Chiefs By Position: Running Back Outlook for 2003

With Trent Green locked up with a new long term contract, the Chiefs can begin to address some other issues facing the team in 2003. One issue that is in front of them is something they can do little about: The health of running back Priest Holmes.

Priest Holmes
Second season with the Chiefs
2002 season: Rushing - 313 carries for 1,615 yards (5.2 yards per carry) and 21 touchdowns. Receiving - 70 catches for 672 yards and three touchdowns.

Positives: Holmes proved he was much more than a one-year wonder, setting 10 team records, including most rushing yards in a season. Holmes probably would have set several NFL records had it not been for a hip injury, which kept him out of the last two games. His 2,287 yards from scrimmage rank fourth-highest in NFL history. Holmes doesn't have blazing speed, but his vision and patience are amazing. He simply knows where the hole is and when to hit it. His work ethic has made him one of the best, if not the best, running back in the game today. He is the main reason why the Chiefs' offense has made huge strides in the last two years.

Negatives: None of them are on the field. His recovery from the hip strain has been slow. Nobody really knows when he'll be totally healthy. Also, he has started rumbling about a reworking his contract, which could cause some headaches for the Chiefs when training camp comes around. It will be difficult for the Chiefs to pay him huge money without knowing how healthy he'll be on when the games are real.

Prognosis: A healthy Holmes is crucial to any hopes Kansas City has of being a playoff team next season. If healthy, Holmes will continue his assault he came so close to setting last season.

Tony Richardson
Eighth year with Chiefs
2002 season: Rushing - 22 rushes for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Receiving - 18 catches for 125 yards and one touchdown.

Positives: Richardson is a great lead blocker and above-average pass blocker. A team leader, Richardson gives the Chiefs a stable presence in the locker room. He can be pressed into duty in spots to carry the rushing load.

Negatives: Richardson is developing a bit of an injury problem. He missed the final two games this season with a dislocated right shoulder. Also, he runs a little bit too upright to be counted on to be a rusher for more than just an occasional basis.

Prognosis: The Chiefs' starting fullback again.

Michael Cloud
Fourth year with the Chiefs
2002 season: Rushing - 49 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Receiving - six catches for 48 yards.

Positives: Cloud showed flashes of promise early in his career, especially in the year 2000. He earned the backup role behind Holmes with a solid preseason. Rushed for 7.7 yards per carry in 2001.

Negatives: The former second-round pick of Boston College struggled in his two starts after Holmes' injury. He appeared slow to hit the hole and didn't have the speed to reach the edge on the outside. Rushed for only 19 yards on 16 carries against San Diego.

Prognosis: Cloud is a free-agent and the Chiefs will look elsewhere for Holmes' backup for next season.

Derrick Blaylock
Second year with the Chiefs
2002 season: Rushing - 16 carries for 72 yards. Receiving - five catches for 47 yards.

Positives: Blaylock is a solid special teams performer. The former fifth-round pick out of Stephen F. Austin saw his first NFL action last season and displayed enough speed to make a difference.

Negatives: At 5-9 and 190 pounds, it's hard to imagine Blaylock being more than a third-down back. He also needs to work on catching the ball out of the backfield.

Prognosis: The Chiefs will most likely welcome Blaylock back in a reserve role.

Omar Easy
First year with the Chiefs
2002 season: Receiving - three catches for 23 yards and one touchdown.

Positives: Easy, Kansas City's fourth-round pick out of Penn State last season, was pressed into service when Richardson suffered his shoulder injury. He showed nice hands and some power in limited duty. Had little experience running the football out of college, but showed the tools to be a bruising rusher.

Negatives: Easy needs to work on his run and pass blocking.

Prognosis: A backup to Richardson next season.

Overall grade of position with a healthy Holmes: A
Without a healthy Holmes: D Top Stories