Don't get me wrong. Quarterback and head coach are very important, too. But Charles is what makes the Chiefs dangerous.
With that said, I have a question. How long will Jamaal Charles continue to be in his prime? It seems crazy to think about considering he's only 27 years old. Even in the NFL, that's fairly young.
But check out this chart of running back production (via ESPN):
I always viewed age 30 as the drop off for running backs but this data suggests it may come even earlier.
Before you freak out, this isn't a rule. Just a trend. There are backs who have been highly successful into the 20s and even 30s. I would not be surprised to see Charles as one of those players who is successful for a few more seasons. More teams would run more if they had a back like Charles. But they don't. So they don't.
Now, I contend that Jamaal Charles is half WR in Andy Reid's system, so the production decline may be less significant.— TJ Carpenter (@TJCarpenterWHB) April 7, 2014
This chart brings up another interesting player on the Chiefs -- Knile Davis. The 2013 third round pick started to come on late last season. And his role could be getting bigger.
"I think Knile is a big part of it and he ended up being a big part of it," Andy Reid said last month from the NFL owners meetings. "I was able to actually give Jamaal a blow because of Knile's progress. I thought Knile picked it up quite a bit, too. (He's a) big strong kid too."
I generally don't advocate any plan that takes Charles off the field because he's the Chiefs best player. But the Chiefs would be wise to figure out how they can best utilize Davis in order to ensure Charles is effective all game and all season.