- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Kansas City Chiefs are fueled by short passes.
Their average gain on a completion is 10.9 yards and quarterback Alex Smith's average yards per attempt is at 6.6. But a lot of those yards are after the catch, not before it.
Their leading receiver is also their leading rusher, running back Jamaal Charles. His 23 catches are 10 more than any other member of the team.
Can the Chiefs short pass the Tennessee Titans to death?
“They’ve shown they’re very patient and they will do that with the running back,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “In the Eagles game, he must have caught a dozen passes, and I think all of them were 3-, 4-, 5-yard passes …
“Guys who are responsible for him have to keep their eyes on him, not get caught up in the run game, try to contain him that way, don’t let him get to the sideline where he can really hurt you with his speed. [There will] be quite a few guys in different coverages having responsibility for him.”
Weakside linebacker Zach Brown figures to be prominent in that, and doesn’t sound at all fearful of a short-passing offense.
“We’ve got to play good underneath zone and make them make mistakes,” he said. “You’re not going to beat somebody if you keep dinking the ball. We’ve just got to make sure we make plays on the ball when they catch it, get the ball out when they catch it, dislodge them from the ball.
“The West Coast Offense, getting them off rhythm it disrupts the whole thing.”
Safety George Wilson said anything the Titans can do to take Smith away from that first short read that will make him hold the ball and go to his second or third progression will be a key part of the defensive effort.
I asked Brown if training camp work against Chris Johnson helps the Titans as they prepare to try to stop Charles.
“Charles is a good back, he’s fast, but everybody is like, ‘He’s just like Chris,’” Brown said. “He’s similar to Chris in some ways, but he’s more agile that Chris. Chris is a good runner, Chris can hit it. Jamaal Charles can hit it. But each one of them has different things the other one don’t have.
Charles has some bad habits the Titans can take advantage of, according to Brown.
“For some reason he’ll be juking somebody and he’ll switch the ball (from one hand to the other) at the same time,” Brown said. “That’s not something you see from a running back. A running back, once he has it in his hand, they’re going to go. He’s making a move and he’ll switch, we’ve just got to get the ball away from him.”