It is no secret that the Chiefs need help at the receiver position but is the answer to their problems already on the roster?
No, I am not talking about Chris Chambers. Though I think the Chiefs should resign Chambers, he certainly isn’t the answer to the problem. Not to mention that he is no spring chicken. Players over 30 are always a little dangerous to rely on.
I am also not talking about Dwayne Bowe, though I wish I were. After a successful rookie campaign, Bowe has been mired in mediocrity. He showed steady improvement in his 2nd year but his 3rd season, the season many Chiefs fans hoped would be his coming out party, was ruined by a terrible offense, dropped passes and a 4 game suspension. Bowe still has time to make the jump to being an elite receiver but the only thing he has proven thus far is that he is unreliable.
No, I am talking about another receiving underachiever on the roster who might just have a chance to flourish under new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.
I am talking about Devard Darling.
Remember Devard? Brought in by the Carl Peterson/Herm Edwards regime, Darling has been underwhelming since he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 3rd round. Darling was plagued by injuries in Baltimore and his career never really took off. Then again, he had Kyle Boller throwing him passes.
His first season in KC was underwhelming as well. In 2008, Darling had only 17 catches for 247 yards and 1 TD. Most fans probably remember his catch in the season opener vs. the Patriots when he was caught from behind and tackled at the 5-yard line when a TD would have tied the game. Darling was eventually relegated to a backup role and wasn’t heard from much for the rest of the season.
When Todd Haley arrived last off-season, Darling appeared to be an early favorite of the rookie head coach. Darling was the #1 wide receiver in training camp, along with Terrance Copper. Dwayne Bowe eventually pushed Copper into a special teams role and Darling blew out his knee in a pre-season game, ending his season.
Darling should have a chance to come back this season and make a run at a starting role. He is only 27 years old and has suffered though some pretty volatile QB situations since he came in to the league. He possesses pretty good speed and has the tools to be a decent receiver.
I understand that Chiefs fans are probably over Darling at this point. If he hasn’t shown he can be productive in Baltimore or in KC in 08’ why should we believe he could do it coming off a major knee injury in 2010?
I don’t know if Darling will ever develop into anything other than an often-injured special teams player. Though given that Charlie Weiss managed to make productive receivers out of the likes of David Patten and Deion Branch, isn’t he worth another look? The Chiefs have next to no one at WR at this point and beggars can’t be choosers.
Scott Pioli may not be able to get the Chiefs a game breaking WR this off-season due to a plethora of other needs but I could see a WR committee of Bowe, Chambers and Darling working out reasonably well in a Weis run offense, so long as the receivers can hold on to the ball. Maybe…
If the Chiefs could develop Darling into a decent #2/3 option to go along with Chambers, he could provide a nice boost to the offense. Say, 1000 yards for Bowe, 800 for Chambers and 400 for Darling?
What do you think, Addicts? Is Darling worth another look or should the Chiefs send him the way of Mark Bradley and start fresh?