Andy Reid Explains Clyde Edwards-Helaire's Heavy Usage in Win Over Houston Texans

Joe Andrews

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid had a number of reasons for his heavy usage of rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in last Thursday's 34-20 win over the Houston Texans. 

The Chiefs ran the ball on 34 occasions, two more times than quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw the ball. Edwards-Helaire accounted for 25 rushing attempts, recording 138 yards and a touchdown. 

“We wanted to kind of get the run game going, is what we wanted to do," Reid said. "Especially with a younger back, I think that was important to get him used to the speed of the game. But at the same time, you want production. You’re striving to put points on the board. So, a little bit of everything there that you mentioned — yeah, part of it was we got in there and it was working so we stuck to it. On the other hand, it was also good to get our young back some carries and experience, which I thought was important."

Edwards-Helaire ran the ball on 36% of Chiefs’ plays against the Texans. With the addition of ground yardage by running back Darrel Williams, wide receiver Sammy Watkins and fullback Anthony Sherman, the Chiefs kept it on the ground more than they aired it out, an uncommon occurrence for a Reid offense.

Reid’s said his playcalling still gave plenty of chances for Mahomes and his receivers. The Texans prevented the long-ball, but the Chiefs spread the ball around between Watkins, tight end Travis Kelce, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, Williams, and wide receiver Mecole Hardman. The group caught 75% of Mahomes' passes. 

“That’s what you do as a head coach," Reid said. "You’re trying to manage the whole thing. So, we felt like we were still able to get people touches on the ball, or at least opportunities on the ball, and that’s important for everybody. It’s important for the team and it’s important for success on offense. And at the same time, we were able to get our young guys involved, really on both sides of the ball, which I thought was important.”

Since completing the game Thursday night, Edwards-Helaire’s focus has shifted to recovering from his first NFL game.

Reid said introducing Edwards-Helaire to the recovery process early is a small portion of why he focussed so much on establishing the run in week 1.

“Clyde got some carries, there are a whole lot of things that go into that,” Reid said. “How are you going to recover for the next week? There’s a way of doing that in the National Football League to get yourself right for a Wednesday practice. How do you manage yourself up to that point and get yourself ready throughout the week for the game? So, all of these things he has to learn as he goes forward here.”

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