Kansas City Chiefs: Need to Sign Bryce Brown After Losing Jamaal Charles


On Sunday afternoon against the Chicago Bears, the Kansas City Chiefs suffered a devastating blow as superstar running back Jamaal Charles left with a right knee injury.

According to Adam Teicher of ESPN.com on Sunday, initial reports following the game indicated the organization feared an ACL injury, which would be Charles’ second-such injury of his career. In the second game of the 2011 season, the Pro Bowl runner suffered a left ACL injury.

Oct 11, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs trainers attend to Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) who was injured on the previous play during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Bears won 18-17. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Losing a player of Charles’ caliber is crushing to the organization, considering how high of a percentage of the team’s total offense he makes up for each season. On top of that, the Chiefs were visibly deflated following the injury, which led to an 18-17 loss and dropped the team to 1-4 on the regular season.

Since defeating the Houston Texans 27-20 in their opener, the Chiefs have lost four in a row to the Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals and the Chicago Bears.

ALSO ON SPIN ZONE: 2016 NFL Draft: 5 Wide Receivers You Need to Know

Heading into a three-game stretch of Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Detroit before their Week 9 bye, the Chiefs are suddenly faced with a tall task—attempting to replace the centerpiece of their offense.

If Sunday’s game was any indication of the future at the running back position, Charcandrick West will be the first man up. He carried the ball seven times for 31 yards (4.4 yards per carry) and caught one pass for five yards. After West is Knile Davis, the man many expected to get the workload when Charles went down. Instead, Davis carried the ball just two times for two yards.

Neither player set the world on fire after Charles went down, which was likely a product of the shock that set over the team. However, with Chicago’s struggles against the run (ranked No. 24 in the league at 119.3 yards per game allowed entering Week 5), Andy Reid and the Chiefs should be very concerned about their offense moving forward.

With all of this in mind, there is a player out there in free agency that Reid is familiar who can come in and make an impact from day one. That player is Bryce Brown.

Sep 3, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Bryce Brown (35) gets handed the ball during the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Formerly a seventh-round pick out of Kansas State by Reid during his final season in Philadelphia, Brown was cut in the middle of September by the Buffalo Bills. Since being cut, he has been tried out by a few teams—mostly recently with the Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets.

Prior to being cut and accumulating no stats in Buffalo this season, Brown had actually been productive during his first two seasons with the Eagles in 2012 and 2013.

More from Kansas City Chiefs

During his rookie season when Reid was there in 2012, Brown rushed the ball 115 times for 564 yards (4.9 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. He also caught 13 passes for 56 yards, serving primarily as LeSean McCoy’s backup and the team’s No. 1 option when McCoy missed four games with an injury. He rushed for 178 yards in Week 11 against Carolina and 169 yards in Week 12 against Dallas.

With McCoy fully back in the mix in late 2012 and then in 2013 with Reid off to Kansas City, Brown was pushed back into his backup role. In 2013, he would rush the ball 75 times for 314 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught eight passes for 54 yards on the season, as he saw his usage in the Eagles offense dwindle from his rookie season.

Heading into the 2014 season, Brown was traded from Philadelphia to Buffalo just two months after the Eagles acquired Darren Sproles in a trade with New Orleans. Some thought he could find a way to work into the mix there, but with Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller and Anthony Dixon he found touches hard to come by, rushing just 36 times for 126 yards and catching 16 passes for 176 yards.

Fast forward to 2015, and once again Brown found his path to becoming a lead back in the NFL blocked, as the Bills acquired his former running-mate (McCoy) in a blockbuster trade during the offseason. Despite the surprising cut of Jackson, Brown just was not in the mix for new head coach Rex Ryan with McCoy, rookie Karlos Williams and Dixon on the roster – which led to his release.

Oct 11, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid argues with head linesman George Hayward (54) about a penalty called in the second half against the Chicago Bears at Arrowhead Stadium. Chicago won the game 18-17. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Looking for work on the open market, Reid should reunite with the youngster he drafted back in 2012. Brown is a multi-purpose back who can not only run downhill, but also catch passes out of the backfield. He also sports 4.4 40-yard dash speed and the ability to make defenders miss with his 5’11” and 223-pound frame.

Evan Silva of Rotoworld broke him down as a runner in this article from 2013, stating, “…Brown is a 225-pound power back whose strength is getting north-south downhill. When he tried turning inside runs into perimeter runs, Brown became an east-west “run bouncer,” leaving solid 3-5 yard gains on the field in favor of boom-or-bust attempts to get the edge.”

In that same article, Silva cited a quote from Cris Collinsworth that described Brown as having speed that people could not anticipate. Silva also stated, “Another positive on Brown’s rookie tape was his pass-catching ability. He has natural hands and catches the football with them as opposed to letting passes get into his body.”

The final quote from Silva in that article should really present the final case for the Chiefs adding Brown. “Andy Reid’s Eagles used Brown in a wide array of formations, ostensibly with the goal of springing him into space. He handled the football on delayed draws, screens, direct snaps, stretch-zone plays, and shotgun runs.

Brown’s extensive experience in the ‘gun could help shorten his learning curve in Kelly’s shotgun-based offense. Of the 96 first-year touches I charted, 48 (exactly 50 percent) came out of the ‘gun. Brown only touched the ball eight times (8.3 percent) in the I formation.”

Now, as we all know the usage of Brown in Kelly’s offense never came to fruition. However, Reid utilizes Charles and his backs in Kanas City in a lot of these ways already – which would make adding Brown who can do these things already a no-brainer in my eyes.

Listen, you are never going to replace a guy like Charles. He is one of the most dynamic offensive weapons any of us have seen in our lifetimes. But you could do a lot worse than a running back like Brown, who flourished when given the chance to carry the workload under Reid back in 2012.

Next: 2016 NFL Mock Draft: Houston Texans Score Christian Hackenberg

More from NFL Spin Zone