RB Dexter McCluster - Free Agent
|5-9, 172||Born: 8-25-1988||College: Mississippi||Drafted: Round 2, pick 36 (2010)|
2016 Week 3 vs IND (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)
McCluster, who possesses a skill set very similar to Danny Woodhead (recently lost for the season with a torn ACL), was signed this week by the Chargers and was modestly worked into the gameplan in this one. Despite limited action, he came close to scoring on two separate occasions. The first was an overthrow on an end zone fade. McCluster was absolutely wide open down the sideline, but the pass from Philip Rivers sailed too far for him to bring in. It could have been a poor throw, or it could have been a little bit of missed timing between two players still learning to play together. In the second half, McCluster was targeted on a third and 4 quick slant to pick up six yards down to the goal line. Melvin Gordon came back on the field for the next play, and ran it in from a yard out.
2016 Week 4 vs NO (1 / 2 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)
McCluster didn't get a lot of work in the game, but he did receive two red zone touches. On one such play, he did a great job reading his blockers to pick up first down yardage on a short swing pass out of the backfield, but never really had much of a chance to reach the end zone.
2016 Week 5 vs OAK (1 / 1 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
In a game that remained close throughout and saw the Chargers run 49 offensive plays from scrimmage, it's telling that McCluster only saw one total touch in the game. Owners who were expecting a mini version of Danny Woodhead's role can probably safely assume at this point that this is Melvin Gordon's backfield. McCluster is strictly a backup at this point.
2016 Week 6 vs DEN (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 15 / 0 rec)
McCluster had a nice 20-yard reception on the team's opening drive that was negated due to an offensive pass interference penalty on Hunter Henry. He added one that DID count later in the half on a 3rd and 11 pass play. He darted up towards the line to gain and ended up just shy of the marker. And finally, following a muffed punt by Travis Benjamin, McCluster was put back on punt return duties and sparked a nice return late in the first half in relief.
2016 Week 7 vs ATL (1 / -1 / 0 rush, 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
McCluster's afternoon didn't go well, as he came on in relief of Melvin Gordon early on and was immediately responsible for a turnover. He allowed a short pass from Philip Rivers to bounce off his hands for an interception, who nearly returned it for a touchdown. And late in the third quarter, Kenneth Farrow came on in relief of Gordon and looked very effective on consecutive rushing attempts. Those didn't directly involve McCluster of course, but the success of any other players in the pecking order can only be seen as a negative thing for McCluster's chances to take the field in any meaningful way.
2015 Week 1 vs TB (2 / 8 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Dexter McCluster had a very limited role in this game. He was on the field, but he only had two carries and didn't catch a pass. McCluster could see plenty of games like this throughout the season based on how the offense is built. Mariota is comfortable pushing the ball downfield while the Titans were happy to use the running back in play action situations often instead of having them as a receiving option from the backfield or out wide.
2015 Week 2 vs CLE (10 / 98 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 26 / 0 rec)
The Titans appeared to have specifically targeted the edges of the Browns run defense with the same running play that featured McCluster. It was a stretch handoff that created a lane for McCluster to run through repeatedly, giving him free lanes onto the second-level. McCluster made defenders miss in space when confronted and had decent explosiveness to eat up the space in front of him.
2015 Week 3 vs IND (5 / 7 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 35 / 0 rec)
Dexter McCluster got the start ahead of Bishop Sankey. He carried the ball on the first snap of the game too, but couldn't make any ground between the tackles. Sankey didn't stay in for the third down that followed his first couple of snaps, leaving Antonio Andrews to drop a pass that would have gone for a first down. McCluster eventually caught his first pass of the game during the second quarter. He ran a deep out route from the slot for a big play against Mike Adams. McCluster gave way to Andrews as the primary runner before long, but he continued to play a role in the offense as a receiving option and a runner.
2015 Week 5 vs BUF (8 / 20 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / -2 / 0 rec)
Dexter McCluster remains a prominent part of the Titans backfield committee but he is no longer the majority holder of the passing down snaps. Antonio Andrews is eating into his production and it's unlikely that that trend changes. McCluster didn't help his case in this game as he was largely unimpactful while committing a bad false start penalty early in the first quarter.
2015 Week 6 vs MIA (5 / 23 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 19 / 1 rec)
Dexter McCluster got the first two carries of the game for the Titans. Both runs went towards the outside right, where he was able to gain a first down on one big gain. McCluster doesn't appear to be the team's receiving back anymore, but he is still featuring in the offense getting both carries and targets. His most significant play in this game came at the goalline when Mariota threw him a quick pass between the tackles for an easy touchdown.
