WR Lance Long has quickly established himself as a major part of the of the Kansas City Chiefs offense. In just two games, he's been targeted more often than Dwayne Bowe, Bobby Wade or any other Chiefs receiver so it's clear that he's becoming a favorite Matt Cassel target.
"Well there’s a reason why he’s on the field on Sunday," Cassel told reporters today. "Obviously the coaches noticed something and noticed that he had a spark and he’s definitely got a great skill-set and a great skill level. He came out Sunday, he prepares hard, he works hard, he’s diligent about what he does, and he came out and he performed.
"Anytime he gets open and I’m able to get him the ball, that’s a good thing."
And get open he does. Last Sunday, he was targeted 11 times and caught eight balls - both team highs.
Long is a soft-spoken guy who you can tell has played under Todd Haley before. I talked to him a few weeks ago in the locker room after he had been taken out of the Chargers game getting knocked in the head pretty good. It was all team, team, team when reporters asked him questions so he's bought into the Haley program.
Unfortunately, not everything is perfect.
While he had an impressive outing against the Jaguars, considering it was his second game, there was one mistake he made that ended up being a major one.
"I think Lance should have been a bright spot," Haley began, "if he had stayed in bounds at the end of the [Jacksonville game] half, which was a killer. It probably cost us points unfortunately. So, what should have been a bright spot for me as a coach it’s hard to overlook that gaffe."
Indeed Long's mistake was crucial and probably stings for Haley a little more since he's coached him before.
With six receivers currently on the roster, it's unlikely all of them will play. As Josh Looney said today, Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers are likely safe from being deactivated on Sunday.
As for Long? Well, he's got the stats to show he belongs on the field but, according to Haley, "stats are for losers."
We'll see this weekend when the inactive list how major Long's mistake really was.