Will the Chiefs make a true effort this season to keep the ball on the ground more this season and let that young offensive line flourish in what they do best?
After going offensive line heavy in last year’s draft, many expected the Chiefs to run the ball more, even though they still have a sensational QB at the helm of the offense. Last season the Chiefs were still stingy and still wanted to attack opposing defenses with what they do best even though many changed up the scheme and worked well at the beginning of the year. As the season progressed, you saw KC looking more balanced and taking their time driving down the field to put points on the board. In the playoffs, the Chiefs eventually went to what they know best and went back in the air winning two playoff games before being bounced by Joe Burrow and the Bengals at Arrowhead in the AFC Conference Championship game. After acquiring Ronald Jones aka Rojo this off-season and bringing back Jerick McKinnon to pair up with CEH and Rojo, I think it is safe to say the Chiefs would like their backfield to be more active this upcoming season.
Ronald Jones had his best year in 2020 recording 978 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns beating KC that year in the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sharing the backfield with Leonard Fournette resulted in him not being the RB1 and being able to see the full potential he has to offer. Although he has a fumble history, he is a back that is physical, elusive, and has a breakaway speed at the size he is at. What makes it even more perfect of a fit for the new Chiefs RB, he can catch out the backfield and be as effective in the air as opposed to on the ground rushing. Pairing him with Mahomes will be a perfect fit and someone reliable who can get those tough yards to extend drives for this KC offense.
Many fans are excited to see Jerick McKinnon back with the Chiefs. Even though we did not get much of him in the regular season, he did show up in the playoffs, resulting in him landing back in KC this off-season. McKinnon has an injury history which we all are aware of, however, this is a low-risk high reward for this offense. This offense can function without his presence, but with him, on the field, they are far more explosive and the toughness for his size creates a lot of energy for his teammates. McKinnon has never been the guy you floss over his stats, but his impact on a game and his elusiveness opens up the entire offense and gives you a home run hitter in the backfield that KC will need this season.
The Chiefs will be more effective on the ground this year. I believe the coaches know that this offense will have to minimize the passing game and let those guys in the backfield be more proactive this upcoming season. Making the additions that they did this off-season shows that they want to run the ball more and give Mahomes some relief to where he does not have to force a play every down. The Chiefs will still be a pass-first offense, but I would not be surprised to see a 1000-yard rusher for KC this year and I am sure they would like the offensive line to be nastier and pound those big defensive linemen up front. Will this make the offense better? Absolutely. Will it be as exciting as last year? Probably not, but it will be more efficient and make the Chiefs keep the Chiefs as the top contender in the AFC again.