Kansas City Chiefs fans should find optimism in the arrival of new head coach Andy Reid. His 14-year tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles saw three running backs–Duce Staley, Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy–rip off incredible seasons both through the air and on ground.
Outside of the 2000 campaign in which Staley suffered a Lisfranc fracture after five games — QB Donovan McNabb incredibly led the team in rushing that year — one of the aforementioned prolific backs have topped the team’s season rushing yards tally.
Reid’s offenses have given his backs a playground to flourish, both catching the ball in space and excelling between the tackles. Now the offensive guru will set his sights on a Chiefs backfield featuring premier home-run threat Jamaal Charles. The 26-year-old back will hit his sixth NFL season in 2013, having never averaged under 5 yards per carry in his career, and has topped 1,000 yards three times and 40 catches twice.
While the Chiefs coaching staff has been criticized heavily for underusing Charles over the years, he did end up managing 321 touches in 2012, topping his previous season-high of 275. Taking a look at Reid’s previous featured backs, its tough to say whether Charles will touch the rock more but it’s quite possible he’ll take another step up this fall.
The Eagles boasted a quarterback in McNabb who produced Hall of Fame regular-season numbers for much of the previous decade, as Philly ran an extremely pass-heavy offense. This would not stop their running back position from shining, however, as McNabb only scored the highest Pro Football Reference approximate value for Philly in 2003 and 2004 — while the running back position represented three times with Westbrook (2006, 2007) and Staley (1999) during the Reid Era.
Charles was given the Chiefs’ highest approximate value three of the past four years. It remains to be seen what Charles can do in a Reid system, or any potent offense.