CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Sunday, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Jamaal Charles missed the team’s 28-16 exhibition loss to the Panthers due to a “freak accident” that resulted in a bruised foot.
On Monday, Reid told the entire story.
“I’ll just tell you what happened,” Reid said during his weekly postgame conference call with reporters. “He was actually carrying a box down the dorms, and he came down the grassy slope there and just tweaked his foot, rolled his foot over on the curb. It was that simple.”
Reid said Charles, 27, then had his foot checked out by head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder while the coaching staff apparently held its collective breath. The Chiefs had their final practice at Missouri Western on Thursday.
“He was hurting that night,” Reid said. “The next day he woke up and he was feeling a little bit better, and he was feeling better today, so we’re optimistic about it.”
Charles, who accumulated 1,980 yards and 19 touchdowns last season, was clearly missed against Carolina, as the Chiefs’ first-team offense scored only six points against the Panthers’ No. 1 defense in the first half.
No. 2 back Knile Davis, a third-round draft pick in 2013, got the nod and managed 30 yards in nine carries — a paltry 3.3 yards-per-carry average.
Reid said the Chiefs need to improve their fundamentals on both sides of the ball. He elaborated on what that meant for his running backs.
“Being decisive with your cuts and moves and so on,” Reid said.
(EDITORS: STORY CAN END HERE)
Quarterback Alex Smith completed 14 of 22 passes for 127 yards, but was often harassed by the Panthers’ strong defensive front and was sacked twice.
“It was good to see our young offensive line go against a good defensive line,” Reid said. “There’s some good things we can take out of that … both of our young tackles were going up against good players and I think they held up, for the most.”
Reid was referring to left tackle Eric Fisher, who was whistled for a holding call and allowed a quarterback hit, and right tackle Donald Stephenson, who was whistled for a false start.
“There’s some things fundamentally that they’ve got to do better,” Reid said. “They did some good things, they just have to be more consistent with it.”
Reid also made it clear that penalties were the biggest reasons the offense couldn’t get more done against the Panthers.
“Penalties were a significant issue,” Reid said. “We had five offensively … we had two holding calls, a false start and an offensive pass interference, which were big plays in a couple of cases there.”
The offense wasn’t without its bright spots, however. Reid said he was pleased about the group’s ability to move the ball on its first two drives, though it stalled out and the Chiefs had to settle for field goals.
It’s reasonable to assume Charles could have made a difference. The Chiefs will continue training camp on Tuesday at their Arrowhead training facilities, and while Reid said he isn’t sure when Charles will be able to resume practicing, he insisted there’s not much to worry about.
“Initially, there was a little concern,” Reid said. “But they got all the stuff done on it, MRIs and all that stuff, so everything is clear.”