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BossChief 12-03-2010 12:30 AM

The Next Great Receiver?
Bowe's renewed focus is turning talent into elite production

If you haven't been paying attention to the Kansas City Chiefs, then you are missing out on the emergence of one the league's great receivers.

Dwayne Bowe is in the midst of a sensational streak, which has pushed him into rarefied air. He has a league-leading 14 touchdown receptions, including 13 in the past seven games, putting him on pace to challenge Randy Moss' single-season mark of 23 scores. He also ranks fifth overall with 885 receiving yards and is tied for the fourth-most receptions (14) over 20 yards.

While those impressive statistics are obvious signs of Bowe's arrival, it has been the transformation of his game over the past year that has convinced me he is worthy of entering the conversation about the next great players at the position.
Bowe chasing history
Dwayne Bowe scored three more touchdowns in Week 12, bringing his season total to 14. Find out what exclusive company he is trying to join in our milestone tracker.

Pieces falling into place for Bowe
Vote: Should Bowe make Pro Bowl?

Bowe, who was the Chiefs' first-round selection in the 2007 draft, entered the league regarded as a big, physical receiver with outstanding tools. Although he spent most of his collegiate career struggling with drops and a suspect work ethic, he overcame those deficiencies to have a strong senior season at LSU. Bowe finished as one of the top receivers in the Southeastern Conference in nearly every category, and he capped his impressive year at the Senior Bowl.

Bowe dominated the likes of Aaron Ross, Michael Griffin and Brandon Meriweather in practices, and flashed big-play ability as a potential No. 1 receiver. The Chiefs gambled on that upside when they nabbed him with the 23rd overall pick. He immediately paid dividends by leading all rookie wideouts in catches (70), receiving yards (995) and touchdowns (five). He followed that with a solid sophomore campaign, topping the 1,000-yard mark while finishing 10th in the NFL with 86 receptions.

With two strong seasons under his belt, Bowe was expected to take another step when Todd Haley took over as the coach last season. Haley arrived with an impressive resume after tutoring Terrell Owens, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald to Pro Bowl honors as an offensive coordinator or receivers coach at his previous stops. Fitzgerald, in particular, rose to prominence as the league's top receiver under Haley, so it was natural to assume that Bowe would grow into a dominant player in Kansas City.

However, the relationship got off to a rocky start when Bowe reported to workouts overweight, and he underwhelmed Haley with his casual approach to practice. The coach demoted Bowe from the starting lineup during the 2009 preseason for his lack of discipline and conditioning. Haley then challenged his young star to maximize his potential by working on his craft on a daily basis.

Even though the results didn't show up initially because of the Chiefs' scattershot offense last season, Bowe has experienced a rebirth under Charlie Weis. The crafty offensive coordinator has catered the passing game to fit Bowe's strengths as a physical receiver with good running skills.

When looking at tape, I noticed that Bowe runs an assortment of in-breaking routes that allow him to use his superior size (6-foot-2, 221 pounds) and strength to overpower defensive backs. He is extremely productive running slants because he is able to fight through press coverage at the line. If defenders play from depth, Bowe's imposing size makes him nearly impossible to defend on the pattern. As he breaks in at a 45-degree angle, on his third step, he creates an impenetrable wall between the defender and the ball. Add in his exceptional arm length, and Bowe can extend to pluck balls away from his body to prevent defenders from breaking up the intended throw.

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Bowe's power and run-after-the-catch ability make him a dangerous weapon in the quick passing game. Not only does he prevent defenders from making plays on the ball with his size, but his knack for breaking tackles makes him a scoring threat from anywhere on the field.

While Bowe's natural athleticism led to success earlier in his career, it has been his improved attention to detail as a route runner that is separating him from the pack. He is showing a keen understanding of how to attack a defender's leverage to create space at the top of his routes. In looking at his touchdowns, I repeatedly watched Bowe work to the defender's outside shoulder to open up the inside on the skinny-post route. The "bang eight" is a big part of the Chiefs' passing game inside the red zone, and he has mastered the nuances of getting open on that route. From the initial stem to widen the defender to taking the right angle at the top of the pattern, Bowe's attention to detail has made the route an automatic score when the Chiefs dial it up.

