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Eric Bieniemy on Isiah Pacheco: ‘He has to continue to evolve’

Kansas City’s offensive coordinator spoke about what he wants to see from his rookie running back.

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs’ offense continues to roll coming off their big 30-27 Sunday Night Football win against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 11.

Many things are going right for Kansas City’s offense — but in recent games, a key factor in its effectiveness has been the improvement in the team’s running game. On Sunday, running back Isiah Pacheco spearheaded the ground attack, finishing the game with 107 yards on 15 carries.

On Tuuesday, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy spoke about what he has seen from Pacheco on film.

“I thought he did a great job of allowing the game to come to him,” Bieniemy told reporters. “He was patient. He’s just one of those guys — early on, he’s not as patient because he just wants to take the ball and go run into something — but you love that about the kid. I thought as the game went along, I thought he got in a rhythm.”

Asked on Wednesday, head coach Andy Reid agrees with his coordinator’s assessment.

“I thought more this last game [against the Chargers],” he said of the running back’s patience. “Yeah, I thought he really handled himself well — and it did show that, for sure.”

Pacheco has come a long way from the beginning of the season. After serving as the team’s third-string running back, he was named the starter in Week 7. Since then, he’s seen a steady rise in both rushing yards and carries — culminating on Sunday with his first career 100-yard game. It was also the first 100-yard game for a Kansas City running back since Week 4 of last season.

Bieniemy says he’s going to emphasize to his seventh-round rookie running back that it takes more than just a few good games to truly make an impact in the NFL — but he knows running backs coach Greg Lewis will be able to help him.

“You know one thing that I’m going to mention to him — and I’ll say it here: anybody can do something once,” Bieniemy noted. “It’s about putting consistent behavior on tape.

“And so we’re going to need that from him. So he has to continue to evolve [and] he has to continue to grow. But on top of that, I know Lew is going to do an outstanding job with him — as he has always done with that entire group. [But] we’re expecting him to continue to be Isiah Pacheco.”

One of the reasons behind Pacheco’s increased workload during Sunday’s game was the injury to fellow running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who suffered a high ankle sprain that forced him from the game. With Edwards-Helaire out for the foreseeable future (he was placed on the team’s injured reserve list on Wednesday), it’s likely that Kansas City will turn to veteran running back Ronald Jones — who has yet to see a snap this season – for depth at the position.

Bieniemy praises Jones for staying ready — and if he does play in Sunday’s home matchup with the Los Angeles Rams, the coordinator has full confidence in the veteran back.

“Obviously, we’re expecting RoJo to come out and be RoJo — the very best of him,” said Bieniemy. “He’s done a heck of a job this entire season — just working hard and being the best of his very self. He doesn’t take anything for granted. He does a great job in the classroom with Lew and those guys.

“On top of that, he does a great job of supporting his teammates, so I’m expecting RoJo — if he’s up and playing — will come in and do what is expected of him.”

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