Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy likens RB Jerick McKinnon to a ‘coach on the field’

The resurgence of veteran running back Jerick McKinnon has been one of the highlights of the Kansas City Chiefs 2022 season. He has gone beyond what many expected from him this year and is contributing in more ways than just the stat sheet.

McKinnon is currently riding a streak of six touchdowns in the last four weeks, playing an essential role in the offense. He has transformed from being viewed as purely a third-down running back to a weapon in the passing game for Patrick Mahomes. Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy recognizes McKinnon’s value and feels that it transcends his play on the field. He again discussed McKinnon’s leadership during Thursday’s press conference, explaining the unique advantage it gives the team.

“Jerick (McKinnon) has been very valuable,” said Bieniemy. “Obviously, it’s always good, especially for Pat (Mahomes), when he’s looking downfield to make that big play, and if nothing’s there, he has an opportunity to dump it off to Jerick. Jerick’s doing a great job, not only as a receiver, (but) he’s doing a great job in pass protection (and) picking up the necessary blitz when they’re coming. On top of that, he’s doing a heck of a job in the run game. Then something that doesn’t get talked about enough – and I know I keep discussing it – is his leadership. He provides outstanding leadership in that room to those guys. He’s just like having a coach – an additional coach on the field.”

McKinnon, at 30 years old, may not have the elusive speed he had earlier in his career, but his awareness and experience have done wonders for the team this season. The high football IQ is rubbing off on younger teammates like rookie Isiah Pacheco, who can follow the veteran’s example to improve weekly.

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Story originally appeared on Chiefs Wire