Chiefs OC Bieniemy: 'Damien Williams is our starter'

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The arrival of veteran running back Carlos Hyde in March apparently doesn't alter how the Kansas City Chiefs view the backfield ahead of the regular season.

Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy made it clear Thursday who will be the lead back and the team has high expectations for the player.

"Damien Williams is our starter," Bieniemy told reporters, via Matt Derrick of Chiefs Digest. "We expect him to excel at that role."

There was initial thought that the Chiefs could either see Hyde as the starter or the offense would utilize some kind of committee approach given the depth at the running back position. Williams and Hyde are currently joined in the backfield by second-year pro Darrel Williams and a trio of rookies with James Williams, Darwin Thompson and Marcus Marshall.

Bieniemy, though, leaves little room for ambiguity surrounding Damien Williams' status on the depth chart.

The Chiefs certainly got a good look at Williams in 2018 after cutting ties with Kareem Hunt in late November.

The 5-foot-11, 224-pound Williams, who spent four seasons with the Miami Dolphins (2014-17), appeared in all 16 games with three starts to close out the 2018 regular season, totaling 256 yards and four touchdowns on 50 carries. Williams also showed some versatility out of the backfield as a receiver, totaling 23 catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns, including a six-catch, 74-yard effort in Week 15. Near the conclusion of the 2018 regular season, the Chiefs signed Williams to a two-year contract extension worth up $8.1 million.

A lot can happen between now and the start of the regular season, of course. But for now, the starting running back job in Kansas City is Williams' to lose.

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