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Jamaal Charles First All-Pro Appearance Won't Be His Last

With the Chiefs' efforts to develop a stronger line and consistent coaching scheme, Jamaal Charles should become a staple for year-end voters.

Life in the front office or along the sidelines in the NFL is a short-lived existence. One minute, you're a hero and riding a wave of positive momentum. Two poor performances later and people are calling for your head via sports talk or fan forums. 'Tis the life of an NFL coach or general manager, so you can guarantee that these folks aren't as slow as you think they are.

I bring this up because while NFL fans might just now understand just how special Jamaal Charles really is, NFL personnel have known for some time. All through this season, you can guarantee that opposing coaches were spending dozens of hours preparing schemes, practicing plays and creating line-ups that would nullify the Chiefs running back's ability to create the big play. Instead, game after game featured Charles doing what he does best and breaking through to give the Chiefs an incredible 6.4 yards/carry.

Charles has been at this for the last three seasons. His small sample in 2008 featured an impressive 5.3 yards/carry in limited action (only 67 carries) and the total increased in last season's second half to 5.9 yards/carry. What's even more incredible is that he reached 1,120 yards in only 10 starts and yet that total pales in comparison to this past season where the Chiefs won the AFC West. Clearly, the Texas product is getting better with each passing season and no one yet knows how to stop him.

Yet consider how much better the personnel around Charles is going to be in time. The interior of the offensive line was bolstered this offseason by the acquisition of Ryan Lilja, the right guard formerly with the Colts, and the re-signing of Casey Wiegmann to replace Rudy Niswanger at center. Barry Richardson also held his own at right tackle after Ryan O'Callaghan went down with an injury. Yet every media writer expects the Chiefs to address the line with even more youth and talent this offseason, perhaps looking to Florida C/G Mike Pouncey or tackles like USC's Tyron Smith or Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi.

As the Chiefs solidify the lines and create depth in the trenches, Charles becomes even more of a threat to maintain his incredible running style. Defenses tire as the game wears on, so Charles ability to make a difference in the game's final stages will increase if a youthful line with more talent is able to block better or create key holes late in a game.

The same can be said of finalizing an offensive scheme. Thus far, Charles has played under Chan Gailey, Todd Haley, Charlie Weis and now an unknown. There's a reason that the most consistent franchises in terms of schemes and personnel seem to enjoy the most success year in and year out. The Broncos once boasted a system so smooth that it seemed you could insert my grandmother and she'd run for 1,000 yards. This year will be another "first" year under someone, but if that pairing with Haley's coaching staff can work out, perhaps Charles' comfort level becomes another asset toward future development.

Either way, it seems this first vote for Jamaal Charles onto an All-Pro team will not be his last. He's clearly the class of the NFL at the running back position and the Chiefs' advancement toward consistency and depth will only serve Charles better in future years.