play and was remorseful that the injury occurred.
“I feel sorry and I wish nothing on nobody getting hurt,” Charles said. “It’s a play that’s designed for me to cut no matter who it was. If it wasn’t Brian Cushing, it could’ve been any Texans defensive player, I was going to go low. I was supposed to cut the first man off the tackle, so I did my job. As long as I did my job, I’m good. My job was to cut, but my job was just to get it done. Not to hurt nobody. I didn’t try to intentionally hurt him. I’m not a dirty player and I’m sorry he fell that way because I’ve been injured on the field once and it’s not a good feeling.”
Charles suffered a torn ACL in 2011 and has since accrued more than 2,500 all-purpose yards in 23 games. Charles played a massive role in the Chiefs’ offense last season, but loves playing in head coach Andy Reid’s offense.
“He knows how to win games,” he said. “He just says hold onto the ball and catch the ball when they’re throwing to you. That’s how you move chains. So being in an offense like this, it’s easy to make plays. Everybody who has been in an Andy Reid offense before has been successful, no matter what players. He has the type of players he had in Philly so we just have to continue to make it work.”
Reid, who was fired in Philly after 13 seasons last year, has played a vital role in the Chiefs’ worst-to-first turnaround.
Just a season ago fans filled Arrowhead Stadium with paper bags on their heads and flew planes over the stadium on game days with banners demanding change in the organization. They also formed the “Save Our Chiefs” organization, designed to protest former general manager Scott Pioli’s role within the franchise. Those same fans are now selling out the stadium and breaking world records for noise at an outdoor sports stadium.
The early success has been in large part because of the defense, which leads the league in sacks, points allowed and turnovers (19). The Chiefs led the NFL in giveaways (37) last season.
“He’s been doing it for years,” said Charles of Reid. “Not saying that Romeo Crennel hasn’t been a head coach or Todd Haley had been a head coach for [a couple] years, but Andy Reid has been a head coach for life. So he knows the game and he’s been around. Haley is an offensive coordinator and Romeo Crennel is a defensive coordinator. So [Reid] being hands on with the offense and him knowing where we’re supposed to be as a head coach and making decisions in the game as an offensive coordinator.”
Charles, who turns 27 in December, understands that the ripe old age of 30 tends to diminish the quality of play for running backs. Although he sustained a devastating injury two seasons ago, he feels like he doesn’t take the same pounding players do at the position.
“I feel like my career can go long because of the type of the running back I am,” Charles said. I can play wide receiver. I can line up and run routes that wide receivers can run. So I feel like I can take my career over 30 years [old]. Thomas Jones is an inspiration to me. He went until he was 32 years old. He did a fantastic job of finishing his career at 32.”
Charles’ versatility also makes him a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators because you always have to key on him. That’s just fine with Charles because he has great aspirations for his career.
“I want to be the best running back ever to play the game. I feel like I can do what most other running backs can’t do. I can catch, run routes out the backfield. I feel like I can do it all.”