There are so many angles you can take on the emergence of Dwayne Bowe for the Kansas City Chiefs. Lord knows we've taken a few. But the bottom line is obvious: on an offense that struggled on a gargantuan level, for a franchise that has had a historical problem finding good WRs, even moreso with elite WRs, playing a position that statistically struggles in their first year, Bowe was a shocking revelation of talent, personality, and leadership.
There's not a lot you can do to spin that negatively, but the Bleacher Report sure tries, with an article this past Saturday titled The Tragedy of Dwayne Bowe, arguing that Bowe's immense talent is being squandered on a mediocre offense:
Bowe has the perfect body for football. He's 6-foot-2 and 221 pounds, big for an NFL receiver. He can go through the middle and take the most brutal hits. He has breakaway speed, running a 4.5 forty even in high school. He connected with 2007 top draft pick JaMarcus Russell on 23 touchdowns during their career, an LSU school record. All these things caused him to be a hyped draft pick.
Then all these things disappeared in one moment. The Kansas City Chiefs picked him with the 23rd overall pick in the 2007 draft.
No one predicted this would kill his career.
And on it goes:
A year of these two quarterbacks splitting time, plus the biggest o-line failure of all time caused the high scoring offense to drop to last place. They were 4-11. They had nine straight losses to end their season.
Bowe, at least tried. He caught 70 passes for 995 yards. He had six touchdown catches. Those are remarkably good numbers for a receiver, and not usually the numbers of a failure.
Now with the Chiefs still looking to be horrible on the offensive end, Bowe will again underachieve. He won't play to his full potential until he is on a different team.
I like the Chiefs, but I like Bowe more. I don't want them to pull down a career that could put him among the game's greatest. Please, Herm, do Bowe a favor and trade him. If this never happens, it will be the biggest tragedy since Romeo and Juliet.
I'm not exactly sure why this article's author, the pornstar-named Dallas Wilson, woke up Saturday morning with a Jonesin' for some serious Chiefs hatred, but this article is as fatalistic as the day is long.
A few responses come to mind, most notably an article by KcChiefs.com's Bob Gretz written exactly a year ago, titled What To Expect From Bowe. In that article, Gretz featured some impressive research detailing exactly how hard it is for rookie wide receivers to succeed in their first year in the league.
It included this chart, which features the rookie stats of twenty five of the best WRs in the NFL:
In case you've forgotten from earlier in the article, Bowe's rookie yardage tops that of 21 of the 25 best WRs that currently play in the NFL. If that's a rookie wide receiver "underachieving," Mr. Wilson, I'm sorry to disappoint...
In addition to that, I think it's incredibly premature to sign Bowe's career tombstone. Wide receivers have long shelf-lives in the NFL. Eddie Kennison spear-headed the Chiefs' receiving attack during the offense's heyday and he was well into his thirties. Scanning the list of the WRs above reveals that a large number of them are over 30. And Dwayne Bowe is 23-years-old. He's got a decade left to be a premier wide receiver.
And the Chiefs offense has plenty of time to catch up with him. There's no reason to believe that with a seasoned Croyle throwing the ball, a better offensive line, a better rushing attack, and an offensive coordinator who isn't among the league's worse, it can't.
There's some unwritten rule in Mr. Wilson's playbook that dictates that rebuilding teams aren't allowed promising superstars to build around. Perhaps we should dump Tamba Hali, Glenn Dorsey, Derrick Johnson, and Jarrad Page too, so they can have hopes of thriving on more historically successful franchises. Maybe the Lions, Cardinals, and Vikings should do the same. How dare these teams, forever destined for failure, be allowed superstar talent. Perhaps the Chiefs shouldn't have existed in the first place, and spared Mr. Wilson his devastating grief.
Or maybe this fatalist perspective is too cheap and cynical to take seriously. And maybe this rebuilding project could pay enormously successful dividends down the road. It is not hard to imagine Dwayne Bowe being a large part of that turn-around.