Dwayne Bowe didn't enter the Kansas City Chiefs game against the Houston Texans until about 4:24 left in the second quarter. The release of the depth chart earlier in the week placed Bowe with the third team. Though it was reiterated by coach Todd Haley and others that it's not set in stone, Bowe did end up playing with the Chiefs' third stringers on Saturday night.
The result? Five catches for 70 yards. That's not surprising considering the secondary he was going up against will be anxiously awaiting to see if they're on the cut list in three weeks, but what was surprising happened after the game.
Bowe was nowhere to be found. We waited for him in the locker room but he apparently slipped out unnoticed before anyone could ask questions. Over the past two years, I was told he's been one of the fun interviews after a good game. But Bowe's no dummy and knew the only response the media was looking for was to questions about playing with the third team and not the first.
If Haley intended to send a message, then it's been received. Last year at this time, the topic of conversation was the 'D. Bowe Show'. This year, the silence speaks volumes.
The bottomline is that Bowe is far and away the best receiver on the team and I believe Haley knows that. If the head coach is going to stick to his mantra that the best player will play then Bowe needs to be out on the field with the first stringers.
Mark Bradley had a nice 22 yard reception but other than that no receiver showed he should have been ahead of Bowe. Todd Haley didn't place blame on the receivers but it was fairly clear to me that this team will struggle with him on the field less rather than more.
Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star argued that the "feud" between Haley and Bowe needs to end.
I’m all for discipline. And I’m all for embarrassing Bowe into carrying himself like a professional.
But you have to discipline Bowe in a way that makes sense for everyone, including KC’s new and unproven $60 million quarterback.
That pretty much nails it. The Chiefs are dealing with a player who, whether the coach admits it or not, is paid like a franchise quarterback. And that quarterback needs the team's best receiver on the field. Anything else is silly, in my opinion, which is why it's clear to me that this "feud", as Whitlock calls it, won't last into the regular season when the game start to count.
Haley commented on the progress, or lack thereof, of the Bowe-less first team offense.
"I would have liked to have definitely done more with that first group," Haley said. "But again, we got a holding penalty that put us in a hole. We got a false start by the tackle which got us out of a manageable situation and into a not so manageable situation. That’s really the thing we have to take out of it. We need to be a smart football team to think we have a chance to win."
Haley did, however, at least recognize Bowe's presence on the field. "I thought Dwayne came out tonight and, really, in the last two days at practice in training camp saw that he’s definitely started to show up. In this game I thought he definitely showed up. That to me was a definite positive, without a doubt."
However, he quickly pointed out that it's going to be guys doing it the right way. "But again, like I said, we’re going to play the guys that we think are doing it the way we want it done. That was the way we went tonight, but again that can change."
Getting guys on the same page is important. And getting guys to do it the Haley way is important. But you're not going to tell me Bowe wasn't clearly the No. 1 receiver on the field tonight and that's the result that should matter.