2015 Week 7 vs ATL (5 / 20 / 0 rush, 8 / 6 / 48 / 0 rec)
Dexter McCluster started the game and played more than any other back in the first half, but he wasn't as impactful running the ball as Antonio Andrews. Despite showing limited value as a runner, McCluster compiled yards as the recipient of repeated checkdowns from Mettenberger when left uncovered underneath. Overall it was a quiet, largely inconsequential game from the running back.
2015 Week 8 vs HOU (3 / 15 / 0 rush, 6 / 4 / 23 / 0 rec)
Dexter McCluster didn't start the game at running back, but he was the second back onto the field during the first drive of the game. His first carry went for seven yards as he skipped through the line of scrimmage before making a cut on the second level. Despite his success on his first carry, he would only run the ball twice more for eight yards. McCluster was also targeted on third down to end that drive. He dropped a pass when he was wide open underneath, though even if he had caught it he wouldn't have had a chance to convert for a first down. Those were the types of targets McCluster received throughout the game, so even when he caught them the yards he gained were limited.
2015 Week 9 vs NO (8 / 19 / 0 rush, 4 / 2 / 28 / 0 rec)
Dexter McCluster continued in his multi-faceted role on Sunday, contributing on the ground, in the passing game and on special teams. His running duties were in a change of pace role behind Antonio Andrews. McCluster carried the ball eight times for 19 yards, averaging a paltry 2.4 yards per carry and also fumbled the ball in the red zone right before the half. He hauled in two of his four passing targets and handled his usual kickoff and punt return duties. Expect McCluster to continue in his change of pace role and to see a similar amount of opportunities on a weekly basis.
2015 Week 10 vs CAR (3 / 25 / 1 rush, 5 / 4 / 27 / 0 rec)
Dexter McCluster was named a team captain during the week leading up to this game, taking over for left tackle Taylor Lewan. McCluster was given an opportunity to lead by example on the first drive of the game, getting the first carry. However, he and quarterback Marcus Mariota lost the ball during their handoff. He was able to dive on top of the ball to prevent the turnover but couldn't gain yards downfield. McCluster had another carry when he took a pitch outside and was hit hard behind the line of scrimmage before scoring a long touchdown before the end of the first quarter. McCluster took a well-blocked run off right tackle before making a defender miss in space to dive past the pylon. McCluster played a big role in the Titans offense, but his overall impact was predictably muted. It was fitting that his day finished with a lost fumble in the fourth quarter.
2015 Week 11 vs JAX (2 / 0 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 18 / 0 rec)
Dexter McCluster had a quiet first half as the offense struggled to sustain drives and Antonio Andrews had the bulk of the touches at running back. He opened the third quarter with a catch in the flat for a nine-yard gain that set up a third down the Titans would go on to convert. Most significantly though, McCluster stayed down after the play after taking a hard hit to his knee. He was carted to the locker room and never returned.
2015 Week 14 vs NYJ (4 / 12 / 0 rush, 5 / 4 / 38 / 0 rec)
McCluster was the target for Marcus Mariota's first quarter interception, but there was nothing the running back could have done to prevent it. The running back was given two carries, one off tackle and one up the middle, on the following drive but couldn't find any space. McCluster had a handful of touches before the end of the first half, but couldn't gain more than a few yards. He eventually got a first down on an angle route out of the backfield in the third quarter. McCluster added a second first down on the following drive when he converted a first-and-20 down the right sideline.
2014 Week 1 vs KC (9 / 29 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 17 / 0 rec)
Dexter McCluster made his debut for the Tennessee Titans against his old team. The Titans seemingly signed McCluster to be a receiving option out of the backfield. With that in mind, it was no surprise that his first input on offense came on a reception in the flat that he converted for a first down. McCluster made a defender miss in space to get a first down. That could have been read as a sign of what was to come, but he didn't have another reception in the game. McCluster was given nine carries, but he never really found space to work in. Part of that was due to his offensive line not creating space, but part was due to McCluster's own limitations in his ability to create yardage.
