Is LeSean McCoy in the Kansas City Chiefs doghouse for now?
By Matt Conner
The Kansas City Chiefs gave LeSean McCoy only six carries in the win against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
The fall is fairly precipitous: 23 to 6.
Last week, LeSean McCoy had 23 carries in the loss to the Green Bay Packers. This week, Shady had only 6 in the team’s win over the Minnesota Vikings. It’s a single shift from game to game, so there’s a need to halt the brakes when crafting a narrative, but it’s hard to ignore the drop in carries.
To put it another way, McCoy wasn’t even second. Darrel Williams had nearly twice as many carries as McCoy with 11.
On the surface, this isn’t a big deal. The Chiefs have said all offseason that Damien was the lead dog (this was before Shady was signed, however), and the Chiefs have rolled with a sort of committee approach in the backfield to date. For the year now, McCoy has 72 carries versus Damien Williams with 60 but when you factor in his brief injury, it appears the franchise is committed to giving each an equal dose of the backfield reps.
That is, until Sunday.
There’s no way around it: Shady was buried on Sunday afternoon. It doesn’t take Encyclopedia Brown to connect the dots between the fact that McCoy received few carries in the very game after he fumbled away the ball late in the home loss to Green Bay—a play that certainly cost them a chance to win. The Chiefs didn’t help themselves in other ways there, to be sure, but turnovers are always costly and that one in particular was brutal. To refresh your memory:
Still, Reid and the most successful veteran coaches and players preach the ability to move on after mistakes. Patrick Mahomes is praised for his willingness to hurl it deep after missing on previous attempts. Certainly Shady would be given a shot to get right back up on the proverbial horse, right?
That assumption was clearly wrong.
Here’s the interesting (or frustrating or other such word depending on your angle) decision made by Andy Reid:
- Damien Williams came into the game averaging 2.08 yards/carry for the entire season.
- LeSean McCoy came into the game averaging 5.24 yards/carry for the entire season (9th in the NFL). He also happened to have fumbled the game away in Week 8.
The end result was a full workload for Damien Williams, a smaller workload for Darrel Williams and then a few scraps for Shady.
The good news in all of this is that it worked. Damien Williams rewarded the team’s belief in him (stubborn belief, perhaps) with the incredible 91-yard run. The Chiefs won. It’d be easy to look at all of this and say, “Who cares? We won.” That’s fine. If you’re disinterested, you don’t have to read. I don’t remember applying a cover charge here.
To me, however, it’s very interesting that Reid and his staff clearly chose the player who hasn’t done a single thing all season and stuck with him until, finally, in the third quarter, he made good on that belief and got unstuck—showing a bit of what endeared so many in Chiefs Kingdom to him late last season.
They chose unproductive over turnover. The unproductive became productive. Can the turnover not stop turning the ball over?
Given the way that McCoy has played at times for the Chiefs (in a positive way), here’s hoping McCoy isn’t long for the dog house. It’d be a shame if what most Chiefs fans remembered about him was an ill-timed turnover. It was frustrating to watch, to be sure, but the productivity was there, too.