Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid suggested Monday that the team could utilize more of rookie Darwin Thompson at running back next week against the New England Patriots after Darrel Williams left the game against the Oakland Raiders due to injury on Sunday.
“We wanted to keep bringing [Thompson] along,” said Reid. “We’ll see how that goes. Darrel’s injury — it looked like he had a hamstring, and that didn’t look very good, so there’s probably a pretty good chance he doesn’t play. Darwin — he’s got to be ready to go.”
The Chiefs ruled “starting” running back Damien Williams out for the Raiders last Friday, as he is dealing with a rib injury. There was no word one way or another on Damien Williams’ status on Monday.
With Sunday’s game in hand as the Chiefs led the Raiders 31-3 in the fourth quarter, Reid inserted the 2019 sixth-rounder into the lineup to drain the clock. Thompson ran the ball 11 times during a 14-play scoring drive.
Reid mentioned after the game that it was his job to manage 31-year-old veteran LeSean McCoy, the only other eligible back with both Damien and Darrel out of the game, so it was worth asking Reid if the 23-year-old Thompson had been in for the purpose of managing McCoy’s workload.
“No. I had load management for Thompson, is what I had — I was going to give him the ball,” laughed Reid. “The more he carries it and gets a feel for things, I think the better he’ll be as we finish up the stretch here of the season. And it was an opportunity. I thought it was important he was in with the number one (offensive) line, for the most part, and it was against their starting defense, so I thought it was important that he got as many carries as possible. Now, he got a little tired in there, but that’s when we put Sherm (Anthony Sherman) in.”
Reid said that Thompson worked his way into the mix by way of special teams, finding “a nice little niche in there on the punt team.” Thompson improving in his protections made Reid comfortable enough to provide him an opportunity.
With the chance to play, Thompson ran for 44 yards on the 11 carries, finishing off the drive with the first touchdown of his career — a moment that seemed to mean a lot to the teammates celebrating the touchdown around him.
“He doesn’t say much,” Reid added of Thompson. “He’s real quiet, works his tail off and so the guys were excited for him. He’s one of those guys that — he’s not the biggest guy but he works his tail off in the weight room and he works his tail off at practice, he studies like crazy. Doesn’t say much, he just goes out and plays. Normally, guys are attracted to that — they like him. He’s got a good way about him.”
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