2014 Week 2 vs DAL (4 / 30 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 9 / 0 rec)
McCluster became the primary option in the backfield in the second half when the Titans were trailing 16-0. His first run was very impressive as he showed good initial patience to allow his blocking to develop before accelerating through the middle of the defense. His next carry came two plays later when he took a draw from Locker and made a defender miss in space for a big gain. McCluster initially looked good, but he was stopped at the line of scrimmage on his next play. He had just one more five-yard run in the third quarter before seeing the ball again on the final drive of the game.
2014 Week 3 vs CIN (1 / 0 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 15 / 0 rec)
McCluster was the fourth back onto the field behind Greene, Sankey and Leon Washington, who came in to pass block. He caught a pass late in the second quarter, but was stopped in the flat after a one yard gain. As the Titans fell behind by 26-0 late in the third quarter, McCluster got his second catch. This time he compiled eight yards but failed to make a defender miss in space again. A few plays later, McCluster was given the ball on a draw, but slipped behind the line of scrimmage to negate the space he had in front of him. That didn't stop Locker from quickly going back to him in the passing game, as he checked the ball down to him soon after for another relatively short gain.
2014 Week 4 vs IND (2 / 1 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
McCluster wasn't featured much on offense. He received a few touches in the first half, but he couldn't find space to work in as his lack of vision showed up.
2014 Week 5 vs CLE (3 / 10 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / -2 / 0 rec)
McCluster was still receiving his touches despite the increased role of Bishop Sankey early in the game. He had a few touches that were limited as he couldn't find space, before he should have had a big touchdown reception. McCluster beat the coverage down the sideline with a double move to come free in a huge amount of space in the end zone. Jake Locker badly overthrew him though. McCluster was used very sparingly in this game.
2014 Week 6 vs JAX (2 / 6 / 0 rush, 6 / 6 / 52 / 0 rec)
McCluster was heavily involved on offense for stretches of this game, but he was primarily used as a receiver. This says more about Whitehurst's preference to make simple throws rather than push the ball down the field over any renewed emphasis on getting the ball in McCluster's hands with Greene sidelined.
2014 Week 7 vs WAS (1 / -1 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 6 / 0 rec)
McCluster had one target and one carry. On both plays he was given no space to work in and he couldn't make defenders miss.
2014 Week 8 vs HOU (2 / 1 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 39 / 0 rec)
McCluster was used sparingly on offense in this game and he didn't impress when he was. Despite a couple of impressive plays on the final drive of the game when the defense was playing prevent coverage, his biggest contribution came on special teams with that early punt return.
2014 Week 11 vs PIT (1 / 5 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 17 / 0 rec)
McCluster has somewhat disappeared from the offense in recent weeks. He had a reception down the field to start the second quarter of this game. McCluster ran a deep out route and adjusted brilliantly to an inaccurate pass from Mettenberger. McCluster should have had a touchdown soon after when he was wide open at the goal line, but Mettenberger rifled the ball at him so he couldn't catch it.
2014 Week 12 vs PHI (1 / 2 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 15 / 1 rec)
McCluster saw the field early and late in this one, but wasn't featured during the middle stretch. He had two touches in the first quarter, one catch in the flat and one short run on a sweep play. He didn't see the ball again until late in the fourth quarter, when he caught a short pass for a touchdown on a shallow crossing route at the goal line.
2014 Week 13 vs HOU (9 / 33 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 11 / 0 rec)
McCluster's first involvement in the game came late on during the second quarter. He caught a screen pass in the flat for a four yard gain. With the Titans coming out throwing in the third quarter, McCluster became the starting back. He carried the ball twice with no real effect on the team's first touchdown drive of the game. In the second half, McCluster became the feature back as the Titans looked to spread the offense out more. He was impressive at times, but the plays he was making were relatively simple against a defense that was focusing on preventing the big play.
2014 Week 14 vs NYG (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 4 / 2 / 10 / 0 rec)
McCluster appeared to be the target of Mettenberger's first pass, but the ball landed nowhere near where he ran to. He caught his second target on third down for a first down at the start of the second quarter. McCluster saw more targets both from the backfield and lined up out wide with the Titans' injuries at wide receiver, but he failed to make an impact of note.
2014 Week 15 vs NYJ (5 / 15 / 0 rush, 4 / 2 / 8 / 0 rec)
On the first drive of the game, the Titans called a screen pass for McCluster after he motioned into a wide receiver position. McCluster caught the ball but only gained one yard. On the following drive, McCluster caught a swing pass in the flat for a five yard gain when he made a defender miss in space. McCluster continued to be fed the football, but he could do very little with his seven total touches.
