When the Kansas City Chiefs started training camp a couple weeks ago some eyebrows were raised when Thomas Jones was repping mostly with the first team. Jamaal Charles, the hero in the second half of the 2009 season, was taking second teams reps.
It didn't make any sense to a lot of us. Here you've got this guy in Charles that did everything Todd Haley asked last year and came out, despite some things working against him early on, and had a terrific second half of the season.
So why was he "demoted", even if it was in name only?
"I wouldn't hold me to anything on the depth chart right now," Haley said in his press conference this afternoon. He said he was excited about the running back position but didn't get into too many specifics as to the role of Jones and Charles.
The depth chart that came out this week had Jones ahead of Charles, as they've been in practice.
"These guys," Haley continued, "without speaking too much for them, they get it. Both of them. They both want to be the starter. There's no doubt about that. Somebody's gotta start and that's just the way it is. We'll do our due diligence on that end but I think they both get it.
"I've said we're going to play the guys that gives on the best chance to win on that particular day, series or half, whatever it is. I won't be shy to make sure that the guy that is running the best will be in there. That gives them motivation and they understand that and they're clear on that."
This pretty much confirms that the Chiefs will go with whoever the hot hand is at the time. But I do wonder if Charles and/or Jones, like many running backs do, need enough carries to get into a rhythm to be effective.
Even though Haley wasn't exactly clear when talking about the role of Jones and Charles, he did make it clear for the the guys behind them -- special teams is a necessity. He says the second, third and fourth running backs will have to be special teams contributors.
"One thing in this game I'm excited to see -- I'm excited to see everything obviously -- but special teams. Don't miss one of those plays because that will be a real big part. You can't simulate that part. You can't get what you get in a game."