Talent is only one part of the equation when determining a player's success in the NFL, and for a majority of his career talent is about all Dwayne Bowe has had going for him. Bowe's six seasons in the league have been a tumultuous time for the Kansas City Chiefs. Bowe's had three different head coaches, six different offensive coordinators, and caught passes from eight (!) different quarterbacks. Those quarterbacks? Tyler Thigpen, Brodie Croyle, Damon Huard, Matt Cassel, Tyler Palko, Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn, and Quinn Gray. Why is this relevant? Because it helps to explain how a receiver the caliber of Dwayne Bowe has posted fantasy WR1 numbers only once in his career.
In 2013, Bowe will be working with his 4th head coach, his 7th coordinator, and his ninth quarterback...and those are all good things. No one had a better offseason than Bowe did. He upgraded at every position that matters and now finds himself coached by a great offensive mind with an extremely accurate quarterback throwing him the ball. Bowe is excellent at using his body on short slants, outs, and hooks and should thrive in Andy Reid's offense. He'll quickly earn the trust of new quarterback Alex Smith and the two should connect early and often in 2013.
Bowe obviously agrees with that last sentence, as he told reporters earlier this year that he plans on leading the NFL in both receptions and receiving touchdowns. He's done the latter once before, when he hauled in 15 touchdowns in 2010, but the former seems extremely unlikely when you consider Reid's plan of spreading the ball around and the weapons the Chiefs have added in the offseason. It's been some time since Bowe has had even a competent weapon in the receiving corps, and it would be helpful if someone could take some of the attention, even if it does cost him some targets.
Could more weapons actually mean more production for Bowe? The addition of Travis Kelce and Donnie Avery along with the development on Jon Baldwin, and Jamaal Charles seeing an increased role in the passing game likely mean fewer targets for Dwayne Bowe, and that may be a good thing. Bowe has struggled with drops throughout his career, and part of that is on him. But I believe another part of that is the fact that Bowe has seen as much attention as any receiver in the league from opposing defenses largely because the Chiefs have had no one else that could beat them. If Kelce, Baldwin or Avery can give defenses something else to think about we may see Bowe's catch % go up along with his yards after catch (YAC). Bowe was spectacular after the catch early in his career, but poor accuracy from his quarterbacks and increased defensive attention have completely taken that away from him since 2010. Look for that number to trend upward in 2013.
Alex Smith will be the most accurate quarterback that Bowe has ever played with.
Bowe's big body and good ball skills should fit very well in Andy Reid's system.
Bowe seems reenergized by all the help he's gotten this offseason.
Drops have always been a concern with Bowe, and with less targets they could really hamper his production.
Bowe's ceiling is held in check by Alex Smith's inability to throw the deep ball and Andy Reid's plan to spread the ball around.
Bowe has every opportunity to produce the second best season of his career. While it's unlikely he reaches the outlandish goals he's set for himself, he should be a very solid WR2 with borderline WR1 upside. He's a slight bargain as the 19th receiver going off the board and has a higher floor than the other receivers in that range. Bowe reaches his ceiling if Alex Smith clicks under Andy Reid and someone else steps up on the other side of the field.
Joe Fortenbaugh at Yahoo writes:
The 28-year-old wideout went from averaging 4.8 receptions for 72.5 yards per game with a score every 1.6 outings from 2010-2011 under offensive-minded head coach Todd Haley, to 4.54 receptions for 61.6 yards per game and a touchdown every 4.3 outings under defensive-minded head coach Romeo Crennel in 2012. With an offensive-minded head coach once again calling the plays in Andy Reid and some newfound stability at the quarterback position thanks to the trade for Alex Smith, we expect Bowe to experience a big uptick in production this season.
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Jamey Eisenberg at CBS Sportsline writes:
Smith is easily the best quarterback Bowe has played with, which isn't saying much given he's replacing Matt Cassel. And Reid should put Bowe in enough situations to help him shine.
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