2013 Week 1 vs JAX (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 5 / 3 / 43 / 0 rec)
McCluster was active in both the passing game and the return game. He looked elusive as a punt returner, and made a couple of really nice catches in traffic. Most notably he took a huge hit on a deep cross and held on to the ball for a 21 yard gain. His other two grabs were of the shorter variety and he caught all three with very little chance to make a move after the catch. McCluster did have one drop on a short hitch in tight coverage.
2013 Week 2 vs DAL (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 4 / 2 / 14 / 0 rec)
McCluster continues to look really good in the punt return game, but isn't getting enough targets to make a serious impact in the passing game. He did a good job to spin upfield quickly for 9 yard gain and a first down on a 5 yard grab. McCluster did have one bad drop in the flats but he was very well guarded and it would have been a net loss if he'd caught the pass.
2013 Week 3 vs PHI (1 / -3 / 0 rush, 4 / 1 / 1 / 0 rec)
Every attempt the Chiefs made to get McCluster the ball outside of special teams turned out to be a failure. Early in the game he took a pitch on an option play and was swallowed up by two defenders for a three yard loss, the play never had a chance. On his first target he dropped a high pass in the flats. On the one ball he did catch, McCluster was tripped up by an ankle tackle in the flats on what could have been a big gain. The Chiefs rotated in a bunch of receivers and it was really hard to distinguish McCluster as a true WR3 in this offense. With Anthony Fasano out, the Chiefs ran a lot of three and four wide receivers sets, but McCluster was still in for just barely over 50% of the plays.
2013 Week 4 vs NYG (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 5 / 5 / 48 / 0 rec)
McCluster saw Smith's first target of the game on a short out with a safety in coverage. It seemed any time Alex Smith was looking for McCluster any time he could find him against someone other than a corner. McCluster's second catch came on an option route against a linebacker, and his third came on a deep cross when the safety in the back of the zone lost him. Of course, all of those plays paled in comparison to McCluster's 89 yard punt return for a touchdown. McCluster used a spin move, a stutter step and a jump cut to elude seven different defenders in the most exciting play of the game.
2013 Week 5 vs TEN (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
McCluster's only catch was nullified by penalty. It was a very athletic play that turned a short completion into a 17 yard gain, but it was also one of only two targets he received in the game. The other target was a bad misfire by Smith.
2013 Week 6 vs OAK (1 / 4 / 0 rush, 5 / 1 / 10 / 0 rec)
McCluster had no trouble getting open early, but couldn't make a connection with Smith. Twice in the first quarter McCluster beat his man only to have Smith miss him in the open field. When Smith did put the ball on the money later in the half McCluster dropped it. The Chiefs put McCluster in the backfield to spare Charles in this third quarter and he had a nice four yard run and then caught his only pass out of the backfield that he turned into a ten yard gain with his speed.
2013 Week 7 vs HOU (2 / 4 / 0 rush, 5 / 4 / 70 / 0 rec)
McCluster had the best play made by a Chiefs receiver and the worst. The best came on a wide receiver screen in the third quarter on 3rd and 21. McCluster followed perfect blocking and used his elite speed to get to the marker, then stiff armed the safety and hit another gear in sprinting another 20 yardS downfield. The worst play came less than a quarter later when McCluster quit on a deep out. He was well covered and simply gave up on the route at about the same time Smith released the ball. The ball sailed past where McCluster should have been and into the arms of a Texans defender for an interception. Two of McCluster's other three catches came on wide receiver screens, with one turning into an 11 yard gain after he broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage. McCluster was again used a little in the backfield but had very little success running the ball.
2013 Week 8 vs CLE (1 / 5 / 0 rush, 10 / 7 / 67 / 1 rec)
In Bowe's absence McCluster was a huge part of the game plan. He was good in the short passing game and caught a pass downfield for a touchdown. McCluster abused corners not named Joe Haden, beating them underneath routinely. His seven yard gain on a wide receiver screen was almost entirely the result of his shifty demeanor. McCluster had a great feel for where to be, and Alex Smith leaned on him, always leading him to the open part of the field. McCluster had one carry out of the backfield, a sweep right that he cut up at just the right time for a gain of five yards. His touchdown came on a seam route out of the slot and it was a bad coverage breakdown that left him wide open in the end zone.
