October 10, 2011
Battle is an un-drafted fifth-year vet, a special-teamer who turned 28 on Oct. 1. Entering the 2011 season, he was buried on the Chiefs depth chart, behind Jamaal Charles(notes), Thomas Jones(notes), Le'Ron McClain(notes) and Dexter McCluster(notes). There was no imaginable path for Battle to claim a featured role in Kansas City's backfield ... and yet he seems to have found one.
Battle carried 19 times for 119 yards in the Chiefs' comeback win at Indianapolis, and he no doubt left a few dozen bruises on Colts defenders. He was a sledgehammer, always falling forward after contact, pounding would-be tacklers. True, it's been a little while since Indy's defense could stop the run — the Colts have allowed 145.2 rushing yards per game this season — so we have to be careful not to overrate any performance against that group.
But still, it's clear that Battle has earned a serious workload in future weeks. This comes as no surprise to at least one anonymous Jackie Battle fan.
Josh Looney has the details, via the Chiefs' website...
At least one fan was leading a charge to get Battle more carries prior to Sunday's breakout performance. During his post-game press conference, [coach Todd] Haley revealed he had received an anonymous letter from a fan calling for Battle to receive more carries.
Haley then read the letter to Battle before Sunday's game.
"I actually got a note from a fan that didn't even leave a return address," Haley explained. "Number one, he liked my hat which I appreciated. He was a Marine and he liked that I yell a lot. He said yelling is what got his life in shape. Then he spoke about Jackie.
"I read Jackie the letter before the game and this guy for whatever reason believes in Jackie Battle. He said, 'You need to give Jackie Battle the ball. I think he's another Arian Foster.'(notes) I don't know all the words exactly but I've been really impressed with Jackie."
OK, so it might be a bit of an overreach to call Battle "another Arian Foster," but you appreciate the unnamed fan's enthusiasm. And how improbable is that story? Todd Haley, embattled head coach of a 1-3 team, finds the time to read some fan mail, then happens to identify the one letter in five years that dealt with Jackie Battle. Awesome. And then he reads it aloud to the player, pregame. Chiefs fans, if you have any recommendations, send 'em to your head coach. Say something nice about his attire and you have immediate credibility.
Battle is going to be one of the week's more popular fantasy adds, and with good reason. He'll face Oakland after the Week 6 bye, and the Raiders are giving up 5.2 yards per carry. The Chiefs face a string of difficult opponents late in the season (check the schedule in Weeks 11-15) so they won't be running the ball 38 times a game, as they did at Indy. But we know Haley is a run-first coach, and he's apparently found a new ground-based weapon.
Battle's resume isn't entirely blank, we should note. He rushed for 943 yards and 15 scores in his final year at Houston, when his teammates included Kevin Kolb(notes) and Donnie Avery(notes). And now he's put runs like this on tape. I'm interested enough to bid.
Photo via US Presswire
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