On the Wednesday mailbag edition of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory, we were asked if this weekend’s Super Bowl is a game in which we see rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire unleashed in the passing game.
It’s been an underwhelming first season for the talented first-round pick in the passing game — a trait that made him extremely interesting when the Chiefs selected him with the last pick of day one of the 2020 NFL Draft. He came into the league with a diverse route tree for a running back and was one of the best route runners for the position we’ve seen in recent memory coming out.
Edwards-Helaire got 70 receiving yards on five catches against Baltimore in Week 3 of the season and then didn’t break 50 yards again until Week 14 against the Dolphins. That game in Miami seemed like it was soon to be part of the norm for Edwards-Helaire. Then he got hurt.
It could be that the Chiefs had some plans to utilize him more in the passing game — especially against man coverage, where Andy Reid has a great package of man-beaters for his running backs. If the Buccaneers are going to try and take away Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce with extra attention in man, then a guy like Edwards-Helaire could be extremely valuable in the passing game. They can spring him free with rub concepts out of the backfield — and he’s more than capable of winning a one-on-one matchup against a linebacker.
If Tampa wants to keep a lid on the offense and get depth with their back seven in zone coverage, that could provide Edwards-Helaire space if Patrick Mahomes wants to check down to him. There are paths to him finding some opportunity in the passing game — it remains to be seen if the Chiefs will unleash a skill set that made him so intriguing coming out of the draft. This would be the perfect time to do it — any questions about the pick would be quieted if the full reveal of his talent was on display in the biggest game of the year.
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