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Know the Foe: Titans Want to Contain Chiefs Elusive RB Jamaal Charles

Posted Oct 4, 2013

“Know the Foe” is a segment that takes a look at a key player or aspect of the upcoming opponent.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The fact that Jamaal Charles leads Kansas City in rushing and receiving isn’t lost on the Titans.

Tennessee’s defenders know the importance of keeping tabs on the speedy, versatile running back Sunday when the Titans (3-1) host the Chiefs (4-0).

The Titans know the importance of containing Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles when Kansas City visits Tennessee Sunday.

Charles, who has spent all six of his pro seasons with the Chiefs, has 70 carries for 289 yards (third in the AFC) and is tied for the league lead in receptions by a running back (23 for 213 yards). He has two rushing and two receiving TDs so far this season.

“You see a guy like Charles, there’s not many guys who have more touches than he does at this point in the season,” Titans safety George Wilson said. “He leads their team in rushing and receiving, so we know their offense goes through Charles first and foremost but they have (Dexter) McCluster and (Dwayne) Bowe, guys they can get the ball to that can make big plays as well.”

Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey said Charles can do damage between the tackles but it will be important to take away his opportunities on the perimeters of the line of scrimmage.

“A lot of times they like to stretch the ball out and use his speed so it’s going to be one of those games where we’ve got to expect our defensive ends to set the edge and let everybody else get to him in time because once he hits that corner, it’s kind of hard to get up to him, to keep up with him,” Casey said.

The elusive threat that Charles poses rewards Kansas City for throwing short passes if opponents don’t tackle well. Charles is coming of a career high of 1,509 rushing yards in 2012 that helped him garner his second selection to the Pro Bowl after missing most of 2011 because of injury. Charles had 1,935 yards from scrimmage (1,467 rushing and 468 receiving) during his All-Pro season of 2010.

“They’ve shown they’re very patient. I think (Charles) in the Eagles game must have caught a dozen passes, and I think all of them were 3, 4, 5-yard passes, and he’s similar to (Chris Johnson),” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “Charles has that speed and can take it at any time if we tackle poorly.”

Safety Michael Griffin said the work that Tennessee’s defenders do against Johnson, Kendall Wright and Darius Reynaud during practices should help.

“When it comes to Jamaal, it’s population,” Griffin said. “Everybody has to run to the ball and the same with McCluster. Those are guys that can take it a distance and make a person miss, but the more people you have around the ball, the more people can help pursue and make the tackle.”

Bernard Pollard, who was with Kansas City during Charles’ rookie season of 2008, has seen him “grow” as a professional. Charles has 854 career rushes for 4,825 yards and 175 career catches for 1,495 yards. Pollard said the best way to minimize Charles and McCluster’s effectiveness is to “hit them.”

“(Charles is) an exceptional player, a special player, and I think (Chiefs coach Andy) Reid knows that and understands that and that’s why he’s getting the ball in his hands in every phase of their offense,” Pollard said. “We have to hit those guys, we have to know where they’re at at all times.”

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