Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC West [Print without images]

Thursday, October 31, 2013
Playing Davis is worth the risk for Chiefs

By Adam Teicher

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Time was, the Kansas City Chiefs looked ready to give up on rookie running back Knile Davis, at least for this season. A prolific fumbler who would also occasionally line up in the wrong place or run the wrong play, Davis at times disappeared from the game plan.

He didn’t play on offense during a September game against the Dallas Cowboys. He was in for five snaps each against the New York Giants and Tennessee Titans and for one against the Oakland Raiders.

Davis
Then, last week against the Cleveland Browns, he had his busiest game since the season opener. Playing 11 snaps in part because of Jamaal Charles’ sore knee, Davis responded with a productive game given his limited playing time. He rushed for 13 yards, including a 9-yarder after making a nifty cut. He lined up four times as a wide receiver and caught one pass.

Perhaps most importantly, he didn’t fumble. That’s something Davis has been working on daily since training camp, though the results had not been showing in the games.

“I’m just doing the fundamentals,’’ Davis said. “Catching the tip [of the ball] and tucking it. I’ve been doing a little better.’’

Charles’ sore knee won’t prevent him from playing in Sunday’s game against the Bills in Buffalo. Neither will it prevent the Chiefs from giving Charles as much work as he can handle. But the Chiefs need to develop some alternative offensive sources, and Davis might be as solid an option as they have. At 227 pounds, he’s powerful as well as fast.

At one point, it seemed tempting for the Chiefs to sit Davis on the bench and keep him there.

Now he seems like a risk worth taking. The Chiefs may also be coming around to that line of thinking. Asked what he’s been told recently by running backs coach Eric Bieniemy, Davis said, “Just to be ready when my number is called. [Charles] can only do so much.’’