2013 Week 9 vs BUF (1 / -4 / 0 rush, 4 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)
McCluster had a very frustrating day. His first target was completely uncatchable and he fell down in the open field because of a low pass on his first reception. He was targeted in the red zone on a third down play and caught the ball just short of the marker before being leveled by a defender. All of that was bad, but it got much worse when McCluster dropped a perfectly thrown ball from Smith 26 yards downfield. McCluster was wide open and had a chance to score down the left sideline and simply dropped one of the easiest catches of the day. McCluster didn't see another target after that drop, but in fairness the Chiefs only threw the ball eight more times.
2013 Week 11 vs DEN (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 8 / 5 / 53 / 0 rec)
McCluster was the opposite of Bowe as most of his success came in the second half. He had a couple of catches early in the game, but they were uninspiring and he was unable to make anyone miss in the open field. In the second half he made a really nice grab on a deep cross that was thrown just a little bit low and also made the catch of the game in the 4th quarter. On the play Smith threw a back shoulder throw down the right sideline and McCluster left his feet to haul it in and showed great body control to land in bounds.
2013 Week 12 vs SD (1 / -1 / 0 rush, 10 / 7 / 59 / 0 rec)
McCluster led the team in receptions, but several of them were close to the line of scrimmage without much room. He did not do a great job on the wide receiver screens he caught of setting up the blocking or seeing the opening. His longest reception, of 17 yards, came on a deep cross. McCluster didn't get much separation on the play but he did make a nice gab in traffic. McCluster had to fight through a hold from Eric Weddle to make an acrobatic 14 yard catch in the red zone, and showed good body control to do so. With a little better instincts and vision, McCluster could have had a much better day, but he was still an integral part of the game plan.
2013 Week 13 vs DEN (1 / 0 / 0 rush, 6 / 5 / 43 / 0 rec)
McCluster showed good hands on a day when few Chiefs receivers did and made at least one spectacular play. His diving grab on a 28 yard pass from Smith came between three defenders and wasn't near as catchable as several of the passes Smith had seen dropped. McCluster nearly had a touchdown in the fourth quarter when he caught a short pass at the 3 and was drug down by his facemask at the 1. There were still a couple of plays where you'd like to see McCluster do more in the open field, but considering his competition he was one of the Chiefs best performers at receiver.
2013 Week 14 vs WAS (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 5 / 4 / 22 / 0 rec)
McCluster's biggest impact came on special teams where he had multiple long returns including one that he took 74 yards to the house for a touchdown. He did make one man miss on a swing pass that went for nine yards and followed a well blocked wide receiver screen for a ten yard gain. McCluster was targeted down field a couple of times as well but he failed to create separation on the plays.
2013 Week 17 vs SD (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 6 / 6 / 62 / 1 rec)
McCluster made the most of being the only Chiefs regular to play in this game. His touchdown came from the two yard line on a wide receiver screen and McCluster had to break one tackle to get into the end zone. He ran a couple of great routes on shorter completions and made a nice diving catch on a 14 yard pass from Daniel to start what should have been the game winning drive in the 4th quarter. McCluster flashed his speed both on a 32 yard punt return and on a slant that he turned into a 28 yard gain in overtime.
2013 Week 18 vs IND (1 / 3 / 0 rush, 8 / 7 / 52 / 0 rec)
McCluster was heavily involved in the short passing game with the absence of Jamaal Charles. He saw a lot of targets within five yards of the line of scrimmage but was too often unable to break the one tackle needed to spring a big gain. McCluster's biggest gain came on a flare route in the second quarter on 3rd and 5. He picked up 19 on the play, one of the few times the team got him the ball in open space.
2012 Week 1 vs ATL (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 10 / 6 / 82 / 0 rec)
McCluster was the most targeted Chiefs receiver and they weren't all the types of dinks and dunks we've grown to expect with him. He was consistently getting open 10-15 yards downfield on crossing routes and surprisingly breaking tackles, something he's struggled with. Made a nice catch in the second quarter in tight coverage and then spun through the tackle and got four more yards. His 22 yard reception in the third quarter came on a leaping catch over the middle, and another broken tackle. McCluster looked like the best receiver for the Chiefs with exceptional speed and good hands.
2012 Week 2 vs BUF (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 5 / 4 / 32 / 0 rec)
McCluster once again operated as the team's primary slot receiver this week. As things were with most of the Chiefs offensive players, he was not able to do much until the team fell way behind. McCluster had just 1 catch for 4 yards in the first half but added 3 receptions for 28 yards in the second half as the Chiefs went into catch-up mode.
