I have said before that the area of evaluation that those of us who aren't coaches tend to miss the most is how a running back pass blocks. It's just not something you focus on very often but it's an important part of the game. Coaches don't want their quarterback to get killed. Fair enough.
It's that pass blocking that is one of the bigger reasons that the Chiefs feel comfortable giving so many snaps to Charcandrick West, and not Knile Davis or some other free agent back. You need to trust that the back in the game can pick up the blitz and West has pleased the coaches with his ability to do that in recent weeks.
"As a young player, in our system, we ask our quarterback and then our backs to do a lot of pass protection," Chiefs OC Doug Pederson said, via quotes from the Chiefs. "And he's done an outstanding job. He's a smart kid that way and he's done a great job. He's somebody that you want to continue to feature as these weeks go on. As long as he can hold up and handle the load, then we'll keep featuring him each and every week."
West clearly looks up to Jamaal Charles, who happened to be a solid pass blocker himself.
"Just reading coverages and patience," West said when asked what Jamaal taught him. "Coming from college, a lot of guys just experience a big blitz pickup. But he taught me how to read this safety coming down, who's coming with him. He just taught me a lot."
West and Charles may not look like big players but their toughness can help them block those linebackers with 50 or 60 pounds on them. It also helps when you've a smart enough player, like Jamaal, where you actually know from where the defense is bringing heat. Don't underestimate the difficulty of learning these protections. It's impressive by West.