There has been a lot said about the split in carries for the Chiefs (maybe too much, but I'm going on anyway.) Charles is obviously an exceptionally talented running back, and when you have a player like that, why hold him back? Thomas Jones is stealing his starting title, his ability break records, and his thunder in general, say the JC crew. Not so fast... The Chiefs, and Haley the mastermind, are playing this like a fiddle and I can prove it.
You have to jump with me before you get to call me a fool...
The record alone makes a strong arguement for the Chiefs' way of splitting carries. 9-5 football teams, in first place in a division most picked them at the bottom of, who sport the league's #1 rushing game, should probably consider themselves above answering to fantasy football players and other fans like ourselves. But let's not allow them such luxuries.
I, myself, when the Jones acquisition hit the news, was thrilled but with mixed emotions. A proven thumper to keep Charles fresh and take him under wing sounds great, I thought. But Charles was a beast after LJ was booted, best in the NFL maybe, and he deserves to start. Keep him fresh, sure, but he should get 60% of the carries most weeks and be the centerpiece of the offense. The team obviously didn't agree. Jones is a veteran leader with a great resume, and just by the nature of being the pounder who wears the defense down for Charles, he's on the field first. He gets listed as the starter, and the touches are equal. Haley says they will "ride the hot hand" but we are still seeing a lot of Jones, even late in games, despite Charles being way ahead in yards per carry (which I believe to be the greatest single indicator of talent on a rb's statsheet.) So many call for Haley to take an IQ test to prove he's not as stupid as he looks.
The numbers, however, completely back him up.
First of all, despite many fans' beliefs, the two are splitting the load almost straight down the middle. Charles has 203 carries (14.5 per game) and Jones has 212 (15.1 per game) through 14 weeks. And if you add in passes caught as well as rush attempts, Charles has 242 touches (17.3 per game) and Jones has 225 touches (16.7 per game.) They are each carrying half the load, with Jones beating defenses down early and grinding out the tough yards, and Charles swinging for home runs later on.
Second, if one should get more carries, this years' boxscores point toward Jones, not JC. Jones has more carries in 7 games and the Chiefs are 5-2 in those games. He has a full 60% or more 4 times, and the Chiefs are 3-1 in those games. YPC aside, Jones gets it done when he gets a chance. Charles on the other hand has had more carries 6 times, and the Chiefs are 3-3 in those games. He has a full 60% or more in 4 games, and the Chiefs are just 1-3 when that is the case. Despite Charles' absolutely beastly 6 1/2 yards per carry average for the year, his average when carring the load this year? 5.4, 2.9, 5.5, and 4.0 in the four games he had the big carry advantage in. Not bad, except for the 2.9 day (the Denver blowout) but not going to break Jim Brown's ypc record set in '63.
And that's what Charles wants. Asked before the season if he thought Jones would eat too much into his stats, Charles said total yards or TDs weren't what he was after. Making history by breaking the 6.4 ypc that Brown had, and helping the Chiefs win, that's what he's looking for. Great record, too, as it defies the asterisks that go along with longer seasons tearing down yardage and TD marks. He just signed a pretty Chiefs friendly deal, too, so it doesn't look like being listed as a backup pisses him off. And by splitting carries with Jones, and maybe Battle down the road, Charles can have several meaningful entries in the record books instead of a short, splasshy career like the ball hoggong running backs are famous for. Accolades and probowls will certainly come...
The bottom line is that in the Chiefs' five losses, Charles had over 55% of the carries (that he and Jones split) but only a 4.65 ypc average. In the nine wins? Charles got only 46% of the tandems' carries, but with a mind blowing 7.2 ypc. With the #1 running game, three miserable years of wins rolled into one, and maybe even a playoff game to plan for, Haley should be writing a speech for coach of the year, not answering dumb questions from reporters about holding Charles back.