2012 Week 3 vs NO (1 / 5 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 28 / 0 rec)
McCluster was a large focus of the Chiefs game plan in the first quarter, catching a short pass in the flats early in the game and following his blockers for a 20 yard gain. He also ran a very goof route on a five yard out for a first down. Unfortunately, McCluster hurt his shoulder bracing himself for a fall in this third quarter after making a leaping catch of an off target Cassel pass and did not return.
2012 Week 4 vs SD (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 4 / 2 / 6 / 0 rec)
McCluster, who is still dealing with the effects of an elbow injury, underwhelmed for a third consecutive game. In fact, not only did McCluster post minimal stats, but he was actually partly responsible for one of Kansas City's turnovers in the game. There was a pass thrown perhaps a bit out in front of him, but still a very catchable pass. McCluster allowed it to deflect off of his hands while the Chiefs were in the midst of a late first half drive. The San Diego defense picked it off the deflection, killing the drive and the Kansas City momentum.
2012 Week 6 vs TB (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 8 / 6 / 39 / 0 rec)
McCluster was easily Quinn's favorite target and finished with a team high six receptions. Each of them came on short slants, crosses or screens and has been the case he was tackled at first contact on nearly every reception. McCluster cost Quinn one of his interceptions by dropping and then kicking a perfectly placed slant.
2012 Week 8 vs OAK (2 / 15 / 0 rush, 8 / 6 / 54 / 1 rec)
Is he a running back, or a slot receiver? One must wonder if Dexter McCluster even knows the answer to that question. The diminutive gadget player tied Tony Moeaki for the team lead in targets - with eight - and caught six passes for fifty-four yards. McCluster carried twice for seventeen yards, including taking a direct snap out of the Wildcat for a thirteen-yard run. The Chiefs sought to heavily involve McCluster in the offense against the Raiders, as he was the primary option in the passing game in the second half. Perhaps that involvement was by necessity rather than desire, as McCluster was quarterback Matt Cassel's favorite target on a smattering of desperate checkdowns. Regardless, McCluster was the Chiefs' biggest playmaker against the Raiders, getting the ball in space like Darren Sproles and showing a knack for making defenders miss tackles. McCluster squirted and shimmied through the all layers of the Oakland defense, and proved to be a hard man to bring down. McCluster appears lightning-quick on television - he must appear doubly so on the field of play. Given his size, he can also disappear behind blockers, as he did on his ten yard touchdown reception from Matt Cassel. Taking Cassel's short, quick pass, McCluster shielded himself behind multiple offensive linemen and splashed into the end zone to cut the Chiefs' deficit to ten with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
2012 Week 9 vs SD (4 / 17 / 0 rush, 6 / 2 / 17 / 0 rec)
McCluster still shows too many signs of inconsistency to be relied upon for fantasy relevance. He showed some flashes at times in this game, hitting the hole on one run and looking very Jamaal Charles-like in the process. McCluster made a decision of where he wanted to go, and hit the hole hard with no messing around. He also made a nice grab over the middle with a defender basically hanging on him. But in the second half, he allowed a very catchable ball to bounce off of his fingertips and into the hands of a defender who returned it for a touchdown. Soon after, he misjudged the flight of a punt and lunged for it at the last second, muffing the catch and again turning it over to San Diego. Perhaps he had a lack of focus after suffering a brutal hit on an earlier pass play. The ball was fired downfield in traffic and was tipped just before it reached McCluster. He reached for it, but almost had his head removed from his body by the defensive back. Amazingly, he got up showing no ill effects and no penalty was called.
2012 Week 10 vs PIT (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 5 / 2 / 18 / 0 rec)
McCluster's first reception came off of play-action as he was wide open when the Steelers bought hard on the fake. McCluster looked to cut upfield, but slipped on the turf to cost him a chance at going a long way. McCluster dropped a good pass from Cassel on third and long for a first down late in the third quarter. McCluster caught an underneath route for five yards on the Chiefs' final drive against man coverage.
2012 Week 11 vs CIN (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 37 / 0 rec)
McCluster had the team's longest reception, a 26 yard sliding grab after Matt Cassel had extended the play with his legs. He had a couple of other short grabs and showed his shifty demeanor on an 8 yard gain off a WR screen.
