ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The notion the Chiefs may use a running back by committee approach this season continues gathering steam, but don't expect that possibility to dislodge Damien Williams as the leader of the pack.
Both head coach Andy Reid and running backs coach Deland McCullough made it clear this week the team remains committed to Williams as their primary back.
“If we do it by committee, we do it by committee,” Reid told Sports Radio 810 WHB on Monday. “But he's the starting guy, and we'll just play it by ear and see how it goes. He brings the ability to do the whole thing and the whole package.”
McCullough said he looks at the committee as the team having “a committee of guys that can play,” but Williams remains the first back in any rotation.
“Damien's going to go out there, he's the lead guy, he's going to go out there and play,” McCullough said. “He'll be supplemented by the other guys of course, but Damien is the starter.”
A hamstring injury suffered on the second day of camp slowed Williams early on, and he sat out Saturday's preseason opener. But McCullough said Williams returned to practice showing no ill effects from the layoff.
“When he was out, he was very involved mentally in what was going on,” McCullough said. “He came in and pretty much kept moving forward. A couple of nicks here and there but again, I feel real good about where he is physically.”
The Chiefs have a crowded running back stable behind Williams, including veteran Carlos Hyde and second-year back Darrel Williams, who shared first-team duties with Damien Williams out. Rookie Darwin Thompson continues picking up a larger work load, and the team recently moved Tremon Smith to the backfield from cornerback. Rookie free agent Marcus Marshall rounds out the group.
But McCullough sees Damien Williams as the team's primary “do-it-all” back who has taken big strides since first season in Kansas City in terms of understanding the playbook and focusing on the details of the position.
“Definitely, in an impressive way, he’s come along mentally,” McCullough said.