And so the domino falling has commenced.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 3, 2013
Or has it? As usual, clarity is a lost art. But Mort and Adam Schefter — the Robin to his Batman — are reporting that although there are still minor details to work through, a source indicated the “major issues have been discussed and agreed upon“. The talks lasted nine hours yesterday, which is far more time than I talk to any one person during any given week. The length of the conversation indicates that the Chiefs’ likely are indeed on the verge of a deal.
But here comes the rest of the murkiness.
NFL Network’s Albert Breer reports that as of right now, Reid still plans to interview with Arizona and San Diego. The Chiefs’ task then is to make him cancel those interviews, and conversely Reid’s mission to keep edging towards the plane, because a man with options is a man who’s about to be rich. USA Today’s Mike Garafolo is also reporting that as of this second as I type these words, Reid still hasn’t canceled those trips. And really, if you’re living in the cold and blowing and slushy and hellish northeast right now, why would you cancel trips to Arizona and San Diego?
So for those keeping score at home, Reid has gone from being the 95 percent guaranteed next head coach of the Cardinals on Monday (according to, um, Schefter) to seemingly at least an equal Chiefs guarantee.
For now, we’ll give up trying to guess where that shift will finally settle, and take a moment to focus solely on this Chiefs report from a fantasy perspective. In short, ugh.
Under former head coach Romeo Crennel, there was already widespread hate and angst over Jamaal Charles’ inconsistent usage. It was downright maddening, as despite receiving just 285 carries, Charles still had 1,509 rushing yards this year. Among running backs with at least 100 rushing attempts, Charles’ 5.3 yards per attempt was behind only Adrian Peterson’s 6.0. Yet he received 63 fewer carries than Peterson, leaving fantasy owners a little conflicted. We rejoiced over the production, but knew there was potential for so much more.
Is there hope for that to change much under Reid? Not if his LeSean McCoy deployment is any indication. While Charles was the only running back among the top five players at his position to not receive at least 300 carries this year, McCoy still hasn’t had a 300-carry season. Sure, we can discount this year due to his injury, but McCoy played 15 games in both 2011 and 2010, and he didn’t reach that bell cow status. In 2010, McCoy’s carries dipped to just 207.
However, McCoy’s lack of usage as a running back who, well, runs was balanced by his presence as a receiver out of the backfield. During that 2010 year he had a career-high 78 receptions, and then followed that up with 54 the next season. Under Reid, McCoy averaged 397 receiving yards per year, a number that topped out at 592. There’s hope then for a similar uptick with Charles, who’s had a presence in the passing game, but a slightly lesser one (if we exclude his injury-shortened 2011 season, Charles is averaging 318.3 receiving yards per year).
Reid is undoubtedly selling himself on his ability to groom whatever young quarterback the Chiefs hopefully bring in, a skill that will also effect Charles, since his production this past season is even more remarkable considering the lack of support he received from Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn. For proof of Reid’s QB development we can turn to one Donovan McNabb, who was drafted with the second overall pick in 1999, and remained the Eagles’ quarterback for 11 years throughout their four conference championship appearances, and during the 2005 Super Bowl. Unfortunately, Reid hasn’t yet learned how to control a quarterback’s vomit reflex.
So there’s some understandable fantasy apprehension surrounding this potential move, since Reid’s employment in KC could lead to the continued Charles under-usage chaos. But as a McCoy clone in open space while utilized as a receiver, his production could actually grow. Quickly.