2012 Week 12 vs DEN (2 / 23 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 21 / 0 rec)
McCluster's four catches were all of the shorter variety, and all with a defender in the vicinity. He did well to hang on to his first catch on a slant route because he was blown up by a linebacker as soon as he caught the ball. He received two carries out of the backfield and the first was a huge success; a 19 yard gain on a sweep right with McCluster making one man miss to get to the second level. He took another huge hit on his next carry and looked to be a little shaken up. McCluster returned to make a couple of grabs in the second quarter, but each time he had a defender all over him before he had a chance to make a move.
2012 Week 14 vs CLE (1 / 0 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 8 / 0 rec)
McCluster was limited early and then left the game after taking a huge hit on his first reception in the second quarter. The route was a short cross and McCluster caught the ball two yards short of the marker. He was immediately lit up and did not return.
2012 Week 15 vs OAK (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 10 / 7 / 59 / 0 rec)
McCluster's only contributions to the game came on passes within five yards of the line of scrimmage, which was all that was possible with Quinn under centre. McCluster made some nice moves to get free on a short reception in the fourth quarter for a 31-yard gain, but that play might have been the highlight of the entire game for the Chiefs.
2012 Week 16 vs IND (1 / 10 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 30 / 0 rec)
McCluster caught a quick slant route against off coverage for a first down on second and eight. McCluster's speed turned a quick out into a first down reception on first and 10. A few plays later, the Chiefs gave McCluster an end around for 10 untouched yards. McCluster beat a defender in single coverage with an out for an eight yard gain at the first down markers.
2012 Week 17 vs DEN (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec)
McCluster caught one pass in Week Sixteen against the Broncos. Running a short crossing route, McCluster caught Brady Quinn's pass in stride for a five-yard gain. It should be noted the Chiefs were facing third-and-nine in their own territory.
2011 Week 2 vs DET (8 / 51 / 0 rush, 5 / 4 / -2 / 0 rec)
His 1st touch was on the 1st play of the game as he took a misdirection hand off and scooted up the left sideline for about 20 yards. Later on with the score only 7-3 midway through the 2nd, McCluster took a quick pass form Cassel on 3rd and 3. Rather than running straight ahead for first down he danced around behind the LOS and quickly the Lions converged to wrap him up. It looked like McCluster was afraid and wanted to hide. This is why the writer feels he will make a poor choice to replace Jamaal Charles. McCluster needs space and if he doesn't have it he appears to be timid. Again in the 3rd Q he showed timidness as he took a hand off around the left end for virtually no gain and then came back on the next play to catch a short pass and was brought down rather easily by a Detroit LB in the open field. Where is the speed? McCluster was unimpresive and there is no way he can fill in and take over for Charles. This will be a full blown committee the rest of the way. McCluster also had a terrible fumble towards the end of the game where he was falling down, hardly tackled and then the ball pops out. He is a better receiver than runner and should be used in the slot by KC the rest of the way if they wise up.
2011 Week 3 vs SD (9 / 45 / 0 rush, 6 / 5 / 17 / 0 rec)
Don't read too much into this, because his talent level is not on par with Jamaal Charles, but the Chiefs appeared to use McCluster in a very "Jamaal Charles" type of role in this game. He had fourteen total touches in the game, and they came in a variety of fashions. They threw it to him on dumpoffs and in the flat, they ran him up the middle on draws, they handed it off to him off tackle, and he was regularly involved in the offense throughout. While he's much smaller than most backs, he's also a lot stronger than he appears. He's very light at just 160 or so pounds, but he always seemed to fall forwards on tackles. McCluster was running over defenders and pushing the pile on several occasions, turning potential losses into nice gains all the while managing to maintain his elusiveness and avoid would-be tacklers. One of the most impressive sequences he had was on back to back draw plays in the third quarter. Facing a 2nd and 20, McCluster took a handoff up the middle for ten yards and took the following draw up the middle for 16 and a first down. The Chiefs only had one goal line situation and it was late in the fourth quarter as they played catch-up (read: passing situation), but it should be noted that McCluster was the halfback on the field at the time.
2011 Week 4 vs MIN (7 / 26 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 12 / 0 rec)
It was exciting to see McCluster start the game, as there was a feeling that we were finally going to see what the most explosive back in the Chiefs backfield could do with a full workload. Seven carries and 26 yards later, we still had no idea. McCluster was essentially a glorified 3rd down back for most of the game and rarely found the open field necessary to show his speed. The three passes he caught were all short and were not in space. Most all of his runs came on traditional passing downs. That plan worked occasionally, but often resulted in McCluster being swallowed in the backfield.
