Fantasy owners looking to get a lot out of Damien Williams this year may have second thoughts after Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid told SiriusXM NFL Radio that the team would implement a form of a “running back by committee” strategy.
“I did a little bit of that when I was in Philadelphia, a kind of running back-by-committee deal and we had some success with it.” Reid said during an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio. “We’ll do that here (in Kansas City).
“We drafted a kid (at running back) and the other Williams (Darrel Williams) isn’t bad either. We’ve got a couple Williamses, and then Carlos (Hyde), we’ve got a new little guy (Darwin Thompson) in there that runs around, so we’ve got a good nucleus of players that I think we’re going to be good at that spot. They all have their strengths and we’ll try to exploit their strengths.”
.@Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid discussed what he sees from Patrick Mahomes coming off an MVP season and how the RB room is shaping up in Kansas City...— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) August 8, 2019
"Pat has a way about him and he is a pretty humble kid for all the accolades he's had."
Why would the Chiefs decide to do a running back by committee in the first place?
Well, Damien Williams was named as the teams starting RB before training camp, but his hamstring injury that kept him from practice may have opened the door for some other backs on the roster. Reid expressed some frustration when Williams missed his fifth straight practice, but offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy confirmed that Williams was still the starter the next day, and he returned to practice on Wednesday.
The extra first-team reps may have helped Hyde and Darryl Williams, as well as sixth-round draft pick Darwin Thompson, make their case for the starting spot. Reid may have seen glimpses of his old Philadelphia Eagles team in this group of running backs and decided a committee would be more effective.
Reid’s Philadelphia team did see success implementing the running back by committee in the early 2000s. In 2003 specifically, Philadelphia managed to rush for 2,015 yards and 23 touchdowns, all while splitting the load primarily among three backs: Correll Buckhalter, Brian Westbrook and Duce Staley. All three backs ran for 450-plus yards, on 126, 117, and 96 carries, respectively.
While the assumption would be that the three backs featured would be the two Williams and Hyde, Thompson and even Tremon Smith have made good impressions on Reid.
Smith, who was formerly a corner for the Chiefs, made an impact on kickoff return last year but fell down the depth chart at his position. Smith was moved to RB during camp, and Reid said he’s been happy with what he’s seen.
“He (Smith) was excited about it,” Reid said of Smith’s move to running back. “Along with Tremon, we’ve got really four or five guys that we feel really good about.”
That sentiment may be at the heart of this back-by-committee strategy. It could be that the position battle is so close, that this is simply Andy Reid’s way of seeing which back shines the brightest. Even in a committee, one back seems to break out from the rest over time. For Philly, it was Brian Westbrook who emerged as their featured RB in 2004 and never looked back.
Any one of these five halfbacks could rise to the challenge and become KC’s running back of the future. The Chiefs will get their first true glimpse at that situation on Saturday when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium.