Kansas City Chiefs

Despite week-long absence, Damien Williams is still Chiefs’ starter says Eric Bieniemy

Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy: Running backs stepping up in Williams’ absence

Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy talks about running backs filling in for Damien Williams, the starter who has been out for a week with a hamstring injury.
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Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy talks about running backs filling in for Damien Williams, the starter who has been out for a week with a hamstring injury.

A hamstring injury has sidelined Chiefs starting running back Damien Williams for a week. But offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said the absence hasn’t changed Williams’ status.

“Obviously he’s the starter,” Bieniemy said. “We need to make sure that Damien continues to do the things he needs to do in order to help him be ready when called upon. He’s doing some things in the training room.

“But right now we’re not worried about him. We’re only worried about the guys who are putting in the work on the field.”

Those guys are Carlos Hyde, Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson, Tremon Smith, Josh Caldwell and Marcus Marshall.

The number of running backs grew this week with the addition of Smith, who was moved from cornerback earlier in the week. Sunday marked Smith’s third practice with the group and he had a nice moment where he bounced a run outside and broke free for a score.

“Every time you put him in there he just flashes,” Bieniemy said.

Hyde and Darrel Williams have been taking the first-team snaps in Damien Williams’ absence.

The Chiefs open the preseason on Saturday against the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium.

Williams became the starter last season after Kareem Hunt was dismissed from the team and in three games in that role rushed for 203 yards and three touchdowns.

He was at his biggest in the playoffs with a 129-yard rushing effort against the Colts and three touchdowns, including two receiving, in the AFC title game loss to the Patriots.

Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson talks about Mahomes and the speed of Chiefs receivers after training camp on Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019.

At practice

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill got the day off to give his bruised quad more rest. The injury occurred last Tuesday. He practiced Friday and Saturday.

Defensive ends Alex Okafor (hip) and Emmanuel Ogbah (oblique) didn’t finish practice. Cornerback Rashard Fenton had an excused absence.

Missing practice because of injuries: running back Damien Williams, wide receiver Gehrig Dieter, safety Jordan Lucas and linebacker Damien Wilson.

One of the most exciting plays of the day involved both Chiefs’ second-round draft selections. Mecole Hardman shook off a tackler after a short pass and turned on the jets as he headed down the sideline. But safety Juan Thornhill had the angle and brought down Hardman.

Later, Hardman took a hard hit on a jet sweep and walked off the field slowly. He soon returned.

Patrick Mahomes hit Travis Kelce deep down the right sideline when the Chiefs were working a “backed-up” drill. The play covered more than 50 yards.

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