Chiefs vs. Steelers Recap: Receivers Step Up

Chiefs WR Rico Richardson

In the aftermath of the Kansas City Chiefs 26-20 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, suddenly the Chiefs have a log jam at receiver. So what will Head Coach Andy Reid do with his blossoming crop of receivers?

I think the question about Chiefs quarterbacks, Alex Smith and Chase Daniel, getting the ball to their wide receivers was definitively answered on Saturday night in KC's overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

With Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery combining for 12 receptions and 127 yards receiving, the Chiefs appear to have a solid starting tandem unlike what they've had in their most recent pass.

When the Chiefs jettisoned, Jon Baldwin, at the beginning of the week to the 49ers, the door opened for Avery to become a starter. In his debut against the Steelers, he was a man on a mission. He had something to prove and he delivered the goods.

But what about the rest of KC's wide receiver crew and how many will Head Coach, Andy Reid carry? That's the big question now.

1. Junior Hemingway - Cleary he belongs on the 53-man roster. He had a big touchdown catch at the end of the second quarter that allowed the Chiefs to enter halftime tied with the Steelers, 10-10.

But he also had a key third down reception and showed an ability to get separation at the line of scrimmage – something Baldwin never mastered. And if you're looking for another reason to keep Hemingway on the roster, he can play special teams. In fact, he plowed some of the road on Kniles Davis's long 109-yard kick off return.
BR>Yet as a former 7th round draft pick how much opportunity would he really get considering he was brought into the mix by the previous regime? It appears plenty. And after his performance Saturday night, the Chiefs probably don't view Hemingway as a roster bubble any longer. For my money, he has the potential in short order to be the Chiefs third best receiver behind Bowe and Avery.
BR>2. Dexter McCluster - He didn't suit up Saturday night because of the flu but he wasn't needed. With Hemingway's emergence as a playmaker, and when you consider both men play in the slot, McCluster could be the odd man out.

I know Head Coach, Andy Reid, likes McCluster but to be honest he is a smaller receiver that isn't very physical. And if we've learned anything about Reid and the style of receivers he likes, they have to be able to punch back. All McCluster has is great speed. The rest of his game is average.

Don't get me wrong I like McCluster and he has value to KC's offense. But the Chiefs should consider trading him next weekend for a 2014 draft pick. He could garner them a third or fourth round pick from a team needing a solid slot receiver. And they're could be plenty of suitors next weekend.
BR>But if you're still on the fence in regards to McCluster's fate, the fact that I even propose such an unpopular scenario is partially aided thanks to the return abilities of rookie, running back, Kniles Davis. Plus, hate to put the hammer down again; McCluster is another Pioli draft pick. And as we've seen under the new regime, they generally don't stick around long.

3. Rico Richardson - Forget he caught the game winner Saturday night in overtime. This kid can flat out catch the ball. He's done it all training camp and in three preseason games he's caught most everything thrown his way. What's clear now is that the Chiefs can't hide this kid any longer.

There's no chance that Richardson will get to the practice squad. He's too talented a receiver and his upside is that of a player who could eventually become KC's number two receiver.

From the day the Chiefs signed him as an undrafted rookie, he has played with a fire and determination to make this roster. And so far, nothing he's done to date would indicate that he's not going to make that a reality.

4. Devon Wylie - His almost fumble to start the game was something that could have cost him a roster spot. The second year receiver has pretty good skils. And as a slot guy, like Hemingway and McCluster, he's in a big competition to make the final roster.

Wiley also has the benefactor of being a return man but he's not as physical as Hemingway. So in my view, he's a coin toss type of player to make the final roster. And that's because he and McCluster are the same player. But the Chiefs control Wylie two more years, so that might give him an edge.

5. A.J. Jenkins - Though he didn't catch a pass for the Chiefs on Saturday night, he did see game action. And I find it hard to believe that Jenkins isn't going to make the final 53-man roster.

After all you don't trade a former first round pick for another just to cut him. And Jenkins is making too much money to be cut so he's a lock that means someone likely has to go.

So the question remains will the regular season two weeks away, will the Chiefs carry six or seven receivers. And if they do, how will they spread the ball to all of them?

I guess we're about to find out.

Will the Chiefs carry six or seven receivers?

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