In the middle of such a sad season and state of affairs, the gold nugget on the roster known as Jamaal Charles is attracting a lot of (validated) attention. He should be. It's rather exciting having such a young and promising RB come into his own in front of our eyes. But with some recent comments here at AP lately, it prompted me to consider just what the Chiefs have on their hands. After all, when someone posts that it's "reasonable" for Charles to reach the Top 5 status in career rushing yards - above names like Bettis, Dickerson, Dorsett, Jim Brown... well, let's tap the brakes a bit.
What exactly has Charles delivered to this point? Well, the case could be made for "not much." But that's quite unfair considering he wasn't even handed the starting job until after the release of 2.7. And let's not forget the current coaching staff didn't even activate Charles for one game this season! So alas, it's not completely fair to look at the career numbers to this point and use them to project his talent. I think we'd all agree that Charles' best is yet to come.
But let's also realize this: Jamaal Charles has five 100 yard rushing games in his career. Even after getting the starting RB position, Charles has had two games of approximately 50 rushing yards (against the Steelers tough run defense and the Broncos middling run defense). Those aren't exactly rocketing numbers that conjure up comparisons to the NFL's greatest of all time, so let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Also, some point to Charles' current numbers and play them out over the course of the season, which is completely understandable. Since taking the starting position, Charles has gained 709 yards in 7 games. That's an impressive figure of just over 101 yards/game and it's a figure that few running backs in the NFL have been able to sustain for an entire season. There have been 61 total NFL seasons in which a running back has averaged at least 101 yards/game and the list includes multiple efforts by O.J. Simpson, Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Walter Payton, Terrell Davis and the like. Then again, it also includes Greg Hill, Lionel Vital, Billy Sims, Stephen Davis and Julius Jones.
That being said, Jamaal Charles is quite impressive. At age 23, he's in the perfect scenario: the young feature back on a team with a strong running history and the only sure thing on a team searching for their offensive identity. There's no way of knowing where Charles will sit once his career plays out, but let's keep a proper perspective in place - even if we hope for the best.