Jussel: Charles can impact backfield for Broncos
Who’d have thought the moon would grow up to be as big as the sun?
Who’d have thought there could be a 177-mile traffic jam on a Monday afternoon — in Wyoming?
Both true; I Googled it.
In the same vein, has anyone put any serious thought into the REAL Jamaal Charles showing up for the Denver Broncos?
What the …?
OK, admit it: You’re like me and haven’t spent much time considering the possibility that the National Football League’s all-time leading yards-per-carry rusher (5.5 yards per) might limp into the Rocky Mountains as an injured, over-the-hill experiment and leave a year or two down the road as someone who made a difference.
Jamaal Charles, at 30 years old, a star running back for the Broncos? A player who could make the opposition quake in fear? A rarity who would take a handoff or latch onto a flare pass and turn it into a quick 6?
Would that be a bonus for the Broncos, or what?
Let’s go back a few years, to 2012 when Charles really established himself as a star with the Kansas City Chiefs: He rushed for 1,509 yards and caught 35 passes for 236 more yards, 1,745 yards from scrimmage.
In 2013, he was even better: 1,287 yards rushing and 70 catches for another 693 yards, 1,980 yards from scrimmage. That’s almost Terrell Davis territory.
Yes, I know: He’s been hurt. Bad knees. Down and out for most of three seasons.
But what if after surgeries, rehab and workouts that fry body and brain, he has most of his speed back, even for a few plays from scrimmage each game?
What if Charles can add some “juice” as head coach Vance Joseph likes to say, and put some of his 10.1-second 100-meter speed and 20.6-second 200-meter time back into play for the Broncos?
What if Charles can actually play 10 or 15 plays from scrimmage each game and make a dent for a paltry $3.75 million dollars?
Look, out on the field! It’s C.J. Anderson pounding out yards between the tackles! It’s De’Angelo Henderson making a move and avoiding another tackle! It’s Jamaal Charles catching a swing pass and … he’s gone!
I know, I know, the odds aren’t good.
Charles debuts tonight in a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, Denver’s first game at home, and will get one more chance to impress Joseph and his staff in next Thursday’s final preseason game. Two games to make a huge dent.
Where Charles sits now in Denver’s running back pecking order is anybody’s guess.
Anderson is No. 1 and will get the bulk of the first- and second-down carries as the season gets under way. Devontae Booker is listed as No. 2, but has been out with a wrist injury. He likely won’t be able to play for the first couple of games, but will be on the active roster, according to Joseph.
After that it’s a jumble: The rookie Henderson has been Denver’s biggest threat in preseason; veteran free agent Stevan Ridley has also impressed; veteran Juwan Thompson is a special-teams ace and versatile enough to play fullback; and fullback Andy Janovich has been considered a necessity for his ferocious blocking, special-teams play and even pass-catching ability.
Realistically, Charles isn’t going to bump Anderson or Booker.
What he has to do is impress enough tonight and next week to change the staff’s thinking on at least one, possibly two, of the other backs.
The odds are against Charles. But, the moon was as big as the sun a few days ago and there was a traffic jam in Wyoming.
Stranger things have happened than Jamaal Charles making an impact on the Denver Broncos.