On the Wednesday mailbag edition of the AP Laboratory, we were asked if running backDarwin Thompson could see an increased role (regardless of Darrel Williams’ status) after a strong showing in week two against Los Angeles.
Darwin Thompson against the LA Chargers
Thompson finished the win over the Chargers with four carries for 21 yards, highlighted by a 14-yard run. He looked more explosive as a runner than Darrel Williams has to this point — which isn’t all that surprising. Williams’ value isn’t in his dynamic ability as a runner or receiver. He is a stable, steady presence in pass protection that can get what is blocked in the run game and natural hands to catch passes out in the flats as an outlet to Patrick Mahomes.
Thompson has yet to show a great ability as a pass protector and has had some rough moments in the passing game (not turning his head against the Titans in the playoffs) — albeit in a little sample size. There needs to be signs of growth in this aspect if Thompson is going to overtake Williams — and before the injury to Williams, that simply was not the case. The depth chart and playing time proved that despite being a significantly more dynamic runner, Williams has earned the reps on third down over Thompson. In fact, the Chiefs trust Williams more than starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire on third downs right now based on that key down’s snap count.
Williams could miss time due to injury, which will certainly shake things up for Week 3 if that’s the case. What will be fascinating is how the Chiefs navigate third downs — is it Edwards-Helaire or Thompson? Regardless, Thompson will get an opportunity to showcase himself as a pass-catcher and in protection. If he can show more of what he did as a runner this week, he’ll carve out a role even when Williams returns.
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