The San Francisco 49ers host the Kansas City Chiefs this Friday, and while the final score does not matter, getting the best reps in does matter. Unfortunately, it looks like the 49ers will not get the benefit of facing Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. Monday morning, Charles suffered a foot strain that resulted in his getting taken off the practice field on a cart. Today, reports indicate he is not practicing.
Charles is not wearing a boot, and it sounds like he is walking relatively fine, but it's safe to say he probably won't be playing this Friday. The Chiefs have one more practice tomorrow, so I suppose this could change. However, given the importance of Charles to the Chiefs offense, I would be rather shocked if he played on Friday. The Chiefs might as well wrap him up in bubble wrap until the season starts. We saw Alex Smith take full advantage of his checkdown options last Friday in the Chiefs preseason opener. Charles is among the best all-around backs in the league, and he'll likely be Smith's most important receiver this season.
The downside to this for the 49ers is we likely won't get to see the first string defense get work against such a dynamic running back. This year's schedule features a host of great, dynamic running backs, including Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, Arian Foster, Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren Sproles and Steven Jackson. Every bit of work the 49ers can get against these kinds of backs in the preseason is a boost.
The 49ers trio of running backs will be able to test the 49ers defense in training camp, but getting some opposition backs is a boost. The 49ers remaining preseason schedule will include Adrian Peterson and Ryan Mathews.