Charcandrick West, Spencer Ware set for committee in Chiefs backfield

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chiefs running back Charcandrick West returned to full practices the past two days after missing Week 12 with a hamstring injury.

Nov. 22, 2015; San Diego; Chiefs running back Charcandrick West (35) during the half against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Nov. 22, 2015; San Diego; Chiefs running back Charcandrick West (35) during the half against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

And he left no doubt how he feels about his health.

“I’m good,” West said. “I’m ready to get back out there.”

The second-year pro totaled 292 yards rushing and three touchdowns from Weeks 7-11 before suffering the injury in the third quarter against the San Diego Chargers. But West’s absence opened the door for Spencer Ware to emerge, who has rushed for 210 yards and three touchdowns the past two games.

The Chiefs now have a good problem to have with two healthy and productive running backs, and offensive coordinator Doug Pederson made it clear Thursday the team will utilize both.

“I think it goes without saying, I think it’s still that running back by committee,” Pederson said. “And I think you have to use them both. Here’s two young running backs that are playing a lot and we’re getting to that time of the season now where bodies are really getting sore and nicked up and banged up.”

The 5-10, 205 West and the 5-10, 229-pound Ware have their individual style, and the Chiefs will incorporate them into the offense.

“You see Charcandrick is more of that slasher, quick-cutting guy,” Pederson said. “And here comes (No.) 32 (Ware), a big physical fullback-type, halfback-type guy that can hit you downhill, so it’s a little bit of a change of pace, I think, for a defense. And it’s great to give both of those guys equal opportunity.”

While both players appear comparable in running the ball, West could offer the better receiving option out of the backfield. West recorded 11 catches for 184 yards and a touchdown in Weeks 7-11, while Ware had three catches for 6 yards in the past two games.

For his part, West embraces whatever role the Chiefs give him and he also sees the value of sharing the backfield with Ware.

“He’s a big guy, he’s going to pound it,” West said. “I’m smaller, I can make people miss. He’s unique, but we need that.

“We need the best of both worlds I feel like, so him being bigger, me smaller, he can run and pound it. He can get them set up, he can get them scared and I can go shake them.”

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Herbie Teope is the lead Chiefs beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and The Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.

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