The Denver Broncos coaching staff has made several head-scratching decisions this season. One of their more questionable moves — which surprisingly has flown under the radar — is their handling of veteran running back Jamaal Charles.
The Broncos opened the season with a plan to limit Charles’ touches in an attempt to keep the three-time All-Pro healthy for the entire season. He was coming off two major knee surgeries that ended his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, after all. But for reasons that are difficult to comprehend, Charles’ workload has dwindled o practically nothing in recent weeks.
Charles isn’t happy about it.
“I’m not tripping, man,’’ Charles said after the Broncos’ 25-13 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday (via Mike Elis of 9News Denver). “I want to play. It hurts I’m not playing. It hurts my feelings. I mean deep down, it hurts. But I’m supportive of my teammates. That’s all I can do. Ten years, if this is my last year, this is my last year if nobody wants me.
“But I’m just happy I can continue to dress up every week. That’s a dream right there. I’ve got good guys in front of me. So, at the end of the day, it’s not my turn yet. I’m patiently waiting. I’ve got two good guys in front of me and I’m going to control what I can control.’’
The Broncos have had all kinds of issues in Vance Joseph’s first season as the team’s coach. Their offense has been a downright embarrassment, their defense has uncharacteristically struggled at times, and their special teams have been flat-out awful.
Charles, in his limited role, has flashed the explosiveness that made him a star for the Chiefs, and has actually been a bright spot for the Broncos.
The former Texas Longhorns star has 69 carries for 296 yards (4.3 yards per carry), and 1 rushing touchdown. He has added 23 receptions for 129 yards.
Against the New York Jets in Week 14, Charles touched the ball three times. Against the Colts, he didn’t touch the ball at all, and he was only on the field for two plays.
Needless to say, when Joseph looks back at his first year on the job, he will likely have plenty of regret about how he (and his staff) utilized the likely future Hall of Fame running back.