With how Thompson performed on Sunday in the loss against the Chargers, could he be a weapon somewhere in the Chiefs’ future?
Hello again everyone and welcome to another week of the ArrowChop! This is the column where we look at the positives/negatives of a certain Chiefs/NFL issue and look at both sides of the aisle. Then you, the readers, will come to your conclusions after I lay out the case. So sit back, relax, and enjoy as we breakdown this week’s hot topic.
On Sunday, regular season football came to a close, and Chiefs’ fans will have to wait two weeks before they see their favorite team play again after a loss to the Chargers 38-21. That game meant absolutely nothing for the Chiefs; they already clinched the #1 seed in the AFC, the Chiefs were resting a majority of their starters (this includes Mahomes, Hill, Kelce, Mathieu, and many others), and the loss prevented them from being 15-1, which is a “cursed record” for a team to have. Even though that held, there were a good couple of standouts from the Chiefs’ second team including Darwin Thompson.
Thompson had 110 total yards (45 rushing and 65 receiving) and two touchdowns (one rushing and one receiving), and he was the Bridgestone Clutch Performer of the Game. With that said, could Thompson develop into a vital weapon for the Chiefs’ future? Let’s break down both sides of the aisle to find out:
Thompson could develop into a vital weapon
Let’s glance at the passing game for a second, which he was the most indispensable at for the Chiefs. He caught all seven targets, gained 65 yards, averaged 9.3 yards per catch, and punched it in for a touchdown (eight-yard TD from Henne). In a game where all you had to do was show out and show coaches what you could do, he ABSOLUTELY did it!
An example would be on Thompson’s 37-yard reception that turned into a touchdown drive for the Chiefs (couldn’t find a video on Twitter, so here’s the link for it). The play breaks down like your average halfback screen to the right, but then right as Thompson snags it, he burst straight through the hole, created by a poor defensive play-call, and started dashing towards the left side of the field where blocking was superb and defenders were nowhere in sight.
After 20 or so yards, he sees a defender and cuts rights as the defender is pushed in his way and after about 10 more yards, he was pushed out of bounds at the Chargers’ 19 yard-line. This showed that he has the acceleration at the second level, he thrives in the open field, he can make cuts when necessary, and that he has quick feet to make him more agile than most.
His rushing skills also have a motherload of chances to develop as well; remember that this is only his second year in the NFL. On Sunday, Thompson had 14 rushes for 45 yards and a one-yard-touchdown; it wasn’t a great day, but it was a decent one as he averaged 3.2 yards per attempt. His best run was for ten yards towards the right side of the field, which showed he could power through tacklers, and he still showed the elusiveness Chiefs’ scouts loved when they saw him at Utah State.
Thompson won’t develop into a vital weapon
This comes to terms with the amount of playing time he’ll see in the future and how it may stunt development and proof of his growth. Thompson still has to back-up Helaire and Bell, and once the season ends, Damien Williams will probably return to the team as the second-string if Bell walks.
If Bell doesn’t walk, this could be detrimental for Thompson’s chances of success and turning into a valued weapon for the Chiefs’ offense as he’ll now either be the 3rd or 4th string and, in the worst-case scenario, be demoted to the practice squad. If he doesn’t prove his worth in the playoffs (when he’s given the ball) or in next season’s training camp, this could be an unlikely future for him. I’m not saying this will happen, but there is a shot it will.
Fans on this side of the aisle also look at his ball-handling as a factor for why he won’t develop into a weapon. This is indeed true; he fumbled on Sunday, and he lost a crucial fumble in Week 3 against the Ravens (one of the last few games he played in); however, this can be fixed with the right coaching and training, so this point is mostly looked at as null. It is a true concern though that shouldn’t be looked over as if he can’t overcome his ball-handling problems, he will not turn into a weapon for the Chiefs’ roster.
The final instance fans look toward is consistency. Let’s say for example he becomes a back-up to Helaire; could he be a consistent back-up in the backfield and help Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense whenever he’s needed? Looking at past games excluding Week 17, it may not happen due to the lack of him finding rushing lanes, ball-handling, and simple mental mistakes that shouldn’t be made. These could be worked on, but running backs need to be consistent. We may have to wait until the playoffs and/or next season to see if he can be a consistent back on an NFL field.
Do you think Thompson will turn out to be a vital weapon for the Chiefs’ future? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion. Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic day!