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Chiefs, Dolphins Hope Backup RBs can Ignite Their Offenses

With both their starting RBs out the Chiefs and Dolphins look to their backups in week three

When comparing Kansas City Chiefs running backs, it would seem Jamaal Charles has Knile Davis beaten by a mile — or by 5,522 career yards rushing, which is actually 3.1 miles.

Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake argues otherwise. Charles is hampered by a high ankle sprain that could keep him out of Sunday's game at Miami, but Wake says the challenge remains the same.

"Whoever has the ball, you have to put them on the ground," Wake says. "I don't care if it's Jamaal Charles, Oscar the Grouch, Big Bird, it doesn't matter."

None of the likely ball carriers for either team Sunday is as well-known as Big Bird.


Miami will be without Knowshon Moreno, who rushed for an NFL-high 134 yards in Week 1 but hurt his elbow early in last week's loss at Buffalo. That means the bulk of the carries will go to veteran Lamar Miller and undrafted rookie Damien Williams.

Davis, a second-year pro, filled in for Charles last week at Denver and ran for 79 yards, boosting his career total to 324. But the injury-plagued Chiefs lost 24-17 and are 0-2 after going 11-5 last year.

The Dolphins endured a 29-10 drubbing at Buffalo that dropped them to 1-1. Here are things to watch as Miami and Kansas City try to bounce back:

BACKFIELD SHIFT: Both teams have sputtered offensively, and the injuries to Charles and Moreno will make it more difficult to get the ground game going. But even with reserves taking the handoff, Miami coach Joe Philbin anticipates few changes in the offensive schemes.

"You have an offseason program where you get probably 1,000 reps of offense," Philbin says. "Then you go to training camp and get about 1,600 or 1,700 reps. Then you get four preseason games. I don't know that you can change a whole lot in a week based on one injury. There may be things we emphasize more than others, but you kind of are what you are."

RIDDLED CHIEFS: Charles, who accounted for nearly 40 percent of the Chiefs' offense last season, heads a long injury list for the Chiefs.

They finished last week's game down seven starters, including tackle Donald Stephenson, who is suspended. On injured reserve are Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Johnson, linebacker Joe Mays, defensive tackle Mike DeVito and tackle Jeff Allen. Also hobbled is Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry.

The Chiefs anticipate at least one reinforcement: rookie receiver-running back De'Anthony Thomas is expected to make his debut after missing the first two games with a hamstring injury.

View photos from the Chiefs vs. Dolphins series history.

STRUGGLING QBS: Miami's Ryan Tannehill has a passer rating that ranks 29th, and Kansas City's Alex Smith is even worse — 35th and last. Both rank in the bottom quarter in completion percentage and yards per attempt. Neither has a completion of more than 27 yards.

Smith has scrambled better than he has thrown. He leads all quarterbacks with 78 yards rushing in 11 carries.

"It's a problem for secondaries because he can extend plays, whereas a normal guy might be in trouble and might get sacked," Dolphins Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes says. "It can turn into backyard football a little bit."

NO HARD FEELINGS: Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert started 83 games for the Chiefs in 2008-13 and made the Pro Bowl last year, but was deemed expendable because Kansas City had tackle Eric Fisher, the overall No. 1 draft pick in 2013.

Albert's $47 million, five-year deal with Miami eased the pain of parting, and he says he harbors no hard feelings toward the Chiefs.

"I had six good years there, man," Albert says. "I went there as a young boy and came out as a grown man. I have love for Kansas City — Kansas and Missouri, both sides. I had my ups and downs and people criticized me. But for the most part I've got a lot of great memories of being in Kansas City."

IN A HOLE: The Chiefs' Andy Reid is off to an 0-2 start for the fourth time in his 16-year career as an NFL head coach. His 2003 Eagles lost their first two games, but finished 12-4 and reached the NFC championship game.

Since mid-November, the Chiefs have lost seven of the past nine games. But they expect to get into the playoff chase soon.

"You've got 14 more games left," defensive lineman Kevin Vickerson says. "It's a long season, a lot of trials and a lot of ups and downs. It'll change real soon."

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