The D-Bowe Show: Back For The Fall Lineup?


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In TV Land, there’s nothing worse than having your favorite show “jump the shark” before your very eyes (I’m looking at you Law & Order: Special Victims Unit). For at least half of Chiefs Kingdom, that’s exactly what happened with wide receiver Dwayne Bowe in 2014. Despite fifteen starts, he posted the second-worst single season totals of his seven-year career. It didn’t take long for Bowe’s growing group of detractors to lament the contract extension he’d received in the spring. We saw him briefly return to form in the postseason matchup with the Indianapolis Colts, but what he’ll be going forward is anyone’s guess.

Chemistry, between cast members, is a key ingredient for a successful show. When new actors are cast, it’s important that they integrate well into a pre-existing reality. Failure to do so can derail the show. In the SVU case, there’ve been real questions about the addition of actors Kelli Giddish (Det. Amanda Rollins) and Danny Pino (Det. Nick Amaro). Their individual story arcs were sometimes wonky and took too much away from the overall direction of the series. Such may also have been true of quarterback Alex Smith.

Make no mistake, I think Alex Smith is perfectly suited for Andy Reid’s West Coast offense, but I’m not sure he’s the kind of quarterback who meshes well with Dwayne Bowe. At least not in year one. Smith is risk-averse and isn’t particularly fond of throwing into a tight window. Bowe’s not much of a quick-twitch receiver and his route-running leaves a bit to be desired. See the problem tbere? D-Bowe forces Alex Smith out of his comfort zone. We all knew it would take time for the passing game to develop its rhythm. What wasn’t so apparent was how much Bowe’s skillset would be out of balance with Alex Smith’s tendency to avoid risky throws.

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For the two to be a productive quarterback-wide receiver tandem, Smith has to be able to trust Bowe. Throwing the football to a well-covered Bowe has to pay dividends and can’t be consistently dangerous. He has to prove he’ll fight for the ball in traffic and come away with the ball. Bowe didn’t always do the best job of that to start the 2013 season. In a Week 4 game with the New York Giants, Bowe ran a lethargic route and allowed Prince Amukamara to cross his face. He lost position and Alex Smith was picked off. The next two games he was targeted just an average of five times per contest.

The playoff loss to the Colts proved to be Bowe’s coming out party. He finished the day with 8 catches, 150 receiving yards, and a 6-yard touchdown. Smith targeted him 13 times in the game (the second-highest total of the season). In fact, over the last nine games of the season (including the playoffs), there were four games where Smith threw in Bowe’s direction ten times or more (there were none in the first eight). That, I think, is a testament to the level of trust he developed for his best receiver. I think he’ll have much more confidence in Bowe in 2014 after a full season of familiarizing himself with him.

I expect Bowe to rebound next year. Earning the trust of a quarterback who tends to play it safe is essential to becoming one of his favorite targets. There simply is no better wideout on this football team and Alex Smith knows it. For the passing offense to continue to take a step forward, he’ll need the help of the former LSU Tiger. Whether or not Bowe can capitalize on those opportunities remains to be seen.

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Bowe’s offseason has been marred by his mid-November arrest for possession of marijuana. The charges were dropped last month, but there are still lingering questions about why a soon-to-be 30-year old Bowe still has maturity issues. He says he’s a changed man. During the offseason, he hired a personal trainer and a nutritionist to help him get into the best shape of his NFL career.

He has shown the ability to bounce back from adversity. After he was suspended for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy in 2009, he returned the following year and posted career bests in four statistical categories (receiving yards, yards-per-catch, yards-per-game, and touchdowns). That season marked his only trip to the NFL’s Pro Bowl. A comparable season would be a great way to re-establish himself, win fans back, and maybe help him avoid “cancellation.” The Kingdom will have to tune in to find out if “The Show” recovers or if it’s headed for a series finale.

What say you? Can Dwayne Bowe put his past behind him and return to form? Are more of the troubled wide receiver’s demons lying in wait? Have Bowe’s physical gifts diminished or was 2013 just a perfect storm of offensive hurdles? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Use the comment section below to chime in. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.

Until next time, Addicts!

