KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Don’t expect Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles to shy from an increased workload.
“I’m not worried about my pace,” Charles said during Thursday’s locker room media session. “I’ve been doing this for years, so I’m not worried about how many times I touch the ball.”
It’s a good thing Charles feels that way, especially when considering offensive coordinator Doug Pederson hinted more work is on the horizon.
“He’s a guy that steadily wants a little more each week, a little more responsibility,” Pederson said. “The more he gets comfortable with our system and what we’re asking him to do, then we can put a little bit more on his plate.”
Charles’ 775 yards from scrimmage (475 rushing, 300 receiving) currently ranks second in the NFL behind Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (871 yards).
With 114 rushing attempts and 33 receptions, Charles currently averages 24.5 touches per game, a clip putting him on pace for 398 touches on the season.
The two-time Pro Bowl running back has topped 100 total yards in every game through six weeks, adding seven total touchdowns (five rushing, two receiving).
The good news is even with the work, Charles has proven durable and recently battled through toe blisters to remain the Chiefs’ primary offensive weapon.
“I made it past them,” Charles said of his blisters. “They’re healing up pretty good, so I’m not even worried about them no more.”
And whatever the Chiefs ask him to do, Charles will answer the call.
“It doesn’t really matter to me, as long as I come up to practice, I’ll be part of the offense,” Charles said. “As long as the ball is in my hands, I’m up for whatever.”
That should suit Pederson’s plans just fine.
“We talk about this every week,” Pederson said. “He’s so explosive and we want to be able to utilize him in that fashion and create matchups in our favor.”
Colquitt continues to shine
Punter Dustin Colquitt plays a position free of fanfare, but that doesn’t lessen his importance to the Chiefs.
Heading into Week Seven’s game against the Houston Texans, Colquitt ranks first in the NFL with 19 total punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. For his career, Colquitt has 269 punts inside the 20, which ranks 16th in NFL history.
Making Colquitt’s performances in recent weeks more remarkable is he’s recovering from a right knee injury suffered in Week Four. And that didn’t stop him placing four punts inside the 20 or executing a 60-yard punt in Week Six against the Oakland Raiders.
Colquitt is apparently close to 100 percent healthy and special teams coordinator Dave Toub couldn’t be happier.
“He really looked good yesterday in practice, so we feel like he’s really, really close to being back all the way,” Toub said. “We’re excited about that.”
Having a good punter is essential in the battle of field position, where Toub said a shift in philosophy has occurred around the league.
Short directional punts were once the craze to take away a returner, but Toub said most teams are now willing to allow their punters to boom punts based on having fast gunners with the ability to cover deep punts.
With Colquitt, the Chiefs have a punter who can accomplish both.
“We’re kind of fortunate that if we need to take a returner out of the game, he can go directionally and kick it out of bounds and kick away from them,” Toub said. “He also can bomb them when we’re backed up and that’s what makes Dustin so good.”
Punt or kicks returned for a touchdown receive the glory, but what Colquitt quietly does every week has an important role in what Toub wants to achieve on special teams.
Win the battle of field position.
“Right now, we’re happy with where we’re at,” Toub said. “We’re creating field position for offense and defense, and that’s what special teams is all about.”
Notes: The NFL adjusted weekly statistics and ruled one of Tamba Hali’s 3 ½ sacks of Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor in Week Six should’ve been a 4-yard loss on a rush attempt … Hali is now officially credited with 2 ½ sacks to give him 6 ½ on the season … The loss of the sack also dropped the Chiefs from 31 sacks to 30, which still leads the league … Sunday’s opponent, the Houston Texans, announced Thursday that quarterback Case Keenum will start against the Chiefs … Fans attending Sunday’s Texans-Chiefs game at Arrowhead Stadium are reminded the original noon CT kickoff was previously moved to 3:25 p.m. CT to accommodate regional broadcast patterns … Arrowhead Stadium parking lots open at 10 a.m. CT.