Last time I talked about the Alex Smith trade and why we are in a window of time to win with our core group of player. I also talked about how he fit with our plan moving forward. This is focused on one of those core players that may finally have an oppurunity to flourish (spoiler: he already has flourished....more like blossom).
Perhaps I was one of the few here, but I still don't feel like our receiving core is as strong as some on this site suggest. I find it hard to get overly excited about Dexter McCluster, Devon Wylie, Donnie Avery and Jon Baldwin as #2 receivers. Check out some of the receiving cores in on other top passing teams in 2012 (note: some player have moved):
Now, these are obviously some of the best teams in the league. They are also among the best passing offenses in the NFL. Let's face it, our guys don't compare to these (at least in reputation only...okay maybe production too). With Alex Smith under center, it would behoove Reid and co. to supply him with the best weapons possible. Lucky for us Bowe is back and he is a capable #1 receiver. How about our #2 receiver? None of them appear to be clear cut favorites for this arbitrary designation.
Fine. How about we make our best playmaker (Jamaal Charles) our #2 receiver? Hrmm... How would that work? Let's take at how RBs did in Reid's tenure in Philly:
*click to enlarge the image*
-I only included years where the RB was consistently getting the majority of the snaps. There were years of two backs who shared pretty equally (McCoy and Westbrook in 2009) and others where injuries were a concern (2012).
-You should instantly notice that most years, the RB has THE MOST RECEPTIONS on the team. In 2004, Westbrook barely trailed Terrelle Owens. Desean Jackson had the honors for 2008.
-You should notice the very high amount of yards each reception picks up. Westbrook was picking about 9 yards/reception in his career.
-If Charles is not gonna carry the ball, at least 1/5 times the ball is gonna come his way again. Expect Charles to be used heavily throughout the Chiefs offense.
How about Charles during his years? Spoiler: this guy is just getting warmed up.
*click to enlarge the image*
-Charles was not the primary back in either the 2009 or 2010 season. Even in the 2012 season, he gave many carries to Hillis and others.
-Daboll did not like to get Charles involved in the passing game. Only 2.2 receptions per game for Charles. Many of these (at least from just looking at film) seemed like dump off passes that would lead to nowhere.
-Charles has never lead the team in receiving. He was behind Bowe every time and behind Moeaki in 2010 as well. I still think Bowe will lead it this upcoming year.
-It is difficult to determine how good Charles can really be in the passing game because of the variance in offensive coordinators and quarterback play. The offense was never spread out and there was little opportunity to make things happen.
-Charles will likely double his catches this upcoming year.
As it turns out, Reid noticed this about Daboll/others:
“Charlie kind of moved him around like we did with our guys [in Philadelphia],” Reid said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. “I did that just to see how [Charles] handled the quick passing game or the deep passing game from the wide receiver position. He handled it well. So that gives you another dimension that you know is in there that he wasn’t utilized … they just didn’t use it in him the last couple years.”
It certainly sounds like we know what is coming. I would like to see some deep passing as well.
Can we make projections of what Charles may be able to do this season? With so many O-coordinators and such, it will be difficult. Here is my best predictions based on Reid's trends from the previous seasons and Charles numbers:
RUSHING YARDS: 1595
RECEIVING YARDS: 680
-This is based on the assumption that Charles maintatins his career average of 5.8 ypc and rushes for 275 times (this stat could very well be less, but not by as much as some think) for a season.
-I averaged Charles' yards/reception as 8.12 (although it has been as high as 10.4 when our offense actually worked) and 5.2 receptions per game.
-These would all be career highs for Charles.
-This assumes he starts all 16 games (he did last year)
-If you are not already in awe, go look at those numbers again.
So how does Charles look in the passing game? When he has open space, he can be VERY effective.
The beneficiary of Charles' elusiveness is Ray Lewis in this example. Cassel does a quick check down the field and identifies Charles in stride. Props to Cassel as well for staying the pocket and taking a really bad hit.
Here are some examples of LeSean McCoy in the passing game. This kind of shiftiness and quickness is similar to Charles' ability as well. Notes that the QB will check for other options but knows the RB is a quick go to option.
Here you see the real beauty of using the RBs in the passing game. You get to pit them against mismatches like this one above. McCoy jukes the defender up and had no chance from start. Reid will try and get Charles and McCluster in these situations a lot. More of the same below:
*note: click on the images if they don't load on the screen*
-You know how everyone says Reid never runs the football? It turns out LeSean McCoy ran the ball 273 times in 2011 while Charles ran the ball 285 times in 2012. These were both times where they were the lead back.
-Wylie and McCluster fit this scheme well. They are good in the open field and deep passing. You can notice above that Reid also thinks Charles can be involved in deep passing as well. I bet they could come out of the backfield (especially McCluster).
-Donnie Avery may be able to help open up space for these short yardage playmakers. The move makes sense.