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Fixing the Running Back Problem

What can realistically be done to fix the running back room?

Derek Dietz     @OriginalMrDietz

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Kansas City, we may have a problem.  After two preseason games against what can be assumed will be two of the worst teams in the NFL, the Chief running backs have mustered 45 total yards of Rushing Attack.  Granted, this is the preseason, and perhaps Andy & Co want to see more passing from the likes of Shane Buchele and Dustin Crum.  If you toss out the QB scrambles of Buchele & Crum, the run game is sad.  

Thru these two games, CEH has 4 carries for 10 yards.  Pacheco is 6 for 14 yards.  Gore is 7 carries for 9 yards and a lost fumble.  Ronald Jones has 4 carries for 1 yard.  McKinnon has not had a carry thru 2 games, and Mike Burton has 2 carries for 6 yards.  Tayon Fleet-Davis showed some signs of life against the Commanders, but his 2-game tally is 7 carries for 5 yards and a TD.  

Where do the Chiefs go from here? 

Clyde Edwards-Helaire can be counted on for 500-800 yards rushing.  It is worth noting, he has missed 10 games over the last two seasons, but that is how things go with RBs in the modern NFL.  

McKinnon- his best season ever was in 2017 where he rushed for 570 yards and had another 420 as a receiver while with the Vikings.  Ronald Jones, if he makes the roster, showed flashes of potential in Tampa, but could not beat out Leonard Fournette, and the Bucs let him walk. 

Isaiah Pacheco is an unknown, but he is the 2022 Camp Darling at this point, and all but assured of making the roster.  He was not super productive at Rutgers, his rushing average per play went down from a 5.0 avg to 3.9 avg from 2018-2021.  There could be a million reasons for this- Rutgers poor O-Line, Play Calling, or Defenses making a pointed attempt to shut him down. 

Derrick Gore showed potential as a rookie in 2021 with 51 attempts and 256 yards, plus another 8 catches for 105 yards, but you must remember a good chunk of this yardage came against the Steelers in week 15.  Tayon Fleet-Davis might be the hidden gem of the bunch. At Maryland in 2021, he had 128 carries for 731 yards, and tacked on another 32 catches for 305 yards while showing a nose for the end zone.  

Free Agency? 

As far as free agent RB’s available at this moment, Tarik Cohen, who played for the Bears could be a decent fit.  Matt Nagy should have a good feel for his game.  I used him a lot in fantasy football, and he tended to be a boom or bust type of player.  Chris Carson, formerly of the Seahawks is also available.  Our old friend Carlos Hyde is also unemployed & available, and he at least knows the system.   

Potential Cuts/Low Risk Trades? 

Rumors that Zack Moss could be let go from Buffalo.  Also, the Raiders may let go of Kenyan Drake.  These moves are both speculative, and there are 30 other teams that Veach will be scouting for someone hiding out on the practice squad that could be an option.  

After 2 pre-season games, here is how I see the RB room shaping up:  

RB1- CEH, RB2- McKinnon, RB3- Pacheco, RB4- Fleet-Davis.  Add in Burton at Fullback and there you have it.  Certainly not the strong point of this team, but Andy will find ways to make the most of their talents, and obviously use the short passing game as an extension of the running game.  Mecole Hardman and Skyy Moore will also be leaned upon to provide a handful of rushes on reverses and gadget plays, so that will help lessen the load.  



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