 

 

Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • Nick the Kick

    Thanks Stacy for writing an article on my favorite football site that allows me to complain about NBC. They cancelled my favorite returning network show Revolution and the best new network show Believe so that reheated tripe like Chicago Fire and Chicago PD can continue sucking IQ points out of people’s heads. It’s almost as bad as the Bowe contract. But, I agree that Bowe is the worst sort of wr for a risk averse qb like Smith. Maybe with a season and another full off-season in the system he can earn that “I’m open even when I’m covered” trust.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      One can only hope. Smith seemed much more comfortable as the year wore on. He targeted him 26 times in the two games that sandwiched the bye week.

  • Daniel Mayfield

    IMO, Bowe will bounce back. I’m just hoping that they can find a way to get the defenders to stop putting double coverage on him.
    That’s 1 reason I was hoping that they would get a FA or draft 1. But with the article before, the receivers do have good hands.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Hopefully he’ll get some fleet-footed help. I really hope the team inquires about Denarius Moore.

      • Daniel Mayfield

        That name sounds familiar….is he a FA or undrafted player?
        Thinking he is a FA off of the Raiders.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Raiders wideout who might be on the block.

      • Calchiefsfan

        Could be interesting, if we could get him at the right price. Is he a guy who never lived up to his potential or is he another good player that got sucked into the black hole of mediocrity? If it’s the latter than it could be quite a pick up by Dorsey.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Moore’s been inconsistent, but he’s also been hampered by some pretty bad quarterback play. What he has been though is a guy who can stretch the field and find the end zone. He’s averaged better than 5 TD’s a season since being drafted. He’d come in and shake that race for the No. 2 wide receiver spot up.

          • Calchiefsfan

            I have a lot of faith in Dorsey right now, (he’s definitely earned it). We need a number two no doubt. Any receiver that was available at 23 was probably going to take a year to develop. I would just as soon see the Chiefs get a seasoned vet like Moore if Dorsey thinks it’s the right fit.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            I think it’s going to be tough to pry him away from a division rival for a reasonable price. IF he’s even on the block. Most of what I’m reading at the moment is just a lot of speculation.

          • Calchiefsfan

            What else have we got to do but speculate this time of year?

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Touche.

  • Stan Colbert

    Great article! I would also add the level of rest of receiving core enabled teams to double Bowe. It is amazing to see highlights of Bowes receptions and see him being hit and bouncing off DBs. The better his mates the more he can be, also Andy seemed to be able to place him better season end. If he doesn’t get frustrated and start running those lethargic routes again.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Thanks, Stan!

  • Calchiefsfan

    Really excellent article Stacy. I think you’re exactly on the money about the fit between Bowe and Smith. I’m expecting Reid to push both of them out of their comfort zone and stretch them into better players. In order for Smith to grow to the next level he has to take a few more chances and trust his abilities. I’m also expecting a bounce back year for Bowe. It seems to be his mo, a bad year and everyone starts doubting him so he gets to work and plays to his potential. His inconsistency has been the story of his career but when he’s on he’s one of the best. We’ll need him to be on this year.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      That’s a great point about Reid and I hope you’re right. If he pushes the two, they could be one of the best quarterback-wide receiver tandems in the West.

      • Calchiefsfan

        As much of a fan I am of Smith his adversity to going long as well as putting it in tight windows is holding him back. If Reid can get him to take more calculated risks he might be able to shake that game manager moniker. He showed he could do it against the Colts as well as in that playoff game with the Saints.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          He’ll take his shots when they’re there. Should he challenge single coverage more often? Perhaps. I’m okay with him being calculated though. He knows when to turn it on and when to take a shot down the field. I’m good with that.

          • Calchiefsfan

            Once Smith gets comfortable with Bowe and knows his tendencies I think he’ll know when to target him and where to put the ball. Bowe’s target to catch ratio sucked last year. I’m expecting to see a lot of improvement there.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            The more he comes away with it in traffic, the more Smith will trust him.

          • Calchiefsfan

            That’s my thinking. If that’s the case, this year could be a lot of fun for all of us.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            And imagine how good he can be with effective tight end and No. 2 wide receiver play?

          • Calchiefsfan

            That’s funny, I just said the same thing in response to your comment above. I think Reid is going to have this offense humming this year, (as long as the O line holds). It’s Sutton and the D that I’m most concerned about.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            I think Sutton’s only limited to how consistent he can be with his preferred schemes. He had to play a lot of soft coverage last year and that hurt us quite a bit. I think he’s at his best when he can be aggressive. That will depend on the kind of play we can get from the free safety position. I’m a lot more confident in Abdullah than most, but we won’t know until we see him out there.

