Through the first nine weeks of the 2021 season, the Kansas City Chiefs have struggled to find their way forward.
The Chiefs are currently riding a two-game winning streak, but it hasn’t come in encouraging fashion. The team narrowly edged out the New York Giants, followed by squeezing past the Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers.
Chiefs could get a boost in the running game with the return of Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Kansas City hasn’t showcased enough to warrant the expectation of another deep playoff run toward a third straight Super Bowl appearance. However, the team is getting some much-needed help to aid that effort and make a strong push in the second half of the regular season.
The Chiefs have reportedly designated second-year running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire off the injured reserve. The LSU product participated in practice on Wednesday, marking his first on-field action since suffering an ACL sprain in the loss to the Buffalo Bills on October 10.
Kansas City has the next three weeks to place him back on the active roster, which his return to practice is an extremely positive sign. The team has struggled to find any consistency in the running game this year, contributing to the Chiefs’ offensive shortcomings in recent weeks.
Edwards-Helaire was off to a sluggish start to begin the campaign, with back-to-back games posting less than 50 rushing yards. However, he notched back-to-back 100 rushing yard outings before he was injured against the Bills.
In five games, he’s posted 304 rushing yards for 4.7 yards per carry. His presence will be a much-needed factor in helping the Chiefs get through the current rough stretch. The Chiefs have had issues finding their footing, as star quarterback Patrick Mahomes has uncharacteristically struggled to produce while turning the ball over at a career-worst pace.
Mahomes has thrown 10 interceptions, which is second-most among starting quarterbacks, and is on pace for a career-worst 18 picks. Edwards-Heliare’s return brings back a security blanket for the Chiefs to depend on while providing offensive balance.
In his brief NFL career, the 22-year-old has demonstrated big-play ability. However, it’s been his struggles to stay healthy that have prevented him from being a bigger offensive factor. If he’s unable to give it a go for Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders, expect the Chiefs to turn to Derrick Gore and Darrel Williams to handle the backfield workload.
Williams will likely assume the starting role as he’s coming off posting 70 rushing yards on 19 carries in the win over the Packers.