Andy Reid has created varying degrees of success with running backs over his 20 seasons in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. Over the past few years, Reid has solely relied on ex-Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt to carry the workload as the featured back in his West Coast offense.
Since Hunt’s release last December, Reid has relied on Damien Williams to carry the workload in the offense. Entering the 2019 season, Reid won’t put all the pressure on Williams in the Chiefs’ rushing attack. Reid admitted he’ll go to a running back-by-committee approach with Williams, Carlos Hype, Darrel Williams and rookie Damien Thompson.
The approach is different for Reid, but far from unfamiliar.
“I did a little bit of that back when I was in Philadelphia,” Reid said to Sirius XM NFL Radio on Thursday. “Kind of a running back by committee deal and we had some success with it. We’ll do that here… They all have their strengths and we’ll try to exploit their strengths there.”
Reid had the same situation during the 2003 season with the Philadelphia Eagles, using the “three-headed monster” running back-by-committee approach with Duce Staley, Brian Westbrook, and Correll Buckhalter. Westbrook was the driving force behind the Eagles season, combining for 945 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns (613 rushing, 332 receiving). The Eagles offense was led by the “three-headed monster” as Staley had 845 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns while Buckhalter had 675 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns.
The “three-headed monster” led the Eagles from the doldrums of a 2-3 start to a franchise-record nine-game winning streak as they won their third consecutive NFC East title and clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. Staley would go on to leave in free agency after that 2003 season, leaving Buckhalter as the No. 2 running back to Westbrook for the next several years. Westbrook would go on to have two 1,000-yard seasons, two Pro Bowl selections, and a First-Team All-Pro selection in 2007.
Reid has gone with a featured back in the majority of his NFL career, starting with Staley (two 1,000-yard seasons under Reid), Westbrook, Eagles’ all-time leading rusher LeSean McCoy (two 1,000-yard seasons with Reid) with the Eagles. Jamaal Charles (two 1,000-yard seasons under Reid) and Hunt (league leader with 1,327 rushing yards in 2017) were Reid’s featured backs in Kansas City.
Reid abandoning his featured back formula is rare in his 20-year coaching career, but he’s had success with the running back-by-committee in the past. Reid used the running back-by-committee in 2015 with Charles, Charcandrick West, and Spencer Ware and won 10 in a row, including the AFC Wild Card Playoff game over the Houston Texans. Both seasons the running back-by-committee was prevalent under Reid, his teams won a playoff game.
Williams’ fantasy stock has taken a hit due to his lingering hamstring issue and Reid’s comments. CBS Fantasy Senior Editor
The committee approach may get Reid his coveted Super Bowl, which has worked for former assistant Doug Pederson with the Eagles. Why not give it another shot in a league where the running back position is devalued by the year?