The importance of gaining chemistry with the new-look offensive line has been of the utmost importance over the last several months for those who stand in the backfield for the Kansas City Chiefs. The quarterbacks and most of the running backs have gotten a chance to do so, but apparently, there’s one player that fell behind due to undergoing surgery this offseason — second-year back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Offseason Surgery…Say What?
Up until Tuesday, very few people were aware that Edwards-Helaire went under the knife this offseason, as Edwards-Helaire explained during an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio. But what was the surgery for?
Edwards-Helaire said it was for his gallbladder.
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“I wasn’t able to do a lot in the spring. I had a gallbladder surgery,” Edwards-Helaire explained, as transcribed by The Kansas City Star. “A lot of people didn’t know about that. So (the offensive line) would really get that timing down early in the spring.
“But then in (training) camp the first two, three practices we were like, ‘OK this is the way we’re going to move the ball, this is the way we’re gonna run.’”
Edwards-Helaire did not explain the specifics of the surgery or how long it took him to recover from the surgery, The Kansas City Star explained.
With that, the LSU product explained that the beginning of training camp this summer was used to understand the way the blockers in front of him go about their business, and them learning about his run style.
“With camp, the biggest thing is timing, and having a completely revamped offensive line and just really having them learning the way that I run and then learning the way that they block,” he said, via The KC Star. “Everything is kind of like a puzzle.”
One of the reasons it has been so important that the first-team offensive line get reps together during the preseason is because of communication. Getting those reps in with quarterback Patrick Mahomes is extremely important, but it’s just as important to do so with the starting running back.
“We can go out there and perform, just the things that we need to do and we see the X’s and O’s on paper,” Edwards-Helaire said, per The KC Star, “but actually getting out there running and then we talk about it afterwards so we can know each person’s thought processes in the whole offense.”
Edwards-Helaire on Verge of Breakout Year
Edwards-Helaire’s rookie season wasn’t quite as expected. Many thought he would burst onto the scene as one of the top running backs in the NFL, but that didn’t happen. After the 2020 season-opener against the Houston Texans in which he tallied 138 yards on the ground, Edwards-Helaire only recorded one other game in which he ran for over 100 rushing yards (161 against the Buffalo Bills in Week 6). He finished the season with 803 rushing yards, 297 receiving yards, and five total touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving), according to Pro Sports Reference.
There’s plenty of reason to believe that a rough start to Edwards-Helaire’s career had to do with the offensive line’s situation last year, which is why the Chiefs this offseason signed guard Joe Thuney to a massive five-year, $80 million deal, traded for tackle Orlando Brown Jr., and have three rookies — center Creed Humphrey, guard Trey Smith, and 2020 rookie opt-out Lucas Niang — in line to be Week 1 starters.
With a seemingly better offensive line in front of him for the 2021 season, this could be the year that Edwards-Helaire breaks out and shows everyone why the Chiefs took him with the 32nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. And if that happens, Kansas City’s offense will somehow become even more dangerous than it was last season, which is a scary thought for the other 31 teams in the NFL.
Follow Devon Clements on Twitter @DevClemNFL for more news and info regarding the Kansas City Chiefs.