[Kansas City.com] What Ronnie Cruz has to show for his NFL career is one pass reception, some special-teams work and a lot of bench time.
That wouldn’t seem to be the resume of someone hoping to replace Tony Richardson as the starting fullback on one of the NFL’s best offensive teams. In the back of his mind, Cruz, like most fans, might have believed the Chiefs would sign a veteran to take the job.
Days passed, then weeks. Now it’s been a month since Richardson, the Chiefs’ longtime fullback, moved on to the Minnesota Vikings.
The Chiefs have done nothing to replace Richardson, making it apparent they believe Cruz can be their guy.
“You can always tell from my standpoint, when you look in guys’ eyes and you’re calling out the plays, do they look confused?” quarterback Trent Green said. “Do they get that kind of deer-in-the-headlights look? He’s never had that. He’s always felt really comfortable and really confident. What that tells me is that he’s preparing properly.”
On the surface, it might seem Richardson is easily replaceable. He was in for only about 30 percent of the plays last year.
“But they were important ones” running backs coach James Saxon said.
The Chiefs might try to cover Richardson’s loss in part by more often using H-back Kris Wilson, tight end Jason Dunn or a third wide receiver. The fullback still figures in the plans, given the way new coach Herm Edwards wants to run.
As it is, Cruz is about the Chiefs’ only option. They have former Kansas State fullback Travis Wilson, but that’s it.
“I don’t have any reservations about him as a pass protector,” Saxon said. “He will fight you. He’s as tough as anybody on our football team.”
“He won’t surprise me. He will do what we need the guy in that position to do. He’s got everything you would look for if you were going to draft a player or bring somebody in.”