After trading star wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, the Chiefs’ offense will look different next season, let’s break down what the run game will look like.
Brett Veach made it a point to go out and find big physical receivers in the free agency period of the offseason. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling will be tasked with filling the void that Hill left. Kansas City also went out and found themselves another running mate for Clyde Edwards-Helaire when they signed former Super Bowl Champion Ronald Jones II.
Jones rushed for 2,174 yards and 18 touchdowns and had 76 catches for 571 yards and one touchdown through the air In his rookie season, he wasn’t in the backfield much and was primarily featured on special teams. Over the next three seasons, Jones would play less than 50% of snaps while sharing the role with feature-backs Peyton Barber and Leonard Fournette getting a majority of the snaps. Although he wasn’t on the field taking lead back snaps he still was able to make his mark on the field. However, when Tampa Bay signed Fournette it seemed likely that his role would only continue to diminish as Fournette looked to get his legs back under him after being released by Jacksonville. So after the 2021 season, Ronald Jones was expendable for the Bucs and Jones chose to come to the Chiefs.
Kansas City has been seeking a true three-down back for a number of seasons following the departures of Kareem Hunt and Damien Williams. So in 2020, the Chiefs drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire out of LSU, who seemed to be the missing piece of the offense. Following their pick, the next running backs off the board were De’Andre Swift, Jonathan Taylor, Cam Akers, J. K. Dobbins, A.J. Dillon, and Antonio Gibson.
Edwards-Helaire hasn’t been the worst running back in his time in Kansas City. However, Chiefs fans can look and wonder how they missed out on a guy like Jonathan Taylor and imagine what he could’ve been in the Chiefs offense. The main problem with Edwards-Helaire up until this point has been the injury concerns and his lack of consistency. Kansas City has brought in Darrel Williams, Le’Veon Bell, and Jerick McKinnon to try and pair with Edwards-Helaire. However, the run game has stayed a consistent issue even with the additions along the offensive line.
Ronald Jones should come in and be able to make an impact right away in the running game. He will be able to be used in early down scenarios while Edwards-Helaire can be saved for third down and passing down options. Jones is a tough runner who has shown off his explosive second step in his time with Tampa Bay. He has a chance to take over the backfield in Kansas City and if something were to happen to Edwards-Helaire he will be ready to step in. It’s going to be exciting to see what the new Chiefs offense will achieve this season as they begin another quest for a Lombardi.