          • Calchiefsfan

            This will be Abdullah’s second year back. He seemed to play better at the end of last year. Maybe it just took him a year to get his NFL legs back. I was never a big Lewis fan so to me anything is an upgrade.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            He was nails in the playoff game.

          • Calchiefsfan

            I’m looking at DAT as our new McCluster except better.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Hard not to be excited about that kid. I hate to make predictions this early, but he could be the best rookie of the class in year one. Simply because he’s so versatile and will see so much of the field between offense and special teams.

          • Calchiefsfan

            I’m hoping he catches on quickly and doesn’t need a year like most rookie receivers. He should still be deadly on special teams.

    • Daniel Mayfield

      Yeah, good 1. Like how I was thinking earlier about him. His 2009 season

      • Stacy D. Smith

        I watched Reid and Smith open the offense up quite a bit in that Indianapolis game. I can’t wait to see what happens with a full year under everyone’s belt.

      • Calchiefsfan

        Smith is smart, I’m betting he’ll figure it out. If anyone can get him to stretch himself it’s Reid. This will be the best QB coach he has ever worked with. I want to see that bombs over Baghdad this year :)

        • Stacy D. Smith

          I just want to see a balanced offense that can hurt you in a number of ways.

          • Calchiefsfan

            Kelce, Dressler, DAT and an improved Avery, Jenkins or Hemingway could go a long way in that.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            I’m putting more responsibility on the vets like Fasano and Avery, but if 1 or 2 young players can step up, look out!

          • Calchiefsfan

            I think Dressler is going to be interesting to watch. I hear he’s been turning heads in the OTA’s.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            I can’t really take the OTA reports seriously. I’ve been vocal about how long the odds are for Dressler. I won’t start paying attention until he shows up in St. Joseph. If he’s still impressing the staff there, he’ll be under my watchful eye.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Thanks for reading, CCF!

  • LeVar Hill

    That’s what I’ve been telling people that bowe always had great numbers with garbage quarterbacks because they were willing to throw in double coverage and it worked. Take for instance the Tennessee game in 2010 Cassel threw into triple coverage for a 56 yard td to bowe, don’t believe me youtube it. Yes I think bowe will have a bounce back year due to better chemistry with smith. My prediction is 70 catches, 1112 yards and 11 td’s 15.8 ypc I think Alex throws for 30+ touchdowns this year ok enough. I can’t wait for the season.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      There were five defenders in the area. I’m not sure Alex Smith makes that throw, but I think they’re going to be good friends in 2014.

      • LeVar Hill

        Yes sir I think so too. Alex has got to feed the beast.

  • Keane Santos

    Completely agree with most of what you wrote above – nice piece.

    I’m optimistic about Bowe’s upcoming season but I don’t think it’ll be his best year statistically. Still, Bowe seems like a solid teammate overall, blocks well and I love seeing him in the locker room after leading the team in post-game speeches. Some may see maturity issues but I see a lot of aspects of a leader as well. I hope he adapts to Alex as much as Alex adapts to him, there has to be a middle ground.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Hard to turn in a better single-season performance than he did in 2010. I’ll take a rack and, say, 8 TD’s though.

  • Hawthorne

    How long Bowe is around probably depends on Hemingway’s continued development. Right now he (Bowe) is the one shining light in our receiver core, but if other decent options exist, we may be saying goodbye to our huge cap hit sooner than later.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      A lot has to happen for me to be comfortable with that. Hemingway has a LOT to prove.

      • Hawthorne

        Agreed, I don’t think it will be this year, but looking ahead to 2015 I think Bowe is going to have to go. Too much talent at more important positions that we need to lock up. Hemingway may not be the guy, but in the next couple years someone probably will be.

  • spellchecker66

    The Bowe show is the real deal. It takes two to tango. It wasn’t just Alex Smith’s reluctance to trust Bowe; but rather Andy Reid’s offense which over relies on passes to the running back. So called “fans” used to complain about Eddie Kennison’s lack of production; but there was NO WAY he could put up numbers comparable to other number one receivers when Tony Gonzalez was getting 100 catches a year.

  • spellchecker66

    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit hasn’t jumped the shark just like Married with Children kept getting better and better.