ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Sometimes the best way to judge a move, whether in life or football, is to look at it from another perspective.
In Denver, the Tuesday signing of Jamaal Charles was greeted with plenty of excitement, and high hopes for what the veteran running back could potentially bring to last year’s stagnant Broncos offense.
However, coming off two seasons in which he was limited to a combined eight games may be enough to curb Bronco Country’s excitement. According to Broncos’ linebacker, and Kansas City native, Shane Ray, though, Charles’ former team and city aren’t taking the news of Charles going to a rival well, which could mean good things to come for his new team.
“I know they are sick back home, they are sick,” Ray said with a laugh on Wednesday. “I can’t tell you how many calls I’ve got, ‘No, man. Not Jamaal Charles, man.’ But, for us, it’s a great addition. Second to Priest Holmes, Jamaal Charles is probably one of the greatest running backs in Chiefs history.”
In terms of total rushing yards, Charles is the greatest running back in Chiefs history, rushing for a franchise-best 7,260 during his nine-year career in Kansas City. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what people outside of the Broncos facility think, it’s what the people inside the UCHealth Training Center believe. And so far, so good for Charles.
“I think that’s a great addition, a really good addition. I think it’ll help us out immediately,” cornerback Bradley Roby said. “When we played against them, I thought he was one of the best backs in the league, if not the best. When I watched film against him, played against him and felt his cuts and things like that, I thought he was the best. I think it’s a great pickup.”
Although Charles has been sidelined for the majority of the past two seasons, Roby has gone up against Charles three times, including a 125-yard rushing performance against Denver’s Super Bowl defense in 2015.
“He’s a mismatch against probably every linebacker. He’s a mismatch against a lot of safeties,” Roby said. “I know coach McCoy is going to do a great job working him in. Musgrave will do a great job suiting the offense to his talents and putting plays and packages in that he’ll be good at. I think it was a great addition for us.”
Early indications are that Charles won’t be a prototypical running back. Throughout his career, Charles has been a multi-dimensional receiving threat out of the backfield — 2,457 receiving yards on 285 catches — and it looks as if the Broncos will exploit this advantage even more.
“To acquire him and his playmaking abilities adds a completely different playmaking ability to our offense,” Ray said. “The fact that now we can run downhill with guys like [guard Ronald]Leary and C.J. [Anderson], but also spread the field out and have Jamaal Charles receive the ball out of the backfield or those stretch plays with his kind of speed, that opens everything up and it’s going to open things up for our receivers.”
Along with the addition of Charles, Denver has added offensive lineman Ronald Leary and Menelik Watson, running backs Bernard Pierce and De’Angelo Henderson, receivers Carlos Henderson and Isaiah McKenzie and tight end Jake Butt in an attempt to make it more dangerous than it was last year when they scored the 11th fewest points in the league.
“Me personally, I’m so excited for our offense and what they can do now,” Ray said. “As a defense, we feel like if [the offense can]score 14 points we are going to win the game. And this offense is looking like they are going to do way more than that. I can’t wait. Especially, because as a pass rusher, they are going to have to throw the ball if they are playing us.”
Not only does Denver get the services of Charles, their defense no longer has to go up against him, which makes at least one Kansas City native happy.
“[Charles’] presence spreading the field out is real,” Ray said. “I don’t have to worry about that anymore, I’m good. It’s all great.”