One of the biggest surprises in the hours prior to the Kansas City Chiefs loss to the Oakland Raiders was the coaches decision to place running back Jamaal Charles on the inactive list. Charles struggled against the Baltimore Ravens in week one, but what Chiefs running back didn't?
According to Charles, he's still not sure why he was inactive. He later told reporters that the coaches haven't told him why he didn't play against Oakland.
In a replacement role, Dantrell Savage rushed the ball three times for 26 yards and caught six passes for 43 yards. Those aren't bad numbers - Savage was generally a positive throughout, save the end of the first half miscue that cost the Chiefs a field goal.
Charles was also bumped in favor of Savage, who was previously fourth on the depth chart.
Best guess on Charles? His fumbling problems which have creeped up frequently in his career (and presumably during practiec) have grabbed the ire of Todd Haley.
When I think of Charles being demoted on the depth chart, I think of his exchange that was captured on an NFL Network video:
Haley: Did you fumble yesterday?
Haley: What, he just slapped it.
Charles: That was my fault. I didn't cover the ball enough.
Haley: You better take care of my football. Or you can not play.
Savage is more reliable in regards to fumbling, as Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star pointed out yesterday, but he doesn't have the big play capability that Charles does. With an offense that hasn't capably demonstrated an ability to consistently move the ball down the field on multi-play drives, why would you take a homerun threat out of the lineup?
I understand the need to make a point, and maybe that's not even what this is about, but in my estimation the Chiefs are a less talented team with Charles off the field.