Whenever the Kansas City Chiefs are able to begin training camp, Chiefs Running Backs Coach Deland McCullough will have his hands full.
The Chiefs are slated to head into training camp with three of the five tailbacks who contributed last season. On top of that, the organization added free agent DeAndre Washington and first-round pick Clyde Edward-Helaire this offseason.
McCullough discussed the depth of his running back room and the contest that could ensue once the Chiefs take the field for the first time this offseason during a virtual press conference on Thursday.
“You want to get all these guys out there, you want to get going and see what we got,” McCullough said. “One thing we know is, just looking at some guys’ pasts and snapshots we’ve got of guys, whether it be DeAndre Washington, obviously with Darrel (Williams) and Damien (Williams) and Darwin (Thompson) with us. And then you look at where we drafted Clyde and what his body of work was in college, you know we have some high-end players in that room.”
The Chiefs ran with a running back by committee through most of last season, operating with Damien Williams, Darrel Williams, LeSean McCoy, Spencer Ware and Darwin Thompson.
Damien Williams was the starter through most of the year, but missed five games due to a shoulder injury. He led the Chiefs with for 498 rushing yards in the regular season and recorded six touchdowns in the postseason.
McCullough said Williams’ best statistical season since entering the NFL in 2014 shows a sign of maturation.
“One thing is looking at Damien’s past, I think since coming to the Chiefs, we’ve gotten a whole lot out of him,” McCullough said. “He’s been able to show not only us, but whoever looked at him previously that he’s a higher-end player. Consistency is something he wants to continue to work on. But I think when he shined, he shined at a level to help us get over a hump in a few games, and obviously helped win the Super Bowl.”
Williams will likely battle with Edwards-Helaire for the starting position in 2020. Darrel Williams, DeAndre Washington and Darwin Thompson, on the other hand, will compete for a spot on the Chiefs’ roster.
Each has individual characteristics, but McCullough said the goal is to work towards making each of his running backs well-rounded.
“Everybody in this offense, all the halfbacks need to be able to do everything,” McCullough said. “They need to be able to do everything, and then we’ll let everything sort itself out from there... So, again, a room full of great competitors, a bunch of great players, guys that can do a bunch of things. And the beauty of this is when we’re able to get back on the field, we’re going to be able to start sorting out where guys fall, but in the meantime, every man in that room is preparing to do everything.”