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West’s success no surprise to Chiefs’ RB coach Bieniemy

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The Sports Xchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Running back Charcandrick West has surfaced as a key offensive performer for the Kansas City Chiefs in the absence of the injured Jamaal Charles.

West, a second-year pro, might have surprised a few folks around the league, but not his position coach.

“I’m not surprised, but impressed,” said running backs coach Eric Bieniemy. “He’s had a great teacher and a role model and Jamaal has done a great job of laying the foundation.

“He is just one of those kids, he has a unique way of carrying the football, he finds a way to make things happen and he’s doing a good job, knock on wood.”

One area where the head coach has seen improvement from West is not running or catching, but blocking.

“We knew he could run the ball, he’s pretty good at that,” coach Andy Reid said. “Having to learn all the different protections and then the techniques involved and blocking some of those guys, I think is where he’s improved the most.”

Bieniemy likes the attitude that West brings to work every day as an undrafted player coming out of Abilene Christian University in 2014.

“Well, he’s a happy-go-lucky kid; you’ll never see him not smiling and every time he’s in the building he’s smiling,” Bieniemy said. “He’s enthusiastic about learning and he’s very professional.

“He understands that if you don’t work, you don’t eat and that’s our mentality, that’s our mindset. And he comes to work every day with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove.”

–Despite the disappointing record over the first half of the 2015 season, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid continued his habit of giving the players the entire bye week off.

They will not report back to the team’s facility until Monday, Nov. 9.

“I’ve given them the week here to get themselves back and relax here a bit, but at the same time stay focused,” Reid said. “We’ve got a big job at hand here — we’ve got the AFC West coming up and we’ve got to make sure that we’re right both mentally and physically. …

“I have trust in this team that they’ll do that and they’ve been very responsible up to this point. So I really expect them to handle themselves the right way.”

–While in London for the game against Detroit, Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said he’s committed to general manager John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid into the 2016 season, no matter what happens in the second half of the season.

Reid accepted the endorsement.

“In this business, any time the owner says something like that, that’s a positive thing,” Reid said. “So I appreciate that. Listen, he’s given us every opportunity that we need to be successful here. He does a great job with his position there.

“We’re trying to just take it day-by-day, stay focused on what we have to do — both John and I, I’m speaking for John here, too — we just try to stay focused on doing the best we can. We know we’re getting his support, so we make sure we do our job to the best of our ability.”

–Guard/tackle Jeff Allen has started the last two games, opening at right tackle against Pittsburgh and left guard versus Detroit. Allen started the season trying to come back from a strained knee ligament he sustained in the preseason. His feisty attitude has been a big addition to the Chiefs blocking unit.

“He’s always had a certain amount of leadership and he’s not afraid to let that part of his personality show,” head coach Andy Reid said. “You know, he got carried away on one of the plays there (vs. Detroit), but you’d rather have it that way than to tune him up. I do think that’s contagious. I think that can bring it out in people around him.”

–Tight end Travis Kelce finally got back in the end zone during the Chiefs’ victory over Detroit in London. That two-yard touchdown catch was his first since scoring two touchdowns in the season opener against Houston.

Although his scoring catches have been few, Kelce is among the league leaders for tight ends with yards gained after the catch. He’s third in the league averaging 8.2 yards are he gets his hands on the ball, that’s a half-yard better than New England’s Rob Gronkowski.

“He’s pretty fast and he’s a big man that accelerates well,” said Chiefs tight ends coach Tom Melvin. “He’s the second Cincinnati tight end I’ve had. Brent Celek led the league two years in a row with yards after catch. The two of them are phenomenal at finding ways to get a little bit extra out of the catch.”

–Wide receiver Chris Conley’s role in the Chiefs offense is on a roller coaster.

Two games ago against Pittsburgh, Conley caught six passes for 63 yards, including a six-yard touchdown pass. Against Detroit in London, he saw only nine offensive snaps, catching one ball for six yards.

“He’s finding out what this game at this level is all about, the ups and downs, the grind that it is,” wide receivers coach David Culley said of the third-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft.

“We’ve played eight games already, plus the four preseason games — that’s a whole season for him already and we’re just halfway through. He and Albert (Wilson) are both young guys that are figuring it out right now.”


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