The first target was Alex's very first deep ball attempt of the preseason. As he usually does Baldwin lined up on the left side and ran straight deep (or so it appeared with my limited view). Along the way, his legs got tangled up either on his own or with the help of a defender.
Result: Incomplete. There was safety help so even without the slip it looked like a long shot to catch it.
The second Baldwin target came just two plays later. Baldwin stuck to the left sideline and Smith threw it fairly quickly to Baldwin's side but his pass was too far out of bounds.
The final target is the bad one, the one that folks are going to remember. Baldwin flat-out dropped the pass from Smith, which was right on the money. There's really nothing else to say -- it hit him in the chest, as you can see below, and he dropped it.
Result: Incomplete. Judging by Baldwin's reaction to the play, he knew it was one he should have caught.
It's that last drop that had Andy Reid talking after the game. Asked on Saturday about Baldwin, Reid made it clear that you have to catch the football.
"That's how it works, and he knows that and I know that," Reid said. "When we give you an opportunity, you have to make sure you take advantage of the opportunity."
Yikes. I didn't get the sense that Reid was "calling out" Baldwin or anything like that, just responding to a question, but his answer says it all. You gotta catch the football. That's a fundamental part of being a wide receiver. Alex Smith isn't targeting wide receivers like he's Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers so the Chiefs receivers have to capitalize when they are looked at and they have to catch the ball, especially when it hits them in the numbers.
Is Baldwin thinking too much? Is he not clicking with Alex? Can he run the West Coast offense routes? What is the deal? These are all things running through my head. Baldwin looks like the type of receiver I would create in Madden and use to catch 20 touchdowns. He sure looks the part. He just doesn't produce. And that's why this is so frustrating.
Everything looks like it should work but it just doesn't. In that sense, Baldwin is very much like my lawn mower, which was fixed with a tune-up. Does anyone know the best place in town to bring your wide receiver for a tune-up?