The Kansas City Chiefs’ running-back-by-committee carousel continues to spin.
“From a playing standpoint, really, there’s nothing that he can’t do,” head coach Andy Reid said of his Swiss Army tailback on Monday.
Kansas City clinched an eighth straight season with 10 more wins or more with the roller coaster win in Mile High.
“He’s like a dinosaur at that position,” said Reid. “You’re playing nine years in the National Football League. As a running back, those are dog years.”
Reid said that Pacheco is also making significant contributions off the field.
“The last couple of years here with us,” said the head coach, “he’s come out in a very positive way and shape for our team… I think if you talk to the players, they’ll talk about the leadership, how much they appreciate him.”
With early-season starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire now on the team’s injured reserve list, McKinnon and seventh-round rookie Isiah Pacheco have formed a formidable one-two punch, accounting for 612 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns over the last four games.
“As a running back group,” running backs coach Greg Lewis observed on Thursday, “our job is to be able to run and to be able to catch. I think all the guys that are involved in this running back room can do that. It’s just who’s number is getting called — and when — and taking advantage of those opportunities when they do.
“And for the most part, these past few weeks, McKinnon and [Pacheco] have had opportunities to get in there and do their thing — and they’ve taken advantage of those opportunities.”
Offseason addition Ronald Jones — who was inactive for every game through Week 11 — has recently seen small spurts of play, but remains mostly a relief option. In late November, Kansas City also signed veteran tailback Melvin Gordon to the practice squad. So far, he has not been active in a game.
“Each guy presents something different,” offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said on Thursday. “Obviously, Pacheco [is] more of a physical type [of] runner. Jerick is more of a jack-of-all-trades. And those guys are doing a hell of a job... They also understand [that] when they’re in there, they have to make the very most of that opportunity”