Peyton Hillis And Jamaal Charles: Thunder And Lightning

KANSAS CITY MO - JANUARY 09: Running back Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs for a first down against the Baltimore Ravens during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 9 2011 in Kansas City Missouri. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

When Thomas Jones came to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2010, many felt he was the thunder to Jamaal Charles' lightning. It turned out that Jones only had about eight games or so left in his gas tank, and it became more like stone-legs and lightning. With the newly-acquired Peyton Hillis in town, the Chiefs may have finally found that compliment to Charles they've been searching for.

The addition of Hillis might be the most underrated pickup of the entire offseason. There's no doubt the ex-Bronco and Brown had a dismal 2011 campaign which saw a contract dispute, a missed game due to strep throat, and more importantly just 587 yards coupled with 3.6 yards per carry.

After bursting onto the scene as a better version of Mike Alstott the year before with 1,177 yards and 4.4 YPC, Hillis fell out of favor with the Cleveland front office and fans alike.

Now, he has a chance at redemption with Kansas City. Hillis may not be the feature back he appeared to be two years ago, but he's easily a top complimentary back in the league if healthy.

One of the most unheralded parts of Hillis' game is his pass-catching ability. In that magical year of 2010, Hillis hauled in 61 passes. That's Ray Rice-esque and could be another added dimension to Brian Daboll's new offense.

With Charles coming off of a torn ACL, it's doubtful head coach Romeo Crennel would want to give him the ball 20+ times right off the bat. Whether Charles can handle that load immediately is another question, but it's most likely the prudent move to ease him back in.

The combination might start to fully hit it's stride by the middle of the season and could become extremely potent. As any Chiefs fan knows, Arrowhead Stadium can become a cold place in the latter months of the year, making a hard-nosed ground attack all the more necessary.

If Hillis is pounding away at the defensive line early between the tackles, Charles can come in and really expose a tired group with sweeps, off-tackle plays and tosses to the outside. Of course it could be done in reverse form as well, with Hillis following Charles' lead.

Not to disrespect Jackie Battle who did a nice job for Kansas City last year, but he and Hillis aren't in the same league. Hillis can make plays and intimidate defenders in ways Battle simply cannot. Battle served his purpose in replacing Charles last season, but there's a reason he's still available and Hillis isn't.

Charles and Hillis will surely see some time in the backfield together. In those formations, teams have to be ready for either to go into a pass pattern or the possibility of one of them taking a handoff. If Charles gets the carry and runs right, he could be behind Hillis with Eric Winston and Jon Asamoah out in front. Talk about a nightmare for the opposition's coordinator.

Everyone likes to watch a game in nice weather, but I wouldn't mind seeing a little thunder and lightning every Sunday.

***

I'm not a fan of self-promotion, but as some of you already know I've written an NFL preview magazine entitled TOTAL NFL which will be hitting newsstands in the New York City area on July 11.

Of course, most of you don't live in that area, so I'm setting up a website that any of you can visit and purchase a magazine if you would like. The cost is $7.99 with free shipping. If you're nice enough to support me, I'll be more than happy to send it free of charge right to your door.

It's 176 pages with five pages of content dedicated to each team, including of course the Chiefs. It includes a breakdown of the team, coach, and every draft pick from the last two years in depth. If you have any more questions, please contact me at MVerderame439@aol.com.

The website link will be posted shortly, so just keep an eye out. It will be announced on here, so you will be well aware. Thanks so much for your time.

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