Is the best yet to come for new Chiefs RB Carlos Hyde?
By:Charles Goldman | 5 hours ago
Winning is the most important thing in the NFL.
In Carlos Hyde’s five seasons as professional, he’s never been part of a winning team. He joined a promising San Francisco 49ers team through the draft just as they took a nose dive. His brief stay with the Cleveland Browns in 2018 was filled with dysfunction, and he was traded to a spiraling Jacksonville Jaguars team to end the 2018 season.
Hyde’s two best seasons as a professional came with the 49ers in 2016 and 2017. One team saw struggles under Chip Kelly, and the other a resurgence under Kyle Shanahan. During those seasons Hyde tallied 2,439 scrimmage yards with 17 total touchdowns. Hyde’s proved he can be at his best even when his teams are at their worst, which is one of the most difficult things to do in the NFL.
The Chiefs just finished their sixth straight season with a winning record. It’s not a foregone conclusion that the Chiefs will continue their successful streak in 2019, but with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, they’ll be favored to do so. So what’s going to happen when Hyde is finally on a winning team?
There are a few areas where the Chiefs have found success in 2018 that should really influence Hyde’s game. Improvements should be expected in his new situation with the Chiefs.
No longer a workhorse
Finding balance is important in the NFL. Very few guys can come in and be the prototype workhorse running back. Many teams take a committee approach to how they utilize their backs. Sharing carries with another back isn’t an ideal situation for the stat sheet, but it can help promote longevity.
Hyde has suffered quite a few injury setbacks. He’s dealt with back injuries, foot injuries, a concussion and even an MCL tear in the NFL. The most significant of those injuries occurred when Hyde was the lead running back.
Now that Hyde has joined the Chiefs, he won’t have to carry the load alone. They’ve now got three guys on the roster who are quite capable, and they could potentially seek to add more in free agency or the NFL draft. Hyde can now focus on consistency and making the most out of a limited workload.
Don’t let anyone tell you that Hyde is bad at catching the football. It’s simply a misinformed opinion. Hyde has a 70.8 percent career catch rate during his five seasons playing in the NFL. If he retired tomorrow he’d have a better career catch rate than Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Davis.
Then consider what he’s had to deal with throughout his career in terms of quarterback play. Here’s a list of Hyde’s quarterbacks during his NFL career:
- Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
- Blaine Gabbert, 49ers
- C.J. Beathard, 49ers
- Brian Hoyer, 49ers
- Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers
- Tyrod Taylor, Browns
- Baker Mayfield, Browns
- Blake Bortles, Jaguars
- Cody Kessler, Jaguars
Hyde has had virtually no stability at the QB position during his career, and that matters. In 2018 alone he dealt with four different starters at the QB position. It’s no surprise that his best seasons catching the ball came with the familiarity of Kaepernick and Gabbert with the 49ers. Having stability at the quarterback position with the Chiefs should certainly work to improve Hyde’s ability catching the football.
Success from shotgun
It just so happens that during the most successful season of Hyde’s career, the 49ers ran the ball predominantly out of the shotgun formation. During the 2016 season, 213 of Hyde’s rushing attempts came out of the shotgun. During the 2017 season, only 52 of Hyde’s rushing attempts came out of the shotgun. His attempts from under center averaged 1.9 fewer yards per carry than those that came from shotgun. If you look at his entire career his splits from shotgun are markedly better than those from under center.
The Chiefs offense operated out of the shotgun on the bulk of their snaps in 2018. It’s what Mahomes is most comfortable with. Returning to an offense that heavily uses the shotgun should play to the strengths of Hyde’s game. It’ll put him in the best possible position to be successful.
There’s plenty more that suggests Hyde could see newfound success now that he’s joined the Chiefs. These are a few of the most prominent to hold you over until we get to see what Hyde is capable of on the field.