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Given Bowe's emergence as a dominant receiver, the Chiefs have continued to find ways to put him in favorable situations. One of the tactics involves the use of motion to get him a free release at the line. Although Bowe possesses the tools to get free from press or cloud (Cover 2 corners attempting to force receivers inside with two-hand jams) coverage at the line, motion gives him an opportunity to use his momentum to gain a step or two on the defender early in the route.

The movement also gives Bowe a better release angle to avoid contact. With defenders unable to slow him down through physical force, he has been able to become a factor in the vertical passing game on deep sideline throws. The increase in deep balls has taken the passing game to another level and quietly made the connection between Matt Cassel and Bowe one of the league's best.

Bowe teased coaches, scouts and fans with his talent during the first three seasons of his career. However, an improved dedication to his craft under the watchful eye of Haley and Weis has Bowe on the verge of superstardom in Kansas City.

***click link at top for the videos

WebGem 12-03-2010 12:35 AM

He's gonna need more consistency, over a number of seasons, before you can talk about being a 'great' receiver. But he's been the best receiver in the league as of late, that's for sure.

Silock 12-03-2010 12:52 AM

"Should Bowe make the Pro Bowl?"

Uh, why SHOULDN'T he make the Pro Bowl is the real question. We get no respect.

BigMeatballDave 12-03-2010 12:57 AM

Jack Harry says the Chiefs should cut-bait.

BigMeatballDave 12-03-2010 01:05 AM

Granted, this was after the Colts game, but Harry is still a tool and has been since I was a kid. The dumbassery begins @ :45<object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" id="video" width="640" height="520" data=""><param value="" name="movie"/><param value="&skin=MP1ExternalAll-MFL.swf&embed=true&adSizeArray=1x1000,320x40,3x1000&adSrc=http%3A%2F%2Fad%2Edoubleclick%2Enet%2Fpfad x%2Fssp%2Ekshb%2Fsports%2Fjacks%5Fsmack%2Fdetail%3Bdcmt%3Dtext%2Fxml%3Bsz%3D%25size%25%3Bpos%3D%25po s%25%3Bloc%3D%25loc%25%3Bcomp%3D%25adid%25%3Btile%3D3%3Bfname%3Djack%25E2%2580%2599s%2Dsmack%253A%2D it%2Dwould%2Dbe%2Dnice%2Dif%2Dhaley%2Dwould%2Dadmit%2Dhe%2Dscrewed%2Dup%3Bord%3D849874495062977000%3 Frand%3D%25rand%25&flv=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Enbcactionnews%2Ecom%2Ffeeds%2FoutboundFeed%3FobfType%3DVID EO%5FPLAYER%5FSMIL%5FFEED%26componentId%3D186506869&img=http%3A%2F%2Fmedia2%2Enbcactionnews%2Ecom%2F %2Fphoto%2F2010%2F10%2F11%2FJack%5FItd%5Fbe%5Fnice%5Fif%5FHa6bfb6164%2D1fdc%2D4118%2Da091%2D947b3956 e4690000%5F20101011205951%5F640%5F480%2EJPG&story=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Enbcactionnews%2Ecom%2Fdpp%2Fspo rts%2Fjacks%5Fsmack%2Fjack%25E2%2580%2599s%2Dsmack%3A%2Dit%2Dwould%2Dbe%2Dnice%2Dif%2Dhaley%2Dwould% 2Dadmit%2Dhe%2Dscrewed%2Dup&category=&title=&oacct=&ovns=" name="FlashVars"/><param value="all" name="allowNetworking"/><param value="always" name="allowScriptAccess"/></object>

Chief DJBrad 12-03-2010 01:11 AM

The man
Keep it going D Bowe!I was mighty pissed after the Indy game but I have always pulled for the guy.Always thought his drops were lack of mental concentration and maybe he has passed that.Still want Bowe and Cassel to produce at clutch time then we will know things are different.

Chiefs=Good 12-03-2010 01:33 AM

Hog's Gone Fishin 12-03-2010 03:50 AM


WebGem 12-03-2010 03:56 AM


Originally Posted by Chief DJBrad (Post 7220024)
Keep it going D Bowe!I was mighty pissed after the Indy game but I have always pulled for the guy.Always thought his drops were lack of mental concentration and maybe he has passed that.Still want Bowe and Cassel to produce at clutch time then we will know things are different.

There were clutch moments last week in Seattle. People will freak out if they can't perform regardless of when it is, I don't get that. These players aren't supposed to be perfect.

