No one, as it turns out, will replace Richie James—at least not a single person. When it comes to filling the role as primary returner for the Chiefs in James's absence due to injury, the Kansas City Chiefs have decided to start with a committee-based approach that will likely rotate in several guys with varying degrees of experience.
On Thursday, Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub spoke with the media and immediately answered questions about what his unit would do in the wake of James's injury. Toub agreed with reporters that a committee approach would be used and proceeded to name several players who could take part.
"I’ve got a lot of guys obviously. I’ve got a lot of options. You know, [Kadarius] Toney, obviously, Skyy [Moore], [Justin] Watson. [Rashee] Rice has done it. We’ll put him in there. Questionable. All those guys could do it. We’ll see how it works out."
The Chiefs are going to go with a rotation of players filling in for Richie James at returner this week.
Given that Toney was the first player mentioned, it makes sense that the Chiefs might lean on him early to start the game in that role when they take the field on Sunday against the Chicago Bears. The Chiefs host the Bears in Week 3 in what should be a get-right game. Rice also came with an "questionable" aside so perhaps he's the last on the list of desired candidates there.
James signed with the Chiefs this offseason on a one-year deal that made him the odds-on favorite to win the returner job after a breakout season with the New York Giants in which he set career highs in targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns. However a knee injury has kept him out of practice this week, and Andy Reid said earlier this week that James was a long-term concern compared to other day-to-day injuries.