In 2017 Kareem Hunt made his Kansas City Chiefs debut and proceeded to go off for 246 yards and three touchdowns. The Chiefs are debuting a new running back in 2020 in Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and are hoping for some similar fire works.
While that Kareem Hunt game is going to be extremely difficult to replicate, obviously, Edwards-Helaire should be tuned up for a good game. The Chiefs drafted him to be the guy and used a first round pick on him. His initial role was in question with Damien Williams still on the roster, but once Williams opted out due to Covid, there was no question. The talent is there. Edwards-Helaire was a part of a loaded LSU team while in college. That team produced the number one overall pick in Joe Burrow who destroyed records as the Tigers starting quarterback. Even with Burrow’s talent and accolades, Edwards-Helaire was named team MVP. Andy Reid also went as far to say that he was better than Brian Westbrook.
If you remember, Westbrook was the do-it-all RB with the Eagles when Reid was the head coach there. He has a similar skillset to Edwards-Helaire. They are both good runners, but excellent pass catchers out of the backfield. What separates the two is Edwards-Helaire’s ability to make people miss. He led all of college football in broken tackles. He may be undersized, but he is a great in-between the tackles runner. He wins every one-on-one matchup he has, whether it is in the hole or in open space. He just is hard to tackle.
Reid has long been known as a coach that is able to put his running backs in situations to succeed. The Chiefs OC, Eric Bienemy, used to be a running back. The two of them are going to maximize CEH’s skills and it is going to be fun to watch. The way the Chief’s offense is so wide open with vertical threats all over the field, CEH should face a lot of light boxes in the run game and a lot of one-on-one matchups against linebackers and safeties in the pass game. He is talented enough to win these matchups. The Texans linebacker Zach Cunningham is likely the LB to be the one expected to cover CEH and while he is a very good defender, he is over matched vs CEH.
The one thing that may hurt CEH’s stats is the fact the Chiefs will play Darrel Williams still. I think people forget how much he was actually playing before he was injured last year. Not only did he play, he was effective. He has solid hands and is a good pass blocker. He will eat away at a few of the touches that CEH would normally get. Which is fine. You want a fresh CEH as much as possible, especially during the Super Bowl stretch.
Giving a stab at his numbers vs the Texans:
15 carries 87 yards 1 touchdown
5 catches 63 yards 1 touchdown
20 touches for 150 total yards and 2 touchdowns for the rookie would be an extremely productive night. I expect the Chiefs to win tonight and I expect CEH to big a part of the game plan in doing so.