But despite, the fact he bounced back from a 2011 season cut short by a torn ACL, by running a personal best 1,509 rushing yards in 2012, earning his second pro bowl nod, and despite he's the number one back on the depth chart, Davis is going to be more than an understudy if he can stay healthy.
Charles is 26, Davis is 21. Charles does have the experience but the knock on him has always been his size. Davis outweighs him by nearly 30 pounds of pure muscle. Charles looked great in OTA's and minicamp but so did Davis. I don't believe for a minute the perception that Davis has a fumbling problem. He needed happy feet when he was injured and concentration gets thrown for a loop when you are hurting. Davis is healthy right now. One thing many people forget is that Charles was a third round pick and ended up sitting behind, Larry Johnson, until the team finally jettisoned him to scrap heap. Before that though Charles was returning kicks, played special teams and spelled LJ from time to time in his rookie season. Davis may do the same thing but I'm not so sure.
Pederson is a pretty smart offensive guy and so is Reid. When it comes down to the actual play calling, we may see some different things. Unexpected things. I'll delve more into that aspect in another article. Suffice it to say for now, Davis will figure into the first strike attack and most likely fairly often so. But for now one thing is certain; nobody one can predict it today. I'm pleased that this offense will have a one-two punch to put in the tool bag. Just like Alex Smith and Dwayne Bowe are expected to stretch the field with the vertical passing game, Charles-Davis will stretch the field with the ground game.
When Reid had Duce Staley, Corell Buckhalter and a young Brian Westbrook in 2003, they became known as the "Three-Headed Monster". Staley and Buckhalter were nearing the end of their careers while Westbrook was ascending. And with KC's current talent at running back similar to what Reid dealt with a decade ago, that experience dividing the rock should be to his advantage. If so, Kansas City fans will be treated to quite a show if Reid and Pederson go back to that old playbook.
Still one thing I want to emphasize, regardless of the direction the offense takes relative to the ground game, this offense will be high octane, runnin' and gunnin', ala West Coast candy land.
I can already see the possibility that an emergence of a two back attack in Kansas City as a real threat for opposing defenses. The power of a big back like Davis can absolutely compliment the finesse running of Sir Charles. Whether I'm right or wrong, I can assure you the AFC West will be preparing for that exact possibility. In fact, this could be a case of misdirection and we all know that planning a game is part chess and part brute force. Forcing your opponent to capitulate either through poor game planning or overplaying their hand can play right into your own strategy.
But gamesmanship combines experience, planning and luck. You can only control two of those factors. Projecting a certain direction that is "obvious" to your opponents establishes an expectation. The beautiful thing that develops from that expectation is a probability that you will follow through exactly as your opponent expects.
That's when the misdirection becomes the operative. This is where your own planning and experience wins the battle. String enough of those together and you win football games – many of them. No rocket science, no neurosurgery, just playing another humans ability to anticipate the correct direction that favors them.
The psychology of human reaction to certain situations is relatively predictable based on the events leading up to the decision point. If they anticipated incorrectly, make the wrong move; they lose the play. That's when you have your opponent at their weakest. Strike first, strike hard; anticipate correctly every time and you win the game.
Over the duration of his coaching career in the NFL, Andy Reid, has proven his gamesmanship. He's a winner. What comes next can both solidify his reputation and allow him to go down in the annals of NFL history as one of the greatest coaches or…we'll see what happens starting in September.
This article appears courtesy of the 2013 Season Preview Edition of Warpaint Illustrated the Magazine.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Will Charles and Davis rise to Reid's challenge?
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