After the Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up training camp practice on Saturday at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri, offensive coordinator Eric Bieney talked about some of the team’s rookie skill players. But he also mentioned two players who had disappointing seasons in 2021.
One of them was wide receiver Josh Gordon, who has had a proven NFL career since joining the league a decade ago. In the year But the league suspended Gordon a total of five times, causing him to miss more than three full seasons.
Hoping to recapture some of his youthful spark, Kansas City signed Gordon to their practice squad in late September 2021. Moved to the active roster two weeks later, Gordon appeared in 12 games — starting seven of them — but accumulated just five catches (on 12 targets) for 32 yards and a touchdown.
After that disappointing performance, it would have been unreasonable for the Chiefs to pass on the 31-year-old wideout. But the team has re-signed him through 2022 — and coaches like Bieniemy still believe he’ll find a way to contribute eventually.
“It’s been a fun process with Josh,” the offensive coordinator said on Saturday, first and foremost because he had time off to spend time with us after a season. He is in amazing shape. On some things, he’s still learning. But it was fun to work with him, because what I love about him is that he’s the kind of person who’s going to give you everything.
Binyamin said he shows the kind of work ethic and leadership that coaches like to see.
“He works hard,” he said. “He practices hard. If he makes a mistake, he says, ‘Hey coach. I messed that up.’ He is responsible. And it helps the place. And then on top of that, he’s giving leadership to the youth, whatever he’s doing? We can’t ask for more.
Whether Gordon can find his way back onto the Week 1 roster remains to be seen — and whether or not his production will warrant that roster spot remains to be seen. But it’s clear his bosses still see something in him.
Benjamin addressed the situation of unused third-year running back Clyde Edwards-Heller, who not only missed a dozen of the team’s 39 games since being selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The way it was against LSU, where almost a quarter of his career yards came by catching passes. In his senior season with the Tigers, he had 55 receptions to go along with 215 rushing attempts. But in Kansas City’s injury-shortened 2021 season, the running back had just 19 receptions on 119 carries.
Binney says part of that blame comes from the Chiefs for failing to target the run more often.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re paying more attention to him — and putting him in position so he has a chance to make plays on the perimeter,” he admitted.
Bieniemy also said Edwards-Helaire did his part to stay healthy in the offseason — and the swagger the running back expressed Thursday, saying he’s the NFL’s best pass-catching running back.
“We’ll argue here a little later,” smiled Binyamin. But I love his confidence.
Then the facilitator chose his words carefully.
“I will say this: Clyde is a special football player,” he said. “Make sure you say this the right way: Clyde’s a great football player — a running back. So we’ve got to make sure we maximize all the gifts he’s given us by putting him in situations where he can go out there and be effective.” [in] It helps us win.”
Again: It’s fair to assume that Edwards-Heller still hasn’t justified the first-round pick used to acquire him two years ago. But it’s also important to understand that, for whatever reason, the bosses didn’t use it the way we (or even they) expected. With wide receiver Tyreek Hill no longer a part of the team, could Edwards-Heller finally carve out a different role in what we imagine will be a new-look Kansas City offense?
Week 1 can’t get here soon enough.