Damien Williams’ absence creates opportunity for Chiefs
Damien Williams is still sidelined by a sore hamstring. Those behind him on the depth chart are attempting to take advantage.
Williams, who comes into Kansas City Chiefs training camp as the leading man of the backfield, has sat out more than a week with a lingering hamstring ailment. In his stead, it’s largely been veteran pickup Carlos Hyde who has handled the work, giving himself the inside track to more snaps come September.
While Williams justifiably remains the starter, Hyde is showcasing more of the talent which made him an interesting piece when he played with the San Francisco 49ers. Also formerly of the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars, Hyde has shown toughness and the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, a key trait for anybody playing in Andy Reid’s offense.
With the Chiefs first preseason game on Aug. 10 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Hyde is continuing to showcase his talents, hoping to make an impression. Per NFL.com:
“Preseason, I just want to be on point,” Hyde said Saturday. “Execute my plays. Whenever Coach calls my number, you know, execute that play. Make plays for the offense. Show the coaches when it comes to game time, they can definitely count on me and show Pat (Mahomes) also that he can count on me, throwing me the ball when it comes and when it’s real.”
In 2017, Hyde caught 57 passes. If he were to have an expanded role in this scheme playing alongside MVP Patrick Mahomes, his hands would certainly be his top attribute.
Kansas City is waiting on the return of Williams, but should Hyde show well in August, it could make the backfield approach more of a tandem than a singular focus with rotating pieces. Hyde has shown flashes before, scoring 29 career touchdowns and notching 900-yard rushing seasons in 2016 and ’17 for the 49ers.
At 28 years old, Hyde signed a one-year contract with the Chiefs to boost his value moving forward. It’s a smart bet, considering the defense has to contend with receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins and tight end Travis Kelce, along with Mahomes and one of the game’s best offensive lines. In short, nobody will be keying on Hyde, potentially allowing for him to consistently have favorable matchups.
For now, the Chiefs have a little more than a month to get Williams up to full speed. Until then, Hyde has his chance to make a mark in Kansas City.