Photo: Denny Medley USA Today Sports
On Friday night against the New Orleans Saints, wide receiver/return specialist, Dexter McCluster, made the most of his time on the field. He had a big punt return and a key reception. So is he back as a fixture in KC’s new offense and special teams?
I admit I’ve been a little hard on Kansas City Chiefs Receiver, Dexter McCluster, and honestly ’m not sure the reason. It probably stems from the bang he made as a rookie on special teams and on KC’s offense at the onset of his NFL career. But since that first season, McCluster has been sort of a nowhere man for this football team.
Now was that all is fault? Some perhaps but you have to agree that the offensive play calling, game planning and coaching was abominable the last three years. But with Head Coach, Andy Reid, installing a new offense, a man of McCluster’s talents could be exploited by the Chiefs and feared by their opponents.
Still it’s an adjustment and McCluster has to get up to speed in Reid’s new offense. This offense is perfectly suited for his talents. Its design is to feature short passes that allow he and his offensive brethren the ability to make yards after the catch.
“We know that the short passes are going to come. We just have to secure the catch and make plays after that. The most important thing is to secure the catch. After that, we know the big plays will come. If we keep grinding, the short plays will turn into touchdowns,” McCluster said after Monday’s morning practice.
And that’s the ultimate goal in KC’s new offensive attack. This team isn’t void of playmakers. It does have All Pro Running Back, Jamaal Charles, on the roster – who by the way left practice on Monday with a foot sprain – and receivers Dwayne Bowe, Jon Baldwin (ok that’s iffy) and burner, Donny Avery.
Add that to a trio of tight ends, Anthony Fasano, Tony Moeaki and rookie Travis Kelce, and this offense has the potential to score lots of points in the Red Zone. That means everyone has to be ready to make a play.
”“Right now, with this offense, everybody is everywhere. There is no set slot, there is no set outside person. Right now, you just have to be in the right spot at the right time and ultimately you are going to get the ball. What I see is opportunities to get the ball wherever,” he said.
That means the whatever is going to be huge for this football team in its quest to compete with the Denver Broncos for AFC West supremacy.
However, in order for that to happen, McCluster has to grow into his role as a man who can make plays every time he touches the ball. So that means, his confidence level has to be very high whenever he has the rock in his hands.
It also means he must contribute on both the offense and special teams. Against the Saints he had a solid punt return that brought flashbacks to his rookie season when at times, he was a feared return man.
So could this be the year he serves both masters for his football team?
Talent is a given, but if this Chiefs team is going to rise above their 2012 season of disappointment, it may boil to finding a sufficient number of leaders this football team has been void of in its recent past.
”I think we had that leadership, it never went anywhere. I just think now we have multiple leaders and that is putting us in great situations,” McCluster said.
As a Chiefs fan, those are good words to hear because those remarks are dead on. The last several years not many players stepped up on and off the field. Under the former regime, that was sort of not tolerated.
But 2013 is different. And one of the men that McCluster may have been referring to is his quarterback, Alex Smith. So how has KC’s new signal caller handled things thus far in that regard?
”He looks you directly in the eye and he lets you know this is the play, this is how we are going to do it, let’s get it done. He has a lot of poise, and he is a guy that knows every read on the field and is always looking. So you better be ready,” McCluster said of Smith.
With so many changes on this football team and with numerous guys like McCluster, who are getting a second chance to show off their incredible skill sets, the ones that make the plays will get the rock on Sunday afternoons.
And McCluster could be right in the mix to do just that in the Red Zone and on Special teams.
If he can serve two masters, Reid and Special Teams Coach, David Taub, then we could see the return of Run DMC? And that would make all Chiefs fans smile in a big way.
RB Jamaal Charles - He did leave practice Monday morning with the organization is calling a foot sprain. Though the injury made for much fodder on Twitter in the end he may miss a few days of practice or worse case, Friday’s exhibition opener at Arrowhead against the San Francisco 49ers.
RT Eric Fisher - The first overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, who by the way held his own on the Chiefs mammoth touchdown drive Saturday night against the Saints, was in full pads today.
He left the game with a thumb and shoulder issue but it would appear he’s a fast healer.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Will Dexter earn his old nickname Run DMC in 2013?
For all the news, notes and quotes on the Chiefs, visit WarpaintIllustrated.com