Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid plans to use star running back Jamaal Charles in multiple ways. He will use Charles in a similar way to the way he used Brian Westbrook with the Philadelphia Eagles.
FoxSportsKansasCity.com reports that the Chiefs are aligning Charles in various positions this offseason. Reid and offensive coordinator Doug Pederson are moving Charles all around the formation.
The dynamic runner is being lined up in pistol and read-option looks, as well as the pro-set in the West Coast offense. When he is not in the backfield, Charles is being split out as a wide receiver.
It is a smart move by the Chiefs to find multiple uses for Charles. It is hard to believe the previous regimes did not do the same.
Charles has awesome multipurpose potential. He caught only 37 passes in 2012, but Charles is a more than capable receiver.
Thanks to his roots in the West Coast scheme, Reid knows how to make the most of a pass-catching back. During his time with the Eagles, Westbrook was Reid's best multipurpose weapon.
He was the x-factor on an efficient Eagles offense. Westbrook created matchup nightmares for defenses all over the field.
Charles can do the same in Reid's offense. He has the speed to be a lethal weapon on swing passes and well-crafted screen plays.
More sprint draws, trap plays and runs designed to attack the edges, from pistol and spread looks, will free Charles for more big gains on the ground.
A brief breakdown of how Reid used Westbrook is also good news for Charles. When Reid took the Eagles to a Super Bowl in the 2004 season, Westbrook was a key factor.
He carried the ball 177 times for 812 rushing yards. Westbrook also caught 73 passes for 703 yards. In addition to his 1,515 total yards, Westbrook also scored nine touchdowns.
In 2007, Westbrook had 278 carries and gained 1,333 yards on the ground. He also made 90 receptions for 771 yards. He scored 12 touchdowns that season.
Rather than being a workhorse runner, Westbrook was a true all-purpose running back. That is why the common criticism against Reid, that he does not feature running backs, lacks credibility.
Reid does feature talented runners. But he does it in various ways. Less carries might be good for Charles, considering the workload the 26-year-old has already endured.
As the main ball carrier in the Chiefs' power-based schemes, Charles has tallied 527 carries in the last three seasons. That kind of effort produces wear and tear in a running back.
Reid will take him out of the grueling environment between the tackles and let Charles make more plays in space. By increasing his work as a receiver and shifting his alignments, Reid can use Charles to spread out defensive alignments and stretch coverage schemes.
That is sure to cause plenty of headaches for defensive coordinators. It will also give the Chiefs greater mixture on offense. More variety will be crucial for a unit that ranked last in points in 2012.
Charles will not get 25-30 carries a game while Reid is in charge. But like Westbrook was, Charles will be the main feature of the offense wherever he lines up.