The Kansas City Chiefs have faced trials and tribulations at the running back position in 2019. On Christmas day, Spencer Ware was placed on injured reserve with a torn rotator cuff. This is significant, given the different roles that Ware excelled in since returning to Kansas City for three games. He is arguably the best running back the Chiefs have had this year in pass protection. Meanwhile, he is underrated as a pass catching back and route runner.
In Ware’s three games with the Chiefs, he accumulated 51 yards on the ground on 17 carries. Also, he had five receptions. The stats won’t always jump out for him. However, the effort and attention to detail that Ware displays, leads to more explosive plays for the offense.
Due to the Ware injury news, one would have to wonder if Kansas City will add another running back to the active roster. Darrel Williams was already placed on injured reserve a few weeks beforehand. On the other hand, LeSean McCoy seems to have fallen out of favor. If the team cannot rely on McCoy, then you are down to just Damien Williams and Darwin Thompson. Let’s look towards a few options that could be worth calling to come join the red and gold.
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This may the most obvious addition, if one takes place. Elijah McGuire is currently on the Chiefs practice squad. They added him in late November, and he has only been on practice squads all year. McGuire was also on the Cleveland Browns practice squad earlier this season.
McGuire is still a younger back, having been drafted in the 6th round in 2017 by the New York Jets. He was never the lead back for Gang Green. He has a dual threat style and can run well in between the tackles. The Jets seemed to always capitalize with McGuire as a change of pace back, when opposing defenses may have been worn down.
He is similar to Damien Williams in terms of size and style. Honestly, McGuire runs with a more hard nosed physical style to that of Ware, more so than Williams. As we mentioned before, it is unknown if the Chiefs will add another back. Although, the simplest move would be that of McGuire.
Currently a free agent, CJ Anderson would fit the attitude of this Chiefs team perfectly. He has gone back and forth from the top guy in the backfield to an afterthought. There is a physical presence that Anderson uses when pounding the rock. Additionally, he has underrated speed to his game when getting free in the open field.
The Cal product may be most remembered for his five year run with the Denver Broncos. Denver signed Anderson as an undrafted free agent in 2013. In three of those five seasons, he became the lead dog and put up impressive numbers. Anderson registered over 2,500 rushing yards and over 700 receiving yards in those three different campaigns. Moving on to the postseason, he provided a nice mix to the high flying passing game with Peyton Manning. Ultimately, Anderson and the Broncos won the Super Bowl in his third season.
Following his time spent in the Rocky Mountains, Anderson moved on to the Carolina Panthers. The results were fair. Yet, Christian McCaffrey was the starter. The Panthers decided Anderson’s services were not needed halfway through the 2018 season.
Meanwhile, he finally struck lightning in a bottle late last year. The Los Angeles Rams starting back, Todd Gurley, was dealing with a multitude of injuries. Anderson didn’t just revive his career, but he was arguably one of the top running backs in the league at the end of last year. He accumulated 299 rushing yards in just two games to the end the regular season. Also, he generated nearly 200 more rushing yards in the playoffs.
He has averaged over 4.3 yards per carry throughout his career. To boot, Anderson has the playoff experience and results. He visited the Chiefs last season, before ultimately going to the Rams.
The other free agent running backs are full of questions and concern. Alex Collins was effective with the Baltimore Ravens last time we saw him play. Unfortunately, injuries and legal trouble have hurt Collins’ chances. The rest of the running back free agents present some interesting names. Guys like Zach Zenner, Alfred Morris, Jay Ajayi and Marcus Murphy could all find some opportunity in an offense like the Chiefs. Kansas City may not even add anyone. Last year in the postseason, the Chiefs relied on just three running backs as well. Injuries led to guys like Damien Williams and Darrel Williams seeing more opportunities. Now, the same could happen for Darwin Thompson, along with Damien Williams.
Be on the lookout for more Chiefs content at the end of this week. Tomorrow, we will present the Chiefs versus Chargers game preview. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.