By: Cam Farnham
Before injuries disrupted Jamaal Charles career, he was hands down one of the best talents in the National Football League. His 5.45 career yards per carry is the highest in NFL history.
Breaking it Down: The Denver Broncos who usually are a very productive running team, ranked 27th in the league in rushing in 2016. Now this would not be a problem if they had a potent passing attack, but that is not the case. They finished 21st in passing offense. With the defense the Broncos have, they should be much better. To put it into perspective, the Broncos defense finished 1st in passing yards against. With more of an offensive production, the Broncos would be known for one of the best teams in the NFL. The production of the Broncos running game relies of C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles, Devontae Booker, De’Angelo Harrison, Bernard Pierce and Juwan Thompson. Realistically, the starting job is going to come down to Charles and Anderson. Booker had his time to shine after Anderson went down and rushed for just 612 yards on 174 carries. That boasts a 3.5 yards per carry mark, which made the Broncos a non threat in the rushing game.
Numbers Don’t Lie: Since being drafted in 2013, C.J. Anderson has never rushed for more than 900 yards. He has scored 20 total touchdowns (17 rushing, 3 receiving) in his 4 year career. Although some might suggest that is not terrible, compared to the production of Charles it is. Not only has Charles been lethal on the ground, but he has been one of the most feared backs through the air as well. In Charles injury riddled 9 -year career, he has rushed for 1,000 yards 5 different times. Considering the injuries he has had, this could be a lot more. Charles 43 touchdowns on the ground and 20 through the air are as impressive as anything. In just 2013 when Charles started every game, he racked up 1,287 rushing yards and 693 receiving yards through 70 catches. When playing, Charles not only is much more talented than Anderson, he is much more productive.
Availability: The best trait in football is availability and Jamaal Charles has not been available his whole career. In 9 years, Charles has just played 3 full seasons. Although this is a very concerning statistic, this may be the year he breaks out and not only wins the starting running back job, but also Comeback Player of the Year. Everyone will be watching to see how Charles comes into camp for the Broncos, and if you are like me, the excitement is there. With reports saying Charles will be ready for training camp, his professional career and legacy are on the line.
Out For Vengeance: One thing that will keep Charles motivated is the way the Chiefs left him hanging. Before cutting Charles, he was and still is the all- time leading rusher in Chiefs history. 7,250 yards is almost 1,300 yards in front of the next closest player in Priest Holmes. Charles called the move by the Chiefs “personal”, which gives him motivation to come back better than ever. Charles has a lot to prove and a long way to go before even being considered the starting running back for the Broncos, but don’t doubt the former great, because the more people that are against him, the more fuel is being brought to the tank.