Chiefs Coach Provides Update on Starting Running Back Role

Damien Williams Chiefs

Getty Images Will the Chiefs name their starting running prior to training camp?

Training camp battles for the Kansas City Chiefs might look a little different this year. With the possibility of returning up to 90 percent of its starters from a season ago, the defending Super Bowl champions may not have as many “upsets” on their Week 1 depth chart.

Among the most closely-watched positional battles will be at running back, where first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire is expected to compete with incumbent starter and Super Bowl standout Damien Williams for the featured role.

While the seventh-year veteran remains the favored option ahead of training camp, the Kansas City coaching staff is going to let the competition play out naturally, rather than name a starter early on in the process as they did in 2019.

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McCullough Declares Open RB Competition

During a video call with reporters last week, Chiefs running backs coach Deland McCullough made it clear that the competition in the backfield is very much up for grabs.

“How it all shakes out ultimately, we going to let that thing that play out on the football field,” McCullough added. “That’s the beauty of our game. We get a chance to go out and let’s see what’s what. The whole room knows that and these guys are looking forward to it. They get along well, very competitive. However, very supportive also. And they know at the end of the day, what they do is going to speak to where their role is when the season gets started. So, I’m looking forward to that.”

Even with last year’s starter LeSean McCoy having departed, McCullough voiced confidence in his returning players and the improved state of the running backs room as a whole.

“You want to get all these guys out there, you want to get going and see what we got,” said McCullough. “One thing we know is — just looking at some guys’ pasts and the snapshots we got of guys — whether it be DeAndre Washington, obviously with Darrel and Damien, and Darwin with us. And then you look at where we draft Clyde and what his body of work was in college, you know that we’ve got some high-end players in our room. I know with the guys that are returning — some guys that we feel comfortable with. But again, you always want to continue to enhance the room and create competition and just raise the level of the room, and I think that’s what we have.”

Pro Football Focus Projects Rookie Starter

In a recent article attempting to predict the starting lineups for all 32 teams in 2020, Pro Football Focus kept things pretty straightforward for the Chiefs on offense ⁠— with the exception of the starting running back.

The renowned football analytics site believes it will be Edwards-Helaire, not Williams, who draws the featured role in Andy Reid’s offense to start the season. While Reid has not historically rushed young backs into the mix, McCullough told reporters that despite the virtual offseason, the rookie runner “has not disappointed at all” thus far.

Here is how PFF sees the rest of the starters on offense shaking out:

  • QB: Patrick Mahomes
  • RB: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
  • WR: Tyreek Hill
  • WR: Sammy Watkins
  • WR: Mecole Hardman
  • TE: Travis Kelce
  • LT: Eric Fisher
  • LG: Andrew Wylie
  • C: Austin Reiter
  • RG: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
  • RT: Mitchell Schwartz

  • Chiefs’ Projected 2020 Starting Lineups Released
  • Chiefs Rookie RB Draws Impressive Comparison to 3-Time Pro Bowler
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