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The Chiefs Running Back Scenario Difficult To Understand

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The question in Kansas City these days seem centered upon the quandary emerging at the running back position: Jamaal Charles vs. Thomas Jones. Not that the players are set against each other, per se, and of course the media is going to sensationalize the story a bit to make the issue bigger than it really is. However, there are some key questions and observations to be noted that may begin to unpack the story a bit more.

1. Todd Haley Loves The Vet - Let's be honest, Haley ran Larry Johnson ad nauseum, much to the chagrin of Kansas City fans who were tired of watching 2.7 again and again while better options (i.e. Charles) stayed on the bench. Then in the preseason, Haley made it clear that he favored the presence of Jones in the locker room and praised the veteran for his leadership and role on the team. So now in the early going, is it really that surprising when we see Jones getting the lion's share of the carries when Haley, at least in the early going, seems to have established a pattern that isn't necessarily anti-Charles, but pro-veteran.

2. Saving Charles - Another dominant idea is that Haley might be saving Charles for the duration of the season, allowing him to stay fresh by limiting his carries early on. Many say that Jones is the veteran legs that need to be saved, but at the same time, we've noted before that Jones really didn't receive the tremendous amount of carries (and yards) until he was 26, so even Jones isn't that old in NFL-mileage compared to other backs his age.

Instead, what you often find in baseball, for instance, is the young star being limited in pitch counts. Often, no matter the current results on the mound, pitchers are taken out of the game when they reach a certain number, say 100 pitches. It's a way of preserving the pitcher's arm for the sake of their long-term productivity.

That last line of reasoning really doesn't make much sense when you consider that Charles is not a rookie or even a second-year player. And running backs are the most easily found position in the NFL draft or free agency, as guys like Arian Foster prove in a year like this. Charles, by this perspective, should be able to run loose as much as possible and used like a starting running back with his prowess and results is typically allowed to do.