Arrowhead Report: Charles Talks 2011 Goals

Posted Sep 8, 2011

Also: Three to take part in the Chiefs return game, the debate between pretty and ugly as well as an injury update

Jamaal Charles hasn’t been one to attach a number to his seasonal goals. Last year, Charles’ preseason goal was simple: “I want to make history,” he said.

And he nearly did, finishing two-hundredths of a yard short of Jim Brown’s all-time NFL record for yards per carry (6.40) established in 1963. Charles lost the record after being slung for a one-yard loss on his final carry of the 2010 season.

Following his first career Pro Bowl appearance, Charles is once again shying away from making any yardage or touchdown predictions for 2011. He says he has numbers in mind, but is keeping those goals quiet as the season approaches.

“Everybody saw what I did last year and I know that everybody is going to key on me more, but I just have to go out there and be me,” Charles said. “At the end, it’s still football.”

It’s not that goals aren’t important to the running back. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

Charles says he continually presses Coach Haley to set goals for both individuals and the team, sometimes updated on weekly basis. He pointed to the team’s big-picture goal of winning the AFC West a year ago, despite being picked to finish last in many preseason publications, as a rallying point for the 2010 division champions.

“I go to coach (Haley) and tell him that we need goals,” Charles said. “If you have goals, you can approach the game differently because you don’t just go out there and play. When you have goals, you approach the game with something in your mind to play for and that’s what I try say to Coach Haley.”

On an individual level, that tactic worked in the game marked Charles’ coming out party. Prior to setting a Chiefs single-game rushing record with 259 yards in the 2009 season finale at Denver, Haley had challenged Charles to run for 200 yards instead of the 139 he needed to register a 1,000-yard season.

Charles hopes that making history is once again the agenda for 2011, but the only goal he’s willing to go public with revolves around leadership and maturity.

 “One of my goals is to be a team leader this year,” Charles said. “I’m getting mature, it’s my fourth year in the league and I’m not a rookie anymore, so I’m approaching this year like I’m a leader. I want to be like the quarterback, only at running back. That’s how I’m approaching this year.”

Three’s Company In Return Game

The Chiefs return game will be handled once again this season with a mix of opportunities for Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas.  A year ago, Arenas served as the primary punt returner while McCluster handled the majority of kickoffs when healthy.

“It’ll be a complete mix and it’ll be based on a number of different factors,” Haley said of the Chiefs return game. “They’ve both had a ton of work both during and after practice and I think it will depend on really how much work they’re getting on their respective side of the ball.”

McCluster’s franchise-record 94-yard punt return TD in last year’s season opener came when Arenas needed a substitute because of fatigue while serving as the team’s nickel cornerback. Arenas finished the season with 39 punt returns compared to McCluster’s 13. McCluster edged Arenas in kickoff returns 26 to 24.

Haley also plans on adding WR Steve Breaston to the return mix as well.

“We’ve got to get them ready to play defense, got to get them ready to play offense, so there (is) a lot going on there,” Haley said. “But, those guys are in a position where I think all of them are ready to go and will help us. I feel good about our special teams in general.”

McCluster is expected to take on a larger offensive role this season out of the backfield. Ideally, the Chiefs would like to get him between eight and 10 offensive touches per game.

“I’m definitely healthy from that ankle injury last year, 100%,” McCluster said. “I’ve been having that extra giddy-up (this preseason) and that’s been good.”

Does Ugly Win?

A recent study by the Wall Street Journal found the Buffalo Bills to be the most handsome of all 32 NFL teams. The Chiefs, meanwhile, ranked as the NFL’s least attractive roster.

This Sunday, it’s pretty vs. ugly at Arrowhead Stadium.

“I don’t even read stuff like that,” S Eric Berry said. “I’m just concerned about how they look on film.”

The study was a joint effort between members of The Journal and researchers at Ursinus College of Pennsylvania. Facial structure symmetry was taken from five offensive players, five defensive players, team ownership and the head coach before an overall rating was compiled based on the data.

Symmetry data collected from Chiefs players Matt Cassel, Dwayne Bowe, Casey Wiegmann, Leonard Pope, Jamaal Charles, Kelly Gregg, Tamba Hali, Brandon Flowers, Eric Berry and Ryan Succop.

Overall, the Chiefs registered a 94.609018741541 rating while the Bills churned out a 99.495533373140.

“Winning solves a lot of problems, that’s all I know,” Wiegmann said. “I’ve got a pretty nice looking wife and I’m not the prettiest guy.”

Apparently, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

About The Newest Chiefs…

The Chiefs welcomed two new players to the team this week. Steve Maneri was claimed off waivers from New England and is wearing #68 while Kyle Nelson was added to the practice squad and is wearing #80. Both players come from a background of playing multiple positions.

Maneri, who played tight end in college, will be used as an offensive tackle with the Chiefs.

“(He’s a) pretty unique story in that (he was) a full-time tight end and really has been playing out there as a tackle here only for a year,” Haley said. “He’s 300 pounds plus now, and you don’t see many 300-pounders playing tight end, but he’s athletic and can move around and run. He’s here to be a tackle first and foremost.”

Nelson, who played h-back and long snapped at New Mexico State, will be used as a tight end on offense. He’ll also continue to work on his special teams expertise.

“He’s another unique guy that Coach (Steve Hoffman) had kind of spotted as we went through the process in the offseason getting ready for the draft,” Haley said. “He’s got versatility also. He obviously hasn’t snapped in the league. He did it a bunch it college. He also played H-back in college in a spread offense out there and was a productive player that has good size and can run.”

Injury Report

Ryan Lilja was unaccounted for during the portion of practice open to the media on Thursday, but the starting left guard would join his teammates later in the session. Outside of Lilja’s early absence, Thursday’s practice participation mirrored Wednesday’s.

Chiefs Injury Report

WR Jonathan Baldwin – Did Not Participate in Practice (Thumb)

QB Matt Cassel – Full Participation (Ribs)

G Ryan Lilja – Full Participation (Not Injury Related)

The Bills downgraded NT Torrell Troup on Thursday. Troup had practiced in a limited capacity Wednesday.

Bills Injury Report

LB Arthur Moats – Did Not Participate in Practice (Knee)

NT Torrell Troup - Did Not Participate in Practice (Lower Back)

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