Extra Point 12-03-2010 06:44 AM

Bowe doesn't need to catch Moss' record. Just passes. I was the biggest proponent of drafting him, and a little let down over the last two seasons. I just hope the Chiefs can win AFCW, as a team, with enough gas in the tank to get us through the first playoff game. IF we get to the playoffs.

SenselessChiefsFan 12-03-2010 06:59 AM

This article is pretty spot on as for the analysis over the last few weeks. Bowe has been running much better routes.

This article doesn't mention the weak secondaries that he has been getting better separation from though.

I am not saying it is 'all' because of that. I saw him break down Champ Bailey a few weeks ago. And, the talks about them playing 'soft' was a joke. Baily was getting angry about getting beat.

Time will tell if the transformation has truly taken place or if this is a nice run in an otherwise average career.

Red Dawg 12-03-2010 07:08 AM

Just goes to show that thinking your a bad ass coming out of college is not enough in the NFL. The bad ass's in the NFL work their butt's off to be bad ass's. Bowe has learned that I hope.

BossChief 12-03-2010 05:52 PM

I wonder if there has been a more productive receiver through as many games Bowe has played in to this point.

I bet the list is very short if there is any list at all.

milkman 12-03-2010 06:02 PM


Originally Posted by BossChief (Post 7221699)
I wonder if there has been a more productive receiver through as many games Bowe has played in to this point.

I bet the list is very short if there is any list at all.

By Bill Barnwell
Football Outsiders

Before Week 6, Dwayne Bowe was treated like a punch line. Clips of him dropping a sure touchdown pass against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5 were splattered across highlight shows. The negative opinion of Bowe was so widely held that we had to use a disclaimer when we mentioned Bowe as a good start for fantasy players in Week 6, saying, "He can't drop everything Cassel throws at him."

Since that week, Bowe has been unstoppable. A devastating seven-game stretch has seen him go from punching bag to wrecking ball. Since that game against the Colts, Bowe has caught 49 passes for 733 yards and a whopping 13 touchdowns. Bowe made it to 589 yards in 11 games last season, and he had a total of 16 touchdowns as a pro coming into this season. On Sunday, he pummeled the Seattle Seahawks while having his biggest game yet, going for 13 catches, 170 yards and three touchdowns. He even made a nice weak-side block for Jamaal Charles on a fourth-down run to create a cutback lane and pick up huge yardage. Right now, everything is going Bowe's way.

So, we know Bowe has been good. After the Seahawks game, though, there's a question we've got to ask: Has any wide receiver ever been as good in a seven-game stretch or have we just witnessed history from what seemed to be an unlikely source?

If you include the strike-affected season of 1987, the answer is no. During that 15-game campaign, Jerry Rice had one of the greatest seasons by any player in NFL history, catching 22 touchdown passes in those 15 games. He finished that year with an incredible run, grabbing 16 touchdown passes over the final seven games. That included three three-touchdown games in four weeks.

Throw out the strike season, and Bowe's touchdown mark is unsurpassed since the AFL-NFL merger. His 13 receiving touchdowns in seven games are matched by one other player: Sterling Sharpe, who actually caught 13 in six games. Sharpe hadn't caught a touchdown in any of the previous four weeks before the stretch, and those six games were actually the final ones of his career, as a neck injury forced him into retirement at 29.

Bowe's other totals are impressive but not otherworldly. Marvin Harrison (2002) and Wes Welker (2009) are tied for the record for most catches in one seven-game stretch, each managing to grab 69 receptions during their record runs. Isaac Bruce was able to do almost a full season's work in seven games during the 1995 season. The St. Louis Rams receiver caught 60 passes for a record 986 receiving yards, with seven touchdowns. Bruce ended up with an incredible 1,781 receiving yards by the time the season was over, the second-highest single-season total in NFL history. (Rice finished ahead of him that year with 1,848 yards.) Harrison rode his awesome seven-game stretch to the league record for receptions in a single season, finishing with 143.

Can Bowe go for the record in receiving touchdowns? It's going to be awfully difficult. He now has 14 on the season, and with five games to go he'll need 10 more to get past the 23 receiving touchdowns recorded by Randy Moss in the 2007 season. The good news: His easy schedule continues next week, when he faces the 31st-ranked pass defense of the Denver Broncos.

Saul Good 12-03-2010 06:06 PM

Now, if we could just get a #1 receiver to play along-side of him, we'd be in business.

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