Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes spoke to reporters after the team’s Sunday morning practice — and was more than happy to lay praise at the feet of first-round rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who is now presumed to be the team’s starter after Damien Williams opted out of the 2020 season.
“He’s a hard worker,” said the Super Bowl MVP. “That’s the first thing that you can see from day one. He’s always wanting to learn more. He’s wanting to get in every single rep that they let him in. he’s someone who has gotten better every single day. I’m excited to have him — to adapt him and have him more and more in the offense.”
— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) August 9, 2020
Edwards-Helaire should be up to the challenge, as he gained 1,867 yards from scrimmage during his last season at LSU — including 1,414 on the ground — as the Tigers won the national championship.
The offensive line that will play in front of Mahomes, however, remains uncertain.
Veteran right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has also opted out of the season. Once he returned from injury in 2019, left guard Andrew Wylie was kept on the sidelines as longtime veteran Stefen Wisniewski continued to take his snaps through the postseason. But Wisniewski departed for his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers during the offseason, so the Chiefs signed eight-year veteran Mike Remmers from the New York Giants — and then after Duvernay-Tardif’s departure, snapped up another eight-year vet: Kelechi Osemele.
So far, Mahomes has been impressed with both of the new veteran linemen.
“Both those guys — they’re big and strong and they’re smart,” said Mahomes. “That’s the three things that you need to have when you come in to play in this offense. Kelechi — I mean, when he shook my hand the first time, I had to go, ‘Hey, man… easy a little’ — [that’s] just how big and strong that guy is. So I’m excited to have them. They’re learning — obviously — this offense quickly and progressing quickly; it’s good to have veteran guys like that. But I’m excited for that competition in that room to bring the best out of everybody.”
Mahomes was referring not only to Remmers and Osemele, but also to returning veteran players like Wylie, Martinas Rankin and Greg Senat — along with rookie newcomers like Yasir Durant and Darryl Williams. All of those players could be in the mix to become starters as offensive line coach Andy Heck rotates the offensive linemen through positions during training camp.
If history is any guide, the Chiefs will start the offensive linemen they consider to be the “best five” when the season begins on September 10.