ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Training camp observers on Friday were often overheard asking if something was wrong with Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles.
A legitimate question since Charles barely touched the field during 11-on-11 drills, instead giving way to Knile Davis.
It turns out that move is by design.
“He’s getting blitz periods, he’s getting the 9-on-7 run, the inside run periods and he’s getting anything where we’re not going at the legs,” offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said of Charles. “We’ve just got to be smart during those live periods.”
Charles battled through an assortment of minor injuries in 2014, but he has often said during the offseason how healthy he feels.
And how Charles goes, so goes the offense.
Given his value to the team, it makes sense to rest the 28-year-old Charles and the Chiefs understand what the two-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowl selection brings to the offense.
Not subjecting the star rusher to unnecessary punishment and keeping him fresh is apparently part of the Chiefs’ plan.
“We’re smart that way,” Pederson said, “he’s smart that way and he takes care of his body. He knows what he’s doing, and we know what he can do and he does a good job of taking care of his body.”
FORD GAINING CONFIDENCE AGAINST RUN
A lasting image of outside linebacker Dee Ford’s rookie season arrived in Week 5 when he turned and went the other way as then-San Francisco 49ers running Frank Gore ran in Ford’s direction.
That misread isn’t likely to happen this year if the second-year pro has his way.
“One of the strides I wanted to make was against the run,” Ford said, “and I felt like I’m making strides. Huge strides against the run. Just consistency as far as situation with the ball. I’m definitely getting better. It feels good, playing fast, I can’t think of anything more than that right now.”
Ford, who has lined with the second-team defense over the left tackle, indicated aggression is important when playing the run as an outside linebacker.
His confidence also came through when addressing the player most likely to block him on a running play.
“I just attack, I just attack,” Ford said. “I don’t think any tackle can block me when I attack.”
• Strong safety Ron Parker continues to have a strong training camp, coming up with a ridiculous interception during 7-on-7 drills. Quarterback Alex Smith threw a short crossing route to tight end Travis Kelce, but Parker got his left arm on the ball, deflecting it in the air. He batted it twice before securing the ball.
• Cornerback Marcus Cooper, who is committed to rebounding from 2014, had a nice practice with at least two pass breakups, and an interception during one-on-one drills against wide receivers.
• Guard Paul Fanaika saw time with the second-team unit during 11-on-11 drills after mostly working with the third team the previous five full team practices. Fanaika, however, is listed third on the initial depth chart, which was released Friday evening.
• Wide receiver Jason Avant showed off his hands with a leaping grab over cornerback Aaron Hester to snatch the ball out of the air, resulting in “Ohhh!” from the sidelines and fans in attendance.