FanPost

The Importance of Being Dexter

That one hurt.  Bad.  Way worse IMO than the Houston loss or the Indianapolis loss.

Why, you ask?  (even if you don't, humor me.  It makes this easier if I pretend you're interested in my opinion)

Because in those games, we had some very SPECIFIC reasons why we lost the game.

Colts- We couldn't move the ball when it counted (a couple of different times in the 4th), and Bowe had an absolutely crucial drop.

Texans- Epic meltdown by our defense.

 Which BTW, does anyone else want to send the memo to RC that even though he's doing a great job, sending 3 to rush the passer never ever ever ever works in the NFL (OK, maybe one time in a hundred)?  That the QB's are too good at this level?  That if you've been containing an offense all day (such as against HOU and the Raiders) you should stick to what's been working in obvious passing downs?  That getting a pass rush is infinitely more valuable than having an extra guy (especially the painfully slow Vrabel) in coverage?  

 

Anyways, where was I?  Oh yeah, why this loss was so much harder to take.  Well, in this particular loss, there were MULTIPLE big reasons why we didn't put another W on the board.  You name it...  

-Bad playcalling and not using Jamaal Charles enough

-A terrible game for Thomas Jones

- Brandon Flowers getting uncharacteristically burned a few times

-Our defense in general collapsing

-Bad playcalling and not using Jamaal Charles enough

-Leaving points on the board with crucial mistakes

-Very poor ST day 

-Bad playcalling and not using Jamaal Charles enough

-A couple of horrible throws and a couple of utterly TERRIBLE drops late in the game (even Moeaki wasn't immune)

-Our offensive line getting dominated

-Did I mention that the playcalling was bad and we should've used Jamaal Charles more?  

 

But I'm going to look past all that stuff (because it is all pretty obvious, and where's the fun in that?), and I have a theory as to why our offense was so poor at times and couldn't seem to finish off drives.  

Two words, five syllables, a ridiculously cool name... Dexter McCluster.

 

"But MN, look at his stats!  He's only got 15 catches and 11 carries all year!  How could he have made that big a difference?"

True, but allow me to explain why I feel the way I do.

I'll offer an analogy that I used on craig earlier.  When you have 1 child, and you're about to have another, you expect to be about twice as difficult.  After all, 1+1=2, right?  Wrong.  

Having that second child makes it roughly 20 times harder.  Because all of a sudden, you can't switch off parenting anymore and have your wife cover for you.  One of the little anklebiters is always around, needing time and attention.  You go from getting frequent breaks to rarely getting a break.

We've got our 3rd on the way, and my father warned me that the 3rd child is the same way.  Suddenly, you have more kids than hands.  You literally cannot take care of all three at once, you need to divvy out time and attention.  And someone is always getting left out.  So again, 1+1+1 does NOT end up equalling 3.

I submit that it's the same way with playmakers.  When Dex is out, we've got Tony Moeaki, Dwayne Bowe, and Charles in there on passing downs.  Charles isn't always in there, so I'm going to talk specifically about our pass-catchers (in which I include Moeaki).

Basically, on any given pass play, the defense has to account for Bowe and Moeaki.  And that's it.  Two guys, and neither of them are elite right now (Moeaki may get there, but it'll take some time).  Neither are necessarily what you'd call a playMAKER.  Now given a little help, they can make some great plays, and occasionally do so on their own.  But it isn't consistent enough to label them a playmaker like Charles.

So what you've got is an average (though gutsy) QB who has basically two decent-but-not-great targets.  Let's face it, Chambers hasn't shown up this year.  All the defense has to do is account for two guys and they're pretty much set.  I'm pretty sure the defense can handle that and still blitz us whenever they feel like it.

When Charles goes out, it helps, but there's still the problem of too many defenders with not enough playmakers.  Defenses can key on Charles as he comes out of the backfield, and while he still sometimes makes plays (that's what playmakers do, after all), it's not enough to make up for our lack of explosiveness elsewhere.

Enter Dex.  He's the guy that all of a sudden makes the defense say, "Crap, we aren't getting any breaks anymore!  We can't afford to take a play off!  We need to account for everyone!"  

Let's be realistic and say that Bowe+Moeaki= One Legit Big-Time Playmaker.  When Dex and Charles are on the field with those 2, that gives us the magical number 3.  When all of a sudden the defense "runs out of hands" and has more than they can deal with on a consistent basis.

Now all of a sudden rather than, "Hey, let's smother Charles out of the backfield, do our best to keep a couple of guys on Bowe/Moeaki and rush the crap out of Cassel!", it's more of a, "Hey, make sure you've got a guy out there on Dex!  And Charles!  Watch Charles!  Hey, who's got Bowe?  And Moeaki?  Dangit guys we need more than one guy on Charles!  What are we gonna do?!  NO we can't blitz right now, we need guys in coverage!  What if they run?!"

It's the difference between the defense saying this

And this

 

Dex forces a defense to keep more guys in the secondary.  Dex makes people respect play fakes in his direction.  Dex helps spread the field when TJ is in at RB.  Dex requires time and attention, much like that 3rd child.  His presence cannot be quantified entirely by numbers, just like you can't explain why that 3rd kid is making it so much tougher by merely writing down when THAT particular kid needs attention.

Even if you go by a purely statistical standpoint, Dex adds an average of 3-4 1st downs a game for us.  That's a big deal for a team that needs every yard it can get.  Every 1st down he gets is 3 extra chances for JC to break one, or for us to get close enough to at least get a FG, or to punch it in for a TD when we're knocking on the door.  

I don't think it's a coincidence that Weis has been even more maddeningly conservative these last two games (not that I want to make excuses for him).  We're missing our 2nd best actual playMAKER.  And his absence has been felt in more ways than just statistically.  

While there are a LOT of reasons we lost this game, one of the biggest things I took out of it is we need Dex back in a big way.  We need our 3rd kid.  

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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