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Isiah Pacheco Sends Strong Message About Role in Chiefs’ Offense

Second-year running back Isiah Pacheco spoke candidly about his role in the Kansas City Chiefs' offense going into the playoffs.
Chiefs Pacheco

Kansas City Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco is 11th in the NFL in rushing yards despite only checking in 17th in carries. Sharing a backfield with Clyde Edwards-Heliare and Jerick McKinnon will do that.

But the second-year back out of Rutgers, Pacheco, knows his role in the Chiefs’ offense is key.

“I know how big I’m going to be as a part of this offense moving forward,” Pacheco said after the Chiefs’ Week 17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, per NFL Network’s James Palmer on “The Insiders” on January 2. “I know running the football has to be something that we’re going to do moving forward.”

Pacheco told Palmer during his walk-off interview, “You got leaders telling me, ‘We go as you go.'”

Isiah Pacheco Asserts Role in Chiefs’ Offense

Chiefs’ ‘Want to Run the Football’

Pacheco had 130 yards on 18 carries versus the Bengals, adding another 35 yards and a score through the air.

“Look at … how often they run two tight ends out there to help out their tackles. They want to run the football,” Palmer said. “And you can break it down even further because his ability to run the football opens things up, maybe, for Patrick Mahomes and company.”

More directly, Pacheco had 13 receptions for 130 yards on 14 targets in 17 games last season.

He has 44 grabs in 49 targets, racking up 244 yards and a pair of scores through the air this season as the Chiefs reduced McKinnon’s role.

Palmer was a guest alongside former NFL offensive lineman-turned-analyst Brian Baldinger, who previously broke down Pacheco’s day against the Bengals in a video for social media as part of his “Baldy’s Breakdowns” series.

According to Baldinger, Pacheco could “morph” the Chiefs’ offense from finesse to power, a notion he doubled down on in agreement with Palmer.

Brian Baldinger: Chiefs Should ‘Morph’ Offense Around Isiah Pacheco, Running Game

“I’m gonna say something that is just anathema to anything Andy Reid believes. But I believe they should morph into a power-running football team, and they have all the pieces to do it … including Pacheco.”

Baldinger pointed to the Chiefs’ offensive line, noting how they got significant movement against the Bengals’ front.

But he also drove home the point of running the offense through Pacheco.

“You gotta find a way to get the ball in his hand because of how dynamic and explosive he is,” Baldinger said. This is a dangerous player. Maybe the most dangerous player outside of Patrick Mahomes on offense.”

It’s always a “chicken-or-the-egg” situation, but the Chiefs are 9-2 when Pacheco carries the ball at least 12 times this season.

This past Sunday was just his third 100-yard game of the season. They are 2-1 in those games.

“I think they have a chance to really turn this season around offensively, turn the ball over less, and be more productive, if they really lean on that run game more,” Baldinger said in his closing argument.

Chris Jones Lobbies for Frank Clark’s Return

While Palmer said he didn’t know how many adjustments the defense needed to make – citing the ability and willingness to put Trent McDuffie on Bengals star Ja’Marr Chase had L’Jarius Sneed been unable to suit up – that doesn’t mean the defense couldn’t use a boost.

All-Pro defensive lineman Chris Jones certainly thinks they could, taking to social media for the return of Frank Clark.

The Seahawks released Clark, who has been a healthy scratch in two of the last three weeks.

Clark, 30, has recorded zero sacks in eight games split between two teams this season. But he was a member of the Super Bowl team last season, logging 5.0 sacks, and he was a Pro Bowler in the three seasons before that.

He had 8.0 sacks in the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl run.

Main Photo: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports


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