Chiefs’ next man up: Charcandrick West


The Kansas City Chiefs may boast the best group of starters at running back, in the NFL, since the turn of the century. Think it about it for a moment. The year 2000 was uneventful in the Chiefs’ backfield, but Priest Holmes showed up with Dick Vermeil the following season. Holmes was followed by Larry Johnson, who was eventually succeeded by Jamaal Charles. The eighth-year man out of the University of Texas began the year as the incumbent starter, but was felled by yet another ACL tear against the Chicago Bears. The latest flashpoint in the trajectory of uber-talented Kansas City half backs comes in the form of an undrafted free agent who the team originally cut in his rookie season.

Charcandrick West recently burst onto the scene as a more-than-competent replacement for Charles in what appeared to be a lost season. Even at 1-5, those are big shoes to fill — being a one year successor to a four-time Pro Bowler. Not only has West done it, he’s made noise in the process. Since he’s taken over as the starter, he’s amassed 309 rushing yards, 142 receiving yards, and four touchdowns. He’s also given the Chiefs a lift in the big play department. Going back to Week 6, West has four plays from scrimmage of at least 25 yards.

Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

In Sunday’s win over the Denver Broncos, Charcandrick West provided the lone spark to head coach Andy Reid’s offense. No other offensive player made a significant contribution. West had a modest day on the ground, but had an 80-yard catch and run to open up the Chiefs’ biggest lead of the day (29-0). In fact, during the team’s three-game win streak, West has been the heart and soul of Reid’s West Coast system.

The most reasonable pundits and fans among us expected the loss of Charles to deal a significant blow to Kansas City’s offensive efforts. Luckily for the Chiefs, general manager John Dorsey is one of the best in the business at identifying talent outside of the NFL Draft. I’m not even sure I saw it coming, if I’m being honest. Knile Davis appeared to be next in line at the position.

Somehow, West leapfrogged Davis on the depth chart and became the new starter at running back. I still believe Davis can be a productive back in this league, but he has an entirely different skill set than Charles. Davis is more of a north-south runner who needs solid line play to succeed. West is of Charles’ ilk. He’s shifty, explosive, and has the ability to stick his foot in the ground and change direction on a dime.

Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Things are headed in the right direction for the Kansas City Chiefs. I’m still not ready to talk about the postseason or even turning the season around at this point. Until the team gets back to .500, that’s little more than wishful thinking in my mind. It is heartening that the team has scored 97 points over the past three weeks. West has been a big part of that offensive resurgence. If Kansas City has hope of continuing their streak, they’ll need West to stay hot.

Has Knile Davis permanently fallen on the depth chart? With West sitting at 357 rushing yards nine games in, does he have a realistic shot at posting a 1,000-yard season? Will opposing teams catch up to West as the year wears on? Use the comment section below to weigh in. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.

Until next time, Addicts!