Does Todd Haley now realize he needs to feed the ball to Jamaal Charles?

ATLANTA - AUGUST 13: Jamaal Charles  of the Kansas City Chiefs against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on August 13, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The RBBC in Kansas City has been a hot topic for debate in the world of fantasy football. Actually, no it hasn’t. Fantasy owners are pretty much united in the belief that Jamaal Charles is the best, most explosive running back in Kansas City, yet Thomas Jones continues to start and eat into Charles’ fantasy production. Head coach Todd Haley is nothing if not stubborn (most NFL coaches are), so we weren’t going to see him tinker with what was ‘working.’

Now with the Chiefs’ loss to the Colts on Sunday, will we finally see the 60/40 or 65/35 (Charles/TJ) split that we were expecting when we drafted Charles in the 2nd, 3rd or even 4th round this summer?

The signs are encouraging and discouraging at the same time.

On one hand, Charles got 16 carries (for 87 yards, a 5.4 ypc average) to TJ’s eight (for 19 yards, 2.4 ypc). Charles was also targeted six times in the passing game (3-14), so he received 19 touches to Jones’s eight.

But what’s worrisome is that even after an 11-carry, 66-yard first half, Jones still started the third quarter. On the Chiefs’ first drive in the quarter, he had a 3-yard carry followed by a 6-yard carry before being stuffed for a 2-yard loss on a 3rd-and-1.

Time to punt.

At this point, Jones had 22 yards on six carries, which isn’t great, but it isn’t terrible either. (Charles was averaging 6.0 ypc at this point, so the disparity was clear.) On the Chiefs’ next drive, Charles rattled off carries of 14-yards and 7-yards before being pulled on a 2nd-and-5 from the Colts’ 12-yard line. Jones got the carry and lost five yards. One incomplete pass to Dwayne Bowe later and the Chiefs had to kick the field goal.

Charles played most of the rest of the way, but the Chiefs started throwing the ball more. In the final quarter, Charles had 11 yards on four carries along with two catches for 11 yards. Jones had one carry for two yards.

It appears that Haley realizes Charles is the better back, but he simply refuses to start him. This gives Jones an opportunity to get going early, and if he does have success on that first drive in each half, he’ll continue to vulture more carries from the Chiefs’ best offensive player.

They say that it doesn’t really matter who starts, but whoever is given the first opportunity is given the first opportunity to succeed. If Jones gets the running game going early, then Charles isn’t going to see as many carries over the course of the game. If Charles were starting, he’d have the first crack (and at 6.5 ypc, he probably wouldn’t give up the ball). And it’s not like Charles hasn’t proven he can carry the load. Over the last eight games of the 2009 season, he averaged 23 touches for 141 yards. With Jones on the roster, there’s no need to wear Charles down, but 18-20 touches is a good blueprint for offensive success.

In that respect, this week’s game is a good sign for Charles owners. But Thomas Jones is still the starter in Kansas City.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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