Denver Broncos running back Jamaal Charles feels great. He happy to be on an NFL squad, he doesn’t feel rusty, and he knows he can still play.
But playing — or at this point in training camp, practicing — he hasn’t done much of.
Two weeks ago, Charles said he told the Broncos coaching staff, “I definitely want to do more.”
“They’re taking their time with me, and I told them I want to do more with (practice), to get hit. I want that to get my confidence up and see where I need to fit my pads and make people miss,” Charles said. “The process is still going right now. Whatever they tell me to do I’m just doing it day by day.”
That process, head coach Vance Joseph said on Tuesday, is to get Charles “more and more reps” as training camp progresses.
“We want to stay with the plan with Jamaal, obviously,” Joseph said.
That plan, however, does not include Charles playing in Thursday’s preseason opener in Chicago against the Bears.
“At some point, you’ve got to play. At some point, you’ve got to practice. At some point, we’ve got to make sure we can actually rely on you and we can rely on that knee,” Mark Schlereth, co-host of “Schlereth & Evans,” said on Wednesday.
“So, there’s a fine balancing act here, and I don’t know when they’re going to get that done.”
And with the addition of free agent Stevan Ridley, who has by many accounts impressed since being signed off the street early in camp, time may be running out for Charles to prove himself.
“It’s one thing if Stevan Ridley hadn’t come in here and really opened up a lot of eyes. Then maybe you could continue to slow play it with Jamaal Charles,” Mike Evans, co-host of “Schlereth & Evans,’ said Wednesday.
“But I’ve got to believe Jamaal Charles, himself, is sitting back, looking at what Ridley’s doing, and he’s champing at the bit to get out there because he’s seeing this guy taking his job, possibly.”
Schlereth went as far as to say that if the Broncos had to trim to its final 53-man roster today, Charles would be on the outside looking in.
“Right now, if the cuts happened today and they had to pick their football team, he’s not making this team,” Schlereth said.
However, Schlereth suggested that the Broncos may open it up a little more for Charles when they travel to San Francisco for joint practices with the 49ers next week.
But, Charles hitting the field has to happen at some point, Schlereth said.
“Every time he doesn’t, and every time that Stevan Ridley makes another play or every time that De’Angelo Henderson makes another play or every time that Juwan Thompson makes another play, Jamaal Charles gets closer to looking for work,” Schlereth said.
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @JohnnyHart7.
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