A win on Sunday for the Kansas City Chiefs brought out a lot of good vibes against the New Orleans Saints. We saw the defense match the intensity of the hometown team. In addition, this victory gave the Chiefs a perfect road record for 2020 at 8-0. And most of all, that one seed and home field advantage became that much more certain for Kansas City. Unfortunately, a devastating injury suffered by rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire left a bad taste in the mouth at the end of the day.
There is both good and bad news from this. On one hand, the early reports indicate that Clyde will be done for the rest of the regular season. There is hope that he returns for the playoffs, however. An injury being described as a strained hip, combined with an ankle sprain, has a shorter timetable of recovery than expected. It has been labeled as 2-3 weeks at the least, for his recovery. Although, that remains to be seen. Today, we will be looking at the Chiefs running game as it stands right now. How will they be able to withstand an absence of Clyde Edwards-Helaire?
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One reason why the Kansas City rushing attack was more reliable this season, was because they could count on it to keep the pace afloat. In the early parts of last season, simple handoffs felt like a waste of play. The run calls had no substance and came as obvious in long yardage situations. From the jump in 2020, Clyde made an instant impact. This opened up more creativity with the run calls, other than just simply running left or running right.
Fast forward to the addition of Le’Veon Bell, and we have seen a lot more physical rushing attack. The ability to run through would be tacklers and make people miss after first contact, picked up much needed additional yards. And in the game against the Saints, the Chiefs were able to charge down the field with a steady, ground controlled drive. A heavy dose of inside zone runs kept the New Orleans defense on its heels. That also led to greater chances of bouncing it outside for positive yardage when needing to chew clock.
We touched on this a little bit already, but the Chiefs rushing attack is built for the postseason, because of the physical nature it breathes. Being able to have the strength to take on multiple tacklers at once is not an asset that all NFL teams have. With or without Edwards-Helaire, opponents have been on the wrong end of runs with stiff arms or by laying a shoulder. We have seen defenders bounce off of runners with more contact. Rather than using speed or angles to get around the defense, we see the Chiefs utilize a more straight line approach. Clyde was just starting to find his groove in that aspect as well. Overall, this running back room can withstand heavy hitters just as much as other respected rushing attacks in the AFC Playoff Picture.
The signing of formerly released Le’Veon Bell looks that much better now. And as we have seen, the veteran back is starting to feel comfortable in the offense. Even on the broadcast on Sunday, they mentioned how he was starting to read his blocks more and have a greater feel in space. We also remember how good Bell was in those days with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He may not be the same exact player that he was back then. Nevertheless, his veteran presence is a perfect match for this current situation while Clyde Edwards-Helaire is out. The unteachable aspects of Bell’s game include stout ball security, field vision and patience to read and react. Now that he has become more comfortable and accustomed in the Kansas City attack, Le’Veon is ready to answer the bell.
Strength In Depth
It may not be an exact replica, but the rest of the Chiefs running backs have shown their strengths when given the opportunity. We already talked about the seasoning of Bell is starting to show. Elsewhere, Darrel Williams has proved to be sneaky runner downhill or in space. Like Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the styles of the rest of the running backs can keep the Chiefs steady. Firstly, because the offense does not have to turn to the ground over 30 times per game. We also will not see a greater focus in altering the running game and how it operates. The bottom line is, Kansas City is hoping to get Clyde healthy first and foremost. And then we know the depth at running back can be trusted on when needed. Staying the course will be the main objective in this part of the offense.
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– 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.