If you’re looking for a “lead back” to emerge in the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense, you shouldnt hold your breath.
So far, starting running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has led the way, leading Kansas City running backs in virtually every category — rushing attempts, yards, touchdowns and receptions. But through five games, every Chiefs running back has had an opportunity to shine.
Take Jerick McKinnon, for example. He logged just two carries in the Chiefs’ 41-31 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4. But on Monday against the Las Vegas Raiders, McKinnon proved to be a spark plug for the Kansas City offense, running for 53 yards on eight attempts. It is as clear as it can be: anyone in the running back room should stay ready for their number to be called.
“Oh yeah. I thought Jerick did a great job of just setting it off,” Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy told reporters on Thursday. “That 30-yard run or so that he had earlier? That set the tone. That set the tempo [and] picked our guys up. It was the spark that we needed.”
McKinnon isn’t the only one who stands to benefit from the team’s opportunistic approach to the team’s running game. Isiah Pacheco — whom the Chiefs selected in the seventh round of the NFL Draft in April — logged a career-high 63 yards rushing against Tampa Bay. One week before, he rushed for just nine yards on three attempts during the game against the Indianapolis Colts. One week later, he had just two snaps as the Chiefs hosted the Raiders.
“It’s always good when you have a good group of football players that love and respect each other,” Bieniemy explained, “because they understand ‘Hey, he just made a play.’ Let’s keep riding with him and see exactly what unfolds.”
Needless to say, what you see one week isn’t indicative of what you’ll see the next. Which back will lead Kansas City when the team hosts the Bullafo Bills on Sunday? We don't know. And it might be that until all of their running backs have had a turn against the Bills, the Chiefs won’t know, either.