The reports out of OTA’s and training camp are unanimous – Jon Baldwin is poised to have a breakout year. He’s been described as “a monster” who hasn’t dropped a pass yet. Observers are saying his chemistry with Cassel is real after an off-season of workouts together.
This is great news. I love Baldwin. I agree heartily that 2012 will be huge for the second year player, and one worthy of a first round pick. And given how hard Baldwin has worked for the past year and a half, in the face of adversity with the Thomas Jones incident and the lack of an offseason last year, he deserves all the accolades he’s earned thus far.
To make things even rosier for us Chiefs fans, we have all of our offensive playmakers back – Charles and Moeaki look to be in pre-ACL form, Breaston looks as sharp than ever, McCluster looks as fast as ever, and we’ve added Peyton Hillis as well as promising backups Devon Wylie, Cyrus Gray, Josh Bellamy, Junior Hemingway and more.
The icing on the cake is Brian Daboll, who is chomping at the bit with all of these high performance chess pieces to put into his diabolical schemes. He is reportedly a wizard game planner with an aggressive, attacking style.
So why am I not exceedingly happy about our offense?
It’s because I can imagine what the new Jon Baldwin would be with Dwayne Bowe on the field. Remember Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin? Remember Jerry Rice and John Taylor? Remember Lynn Swann and John Stallworth? Remember Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne? That’s what Baldwin and Bowe can become.
Without Bowe, Baldwin gets the #1 cornerback on him at all times, as well as the double team. With Bowe on the field, Baldwin likely gets the #2 cornerback on him at all times. In real terms, that means instead of Champ Bailey (I know, he’s getting older, but Champ is still damn good) on Baldwin, Baldwin can terrorize Tracy Porter or a new rookie starter for the Broncos. When we play the Raiders, whose secondary will have two completely new cornerbacks, Baldwin will just destroy their #2 cornerback, with Bowe on the field.
I do not want to take anything away from Breaston and the crop of new young receivers we have. But Dwayne Bowe is a known, dominant force. Defenses must game plan around him. At least for the first half of the season, when opponents won’t have as much scouting on Baldwin, Baldwin will eat up these #2 cornerbacks. And then what will defensive coordinators do during halftime? Move the #1 corner to Baldwin? Take the double team from Bowe? Let’s hope they do, because then the Bowe Show moves to the second half!
In my many years of being an Addict, we finally have an offense that is near perfect on paper. It reminds of the Vermeil years. I cannot tell you how disappointed I will be, after all these years, if we do not get all the chess pieces on the board so that we can realize our full offensive potential, because of a contract dispute.
I’m not going to get into whose fault it is that Bowe isn’t in camp. The rules are complicated and each side has their own rationale and interests to protect. I’m just saying, put the man on the field. It’s no surprise that some national pundits are saying the Chiefs may be a surprise Super Bowl contender. Without Bowe, those predictions fall empty.
It’s truly these types of things – character, leadership, getting all of your guys signed up and on the field – that separate the teams that go deep into the playoffs, and those whose seasons end on December 30.
Addicts, how important do you think it is to have Bowe back, or are we fine without him?