Earlier this afternoon, we learned that Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is headed for a one-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. While I’m sure that Bowe and the team are pleased this wasn’t a longer suspension, this will have an impact on offensive possibilities in Week 1. The wide receiver group in Kansas City has talent, but not much live game experience. Donnie Avery is the team’s No. 2 receiver, but his 2013 performance leaves serious questions about his ability to pick up the slack in Bowe’s stead.
Let’s take a quick look at a few ways Bowe’s suspension might affect the team:
1. Junior Hemingway & A.J. Jenkins seem safer today.
Assuming no outside help from late-August cuts at wide receiver, I have to think the team will want a veteran presence, with time in the offense, to replace Bowe in the game with the Titans. I’m still not exactly sure which receivers will round out the position on the final roster, but between Weston Dressler, Frankie Hammond, Albert Wilson, Mark Harrison, and Kyle Williams, there isn’t much NFL experience. Despite missing training camp time due to injuries, I believe this suspension paves the way for Hemingway, Jenkins, or both to make the 53-man roster.
2. Expect Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce to be targeted early and often.
Alex Smith played most of the 2013 season without the benefit of stability at the tight end position. His top two targets in that group played just 9 total games last year. With Fasano and Kelce healthy in 2014, they’re likely to occupy a larger share of the Chiefs’ passing offense. Sans the team’s No. 1 receiver, they’ll be an important part of mounting a sufficient passing game in the home opener.
Kansas City has to keep the Titans’ defense honest. If Tennessee can stack the box and keep Jamaal Charles confined, Andy Reid’s offense could have trouble scoring points. Another less obvious drawback to the Bowe suspension is the impact it’ll have on the Chiefs’ run game. Bowe doubles as both the team’s best pass-catching wide receiver and run blocker. Reid may try to compensate for the loss with two tight end sets.
3. Late-August cuts may now be of particular note to John Dorsey.
As previously mentioned, this is a young wide receiver group with few real NFL snaps under its belt. The team’s general manager will probably keep a close eye on forthcoming cuts to see if he can add a veteran presence to the fold. Where’s Chad Hall when you need him? This situation could play squarely into the hands of Kyle Williams (should he make the team). Beyond Bowe and Avery, he’s the next most senior member of the receiving corps and he may have a leg up over the young wideouts vying for a roster spot. Williams has familiarity with Alex Smith, as the two were formerly teammates in San Francisco.
4. Quick-twitch receivers may present intriguing and exploitable matchups.
Kansas City’s fourth-round pick of the 2014 NFL Draft is already earning his stripes as a returnman. De’Anthony Thomas’ 80-yard punt return for a touchdown in the preseason opener was an indication of how explosive he figures to be on Special Teams. Bowe’s suspension may open the door for Thomas to get reps on offense early in the regular season. Between De’Anthony Thomas, hopeful Albert Wilson, and their exceptional speed, Reid can create interesting matchups to help spread Tennessee’s defense out and discourage them from crowding the line of scrimmage.
We’d love to hear from you now! What challenges do you think Bowe’s suspension presents to the Chiefs’ offense in Game 1? Does his absence hinder what Reid and company can accomplish against the Titans? Does the team have a suitable replacement for Bowe that can take pressure off of Donnie Avery? Will the suspension change offensive coordinator Doug Pederson’s Week 1 gameplan? Use the comment section below to weigh in! As always, we appreciate your readership and support. Be sure to check back for my regularly-scheduled weekly column on Tuesday at 10am (Arrowhead Time).
Until next time, Addicts!
Tags: Kansas City Chiefs