In the early stages of the offseason if you were to look at Chiefs receiver, Jon Baldwin, you’d probably think of the Incredible Hulk. A year ago Baldwin resembled Bruce Banner. He struggled mightily in his rookie campaign with injuries, terrible coaching and horrific quarterback play.
All those factors combined basically meant that his first season in the NFL was pretty awful. But in year two, that’s all changed. Baldwin came into the OTA and Mini-Camp sessions in Hulk-like form.
He appears to have completely washed away his rookie season and is intent on making sure that the distractions, bad luck and the label carried from his college days (that he was un-coachable), would be erased from his memory and the new regime in charge of coaching him up in 2012.
On Friday, Baldwin got his first real chance to assume the role of this teams top receiver. And unlike a year ago, with no real conditioning before camp or the ability to workout with his teammates or take instruction from his coaches, his quarterback, Matt Cassel, is eager to see what he can do on the field.
“I think he’s taking it day-to-day,” Cassel said of Baldwin. But his job is to make sure all the young guns on offense are on the same page and that means patience is they key right now.
“We know that we’ve got a long way to go, but I think every day for this team, for everybody individually, is about making strides each and every day and trying to get better each and every day and trying to minimize your mistakes.”
Those are all politically correct. But make no mistake about it, the key for Baldwin is his ability to understand all the nuances of this offense. So that means he can’t put his super human talent above the learning process.
“I am super motivated. You just have to keep working hard and critiquing yourself and don’t get complacent and stuck on being one way. I just want to get better and just continue to critique myself and take it from there,” Baldwin said.
And its that mental versatility that should put the coaching staff at ease. There is no question in his extreme talents. And last years inability to overcome all the distractions that come with being a first round draft pick, should serve him well this season to be a better teammate and find success in this offense.
“When you go to camp you want to build team camaraderie. That is one thing we want to do is have everybody get on the same page. With that being said, everybody wants to get better, period. We talk to each other about certain things, where they want us to be on certain routes, what we saw and it just makes us a better team,” the former Pittsburgh Panther said.
And what makes this Chiefs offense better is a healthy Baldwin who strives for perfection on every snap.
“The main thing, to tell you the truth, is just to try and make every play. That is one of my goals is to try to make those type of plays and to make plays, period,” he said.
If that happens, then the Chiefs offense might just become a group loaded with a few Superheros. And that means, Baldwin might just become the biggest baddest one of them all.
Other Chiefs Quotes from Friday:
TE Tony Moeaki - “No, that’s what keeps injury guys going to rehab every day, waking up going through the tough times cause you know the end goal is being back on the field.”
RB Jamaal Charles - “I feel better. I feel good. I feel like I have my mojo’s back, I’m happy and comfortable out there and I am ready to go. I feel good to be back on the field again. I am blessed.”
DT Dontari Poe - “I play football. That’s what I’m here to do. Whatever my coaches tell me to do, I’m guessing that’ll be the best thing for me. So for me to just listen to people and say I’m ready to this or do that because they said something, that’d be wrong on me. I’m just here to work my hardest and do the best I can.”
QB Matt Cassel - “I think every year is a big year. There’s no doubt about it. Coming into my fourth year now, it’s a big year. I think it’s a big year for this organization, for this team. We’ve got, I think, one of the most talented teams that we’ve had since I’ve been here, so hopefully we can capitalize on it again. It starts now, so it starts developing that relationship and also getting ready for Atlanta because Atlanta is going to be here before we know it.”
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Can Wide Receiver Jon Baldwin elevate his game to Superhero status?
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