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Tribal Warfare
11-18-2009, 11:15 PM
Passing game must adjust to life without Bowe (http://www.kansascity.com/sports/chiefs/story/1579479.html)
By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star

Assembling a successful offensive game plan for the struggling Chiefs was going to be difficult enough for Sunday’s game against the Steelers.

Todd Haley’s task has become harder now that he’s preparing the Chiefs to play Pittsburgh without leading receiver Dwayne Bowe, who was suspended by the NFL for four games for violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

The Chiefs last week lost their leading rusher when they released Larry Johnson. They were able to find a way to beat the Raiders 16-10 with Jamaal Charles rushing for more than 100 yards.

But Bowe was their leading receiver in Oakland, with six catches and 91 yards. The Steelers are also quite a bit more formidable than the Raiders. Pittsburgh is second in the league in total defense and first in rushing defense.

Haley, the Chiefs’ head coach and offensive coordinator, spent no time Wednesday feeling sorry for himself but also realized that his bid to make the Chiefs more competitive offensively suffered a setback.

“That’s part of the game,” Haley said. “It’s no different from an injury. We’ve lost a player that was a starter on our offense, and somebody has to step up. They’re not going to cancel the game. We’ve got to be ready to go.

“We’re trying to find ourselves, trying to find an identity exactly what we are. I feel like we’re making progress as a team. I feel like we’re making progress as a defense. Offensively, we’re kind of in that same deal. Every Monday and Tuesday, (the offensive coaches) are sitting in there (and asking), ‘How can we be better than what we are? How can we be better on third down? What can be done to give us a chance to win?’ That’s how we’re all kind of thinking about it.”

After a very slow start, wide receivers have given the Chiefs more in terms of catches and yardage in recent games. Bowe’s two biggest games have come in the last month, while two recent additions, Chris Chambers and Lance Long, each had a big game two weeks ago in Jacksonville.

All of that could change without Bowe, who leads the Chiefs with 33 catches and four touchdowns. Without Bowe, Kansas City’s leading receiver is not a wide receiver but a running back, Jamaal Charles, who has 21 catches.

Bobby Wade, who with 20 receptions is the second-leading wide receiver, was inactive the last two weeks after the Chiefs acquired Chambers and promoted Long to their top slot receiver.

“It will be an opportunity for Bobby Wade to get back into the mix,” Haley said. “He’s been working hard waiting for another opportunity, and he’ll get one this week.

“It was not anything to do with his ability. It was more of a roster thing two weeks in a row. It was a tough decision. He was the last guy (out). Somebody’s got to sit.”

Wade said, “It’s been tough. Obviously there are a lot of moving parts to this team. Coach Haley, he’s trying to find the right guys he wants to keep around, the core guys.

“I can’t pay attention to the reasons. I can’t even begin to think of what they’re thinking as far as (Wade) being inactive. All I can focus on is what I can do to get better. So I took it as a personal challenge to get back to work … and try to get better individually.”

Some of Bowe’s snaps will go to Mark Bradley, who has 17 catches but dropped a number of passes the last couple of weeks.

Bowe also dropped his share of passes and at times irritated Haley with what Haley believed was a less-than-serious work ethic. But for his faults, Bowe has strengths that none of his receiving teammates can duplicate.

He was the best among Chiefs receivers in running after the catch, so he was always a big-play threat when he did make the catch. He was also a good option as a receiver on fade routes because of his size and ability to adjust to the throw.

“This calls for all the other receivers to pick up their level of play,” Wade said. “Not only the receivers, but also everybody who’s a part of this offense. Obviously, Dwayne was a big part of this offense.”

Bowe is eligible to return to the Chiefs with three games left in the season, beginning with a Dec. 20 meeting with Cleveland at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs will undoubtedly welcome him back but hope they’ve adapted nicely to life without him.

“I was just getting to know him,” Chambers said. “I know he’s a great kid, and he made a mistake. We all made mistakes before, whatever it is. I’m sure he regrets whatever happened to him. But he’ll get on with his career. He’ll come back even stronger.”

Tribal Warfare
11-18-2009, 11:19 PM
Yeah, what will Cassel do? The guy just hates targeting Bowe 1st of all so it won't be a hitch in his glitch.

SenselessChiefsFan
11-19-2009, 06:02 AM
Yeah, what will Cassel do? The guy just hates targeting Bowe 1st of all so it won't be a hitch in his glitch.

Yeah, just 'hates' it. Perhaps you missed that Bowe is the leading WR.

It is called going where the play takes you. Plus, he doesn't get to call the plays other than in the 2:00 offense. And, suddenly, in that time, he is taking more shots downfield and looking at Bowe more.

If I were a QB though, Bowe would not be my favorite topic. He drops too many balls. The fact that Matt Cassel has the second most drops in the NFL is laughable. The Chiefs are 23rd in pass attempts, and 2nd in drops. And, Bowe is a huge culprit in that.

Although, the pass to Chambers that was picked would not have been picked if that was Bowe. Bowe would have never let someone come over his back like that.

Bowe would have a lot more catches if he didn't have as many drops, because it would extend drives and give Haley more confidence in having Cassel throw his way.

TRR
11-19-2009, 09:07 AM
How many new receivers has Cassel worked with this year?

Bowe
Engram
Bradley
Wade
Long
Chambers
Toomer
Lelie
Lawrence
Copper
And a couple more in training camp that I can't remember...

There is no way to get consistency in the passing game with that much fluidity and change.
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Pestilence
11-19-2009, 09:19 AM
It's not like our passing game was that GREAT with him in the game anyways.