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Eric Bieniemy: Kareem Hunt is “running his ass off”

The Chiefs offensive coordinator believes Hunt is actually playing better than this time last year despite worse numbers through two games.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

One thing that came off a little strange to me this offseason was how little respect the national media was giving to Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt.

Hunt finished 2017 as the league’s rushing champion with 1,327 yards, but analysts/ex-players like Maurice Jones-Drew, for example, wouldn’t list him among the top five backs in the league. Jones-Drew ranked Hunt eighth heading into 2018.

Jones-Drew has look more right than wrong through two games this season, but Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy thinks we should be looking deeper than the numbers.

“Kareem had a big start for us last season, and that was huge,” Bieniemy said in a press conference on Thursday. “I know the numbers do not show—Kareem is probably playing better football than what he played last year because he understands exactly what we expect from him. He’s done a great job of learning our system, and normally, players have a tendency to pick it up a little bit better in their second season. He’s running his ass off. He’s playing hard; he’s playing fast. So, I know the numbers are not there, but the effort, the energy and the detail is better than what it was at any time at this point last season.”

Biemiemy specifically highlighted Hunt’s retention of the offensive system in his “sophomore” season.

“In this offense, we do a lot, and we throw a lot at our rookies,” Bienimey added. “We’re asking them to know it as if they’ve been a nine or 10-year vet in this system. And we threw everything at him. Did he make a few mistakes? Yes. Did we make a big deal of it? No. We didn't care, because the only thing we want our guys to go out and do is have the confidence to go play fast. If you’re playing fast, you know what? It’s going to take care of itself. He’s not making the little mistakes that he made early in the season. So, one thing I’m looking at is, ‘How is he finishing? Does he have the proper read? Does he have the proper footwork?’

“He’s doing all the little things that we’re asking him to do, and if he continues, it’s going to take care of itself. The numbers will come.”

In their first two games, the San Francisco 49ers have allowed 116 (Vikings) and 98 (Lions) rushing yards, and they get linebacker Reuben Foster back from suspension this week.

It will be another challenge for Hunt, but regardless, Bieniemy believes the production is coming.


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