Dwayne Bowe is making elite wide receiver money for the Kansas City Chiefs so it should be very worrisome that the leading receiver for the Chiefs in 2013 was a running back.
Jamaal Charles had 70 catches, 693 receiving yards, and 7 touchdown receptions. Dwayne Bowe’s season fell short – 57 catches, 673 yards, and 5 scoring grabs.
Was Bowe’s underwhelming production just another example of his inconsistent performances on a year-to-year basis, or an indication of a level of discomfort in the Andy Reid‘s version of the West Coast Offense. Or is Bowe just a bad fit for this offense.
The answer probably is a bit of all of these things. We know in his career, Bowe has mixed in two or three excellent seasons, with a couple of mediocre to decent years, and a couple of stinkers, including 2013.
One of the basic tenets of the West Coast Offense is to make quick, short passes, then the receiver can run with the ball after he catches it. Bowe has never been particularly good at this. In his 7-year career, the only time Bowe’s Yards After Catch exceeded 5 yards was in 2007, his rookie campaign, when he went for 5.1 yards after pulling in the balls.
His worst two seasons were in 2009 and last year, averaging just 3.5 yards after the catch. In Bowe’s defense, he has not had the most accurate quarterbacks in the world throwing to him. Over the years, countless balls have been thrown behind him, and his feet, and over his head. There have been way to few times where a quarterback has thrown the ball to Bowe in stride.
Bowe isn’t the quickest or fastest receiver around either. He is strong, and when focused, he can go up and get a ball with anyone.
This past season, with Alex Smith running the offense, probably the best quarterback Bowe has played with, the big veteran receiver struggled. The first half of the season, the whole offense seemed to struggled. Bowe just never really got on track.
Watching every game from the comfort of my recliner, on my big screen hi-def TV, with stop and rewind capabilities, I would freeze the action at times to see if Bowe was open, and if Smith either didn’t have time, or didn’t see Bowe. Bowe seldom seemed open.
As the season progressed, I paid more and more attention to Bowe. He just couldn’t seem to get open much. He seldom got separation, and the Chiefs seldom made the back shoulder throw to their big man, something Bowe, with his size and strength, should be good at.
There was also the issue that Bowe had very little help in the receiver department to take some of the pressure off him in the passing game. Charles and Dexter McCluster were getting plenty of screen passes underneath, but there was little action down field.
There were not at lot of down field options for Smith to throw to, and Bowe was usually covered by the opponents best corner back, with safety help over the top.
The Chiefs have to find someone who can be a threat in passing game outside of screen passes to compliment Bowe.
With a full season under their belt in this offense, the hope is Bowe will be more comfortable in Reid’s offense. Hopefully, Smith and Bowe can develop the trust and confidence in each other necessary for a successful quarterback/receiver tandem.
Reid has to find a way, either with his game planning, of with better personnel (both please), to free Bowe up somewhat to be a more viable target.
Bowe has the talent. His 2010 and 2011 seasons prove it (153 catches, 2.321 yards, 20 touchdowns in those 2 seasons). Now, he has to have the desire, focus, and dedication to return to those numbers at the age of 30 (late September). The Chiefs offense will be so much better if Dwayne Bowe is a productive, 1,000-yard receiver again.
The Chiefs are going to need Dwayne Bowe to be better. The offense will probably struggle a bit if he doesn’t. It would be great to see, bit I’m not convinced Bowe will be The Man again for the Kansas City Chiefs in the passing game.