There's a popular seek-and-find book series known as "Where's Waldo," and the objective is to pick out a man wearing red and white stripes from a crowd of people and things. It's a fun thing to do - but only if you have success. It's supposed to take some time, but too long and then it gets tiring and makes you want to just give up.
The Indianapolis Colts will be playing "Where's Waldo" when they take the field against the Kansas City Chiefs today, as Chuck Pagano described it to his defense this week. The Colts defense will be the ones trying to find Waldo, and Waldo is Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles.
The point behind that saying is that the Colts will need to know where Charles is at all times of the game and will need to stop him. It all starts and ends with him for the Chiefs offense. I asked Arrowhead Pride's Joel Thorman about Charles and he talked about his impact:
"In any season without Peyton Manning, Jamaal would be a serious MVP candidate. He accounts for more of the Chiefs yardage than any other player. He leads the team in rushing, receiving and touchdowns. He does it all. The offense goes through him, plain and simple. The Chiefs are a different team when he is not making plays, something Colts fans know from the last meeting. The only way Charles has been slowed this season is by Andy Reid's own playcalling. Give him enough touches and he will break one off."
Chuck Pagano also talked about Charles quite a bit this week, saying:
"Jamaal Charles. We called him public enemy No. 1 and he still is. (He totaled) 1,900-plus yards from scrimmage, 1,287 I think rushing and 693 out of the backfield receiving yards, 19 touchdowns, didn't play the last game. First and foremost that's the guy that you've got to take away. They've got other skilled athletes we know on the outside in Donnie Avery and Dwayne Bowe and (Dexter) McCluster can beat you. Knile Davis coming in as a change of pace guy running it and the quarterback can certainly beat you. But it all starts with Jamaal. We got to do a great job containing him, try to slow him down."
He also added that:
"It takes all 11 in the run game, pass game. It's a matter of studying and preparing. Hopefully, we've got real heady guys and it takes a bunch of guys to get that guy down in the open field. It all starts with recognition, reading and reacting and trusting your keys and doing your job. So we had a bunch of guys doing their job."
The last time the Colts played the Chiefs (three weeks ago), Charles rushed for 106 yards and a score on 13 carries and caught 5 passes for 38 yards, but after a dominating first drive the Chiefs started to go away from him, playing exactly as the Colts wanted them to. Pagano said this week that he'd be shocked if Charles doesn't touch the ball at least 30 times on Saturday, and I would be too.
Charles will get his touches, and he has had a simply incredible season. It begins and ends for the Colts with knowing where Charles is and stopping him. Or, as Chuck Pagano told his team, it's about playing "Where's Waldo."