2011 Week 5 vs IND (4 / 8 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 10 / 0 rec)
McCluster looked completely lost at the start of the game. On the second play from scrimmage he cost the Chiefs a timeout by lining up in the wrong place and then dropped an easy pass coming out of the backfield after the timeout. Later in the quarter he stumbled in the backfield on a 3rd and 2 carry and I wondered out loud if the Dexter McCluster experiment may be coming to a close. He did make an important play on the Chiefs first touchdown drive, a 10 yard catch and run for a first down, but did not really have a positive impact in the game besides that. The biggest thing you noticed when watching him out of the backfield is that he struggles to gain momentum carrying the ball.
2011 Week 7 vs OAK (10 / 38 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / -3 / 0 rec)
McCluster was again mostly ineffective with flashed of that great speed. His first three touches included two 3-yard losses and a draw up the middle for nothing. Only a 10 yard run on 3rd and 12 and couple of runs at the end of the half (with the Raiders in prevent) salvaged his first half. The second half wasn't much better as McCluster seemed to either lose yardage or gain 10. He's simply too small and lacks the power to run the ball out of the backfield. He was only effective when there was literally no one around.
2011 Week 8 vs SD (6 / 0 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 28 / 0 rec)
McCluster had one of the oddest games of the year. He fumbled the first carry he was given, and then almost fumbled the second. He had six carries for 0 yards and no receptions in regulation. Then overtime started, and McCluster found new life. He caught three passes on the game winning drive and turned two of them into first downs with an assortment of jukes. McCluster on that one drive looked like what the Chiefs had hoped he could turn into, the rest of the game he looked like a complete disappointment.
2011 Week 9 vs MIA (7 / 36 / 0 rush, 4 / 1 / 8 / 0 rec)
Nice 11 yard sprint up the left sideline when the Chiefs were running their 2 minute offense in the 1st half. he saw the ball a little more in the 2nd half on a few runs out of the shotgun. He was on the field more because KC fell behind and was forced to throw or run out of the shotgun which he is better suited for.
2011 Week 10 vs DEN (8 / 45 / 0 rush, 8 / 6 / 48 / 0 rec)
McCluster picked up 16 of his rushing yards and 30 of his receiving yards after the Chiefs had fallen down by two scores with less than 7 minutes to go. He dropped another open pass in the flats and fumbled (although he was ruled down) and continues to struggle with ball control. He's easily the Chiefs most explosive back, but he needs a lot of room and struggles in tight spots. He almost made a great diving catch on a ball down the sideline but the throw was just out of his reach. McCluster excels in the Chiefs come from behind offense when the defense is willing to give them a 5-10 yard cushion.
2011 Week 11 vs NE (8 / 39 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)
McCluster actually got the start in the backfield for the Chiefs and at times looked as explosive as he has all year. The shifty back had 36 total yards in the first quarter and made several tacklers miss in the process. On one carry he broke a tackle 3 yards deep in the backfield, spun away from another tackler at the line of scrimmage, and tuned a 3 yard loss into an 8 yard gain. He was also effective getting the handoff out of the Wildcat, surprisingly so in short yardage. He did come off at one point late in the first quarter shaking his wrist, and saw limited action the rest of the way.
2011 Week 12 vs PIT (9 / 28 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 11 / 0 rec)
McCluster showed his shiftiness in very small doses in this game. Kansas City likes using him on a sprint draw play that they mostly run from the shotgun. It's a delayed handoff where the blocking scheme almost looks like a screen play. The offensive linemen essentially gather play-side and attempt to give McCluster some lanes. The delayed handoff creates time for them to do so. McCluster will never be an every-down back, and he almost always gets tackled by the first man to touch him. But if given time and space, he could make plays with his great speed.
2011 Week 13 vs CHI (9 / 61 / 0 rush, 5 / 4 / 46 / 1 rec)
McCluster was the most explosive back in the Kansas City Offense, running hard when he had the ball and making plays whenever he had the ball in his hand. He was most effective when Palko would fake a look to the outside, hesitate and then hand the ball off to McCluster who would explode with it up the gut. The Chiefs also tried to swing the ball out to him in the flat on a couple plays, but it resulted in only minimal gains. However, McCluster contributed the two biggest plays of the Kansas City offense for the entire day. On the final play of the first half, Palko chucked the ball 33 yards into the end zone for a Hail Mary pass. Chicago tried to knock the ball down and ended up knocking it right into the waiting arms of McCluster for the Chief's first offensive TD in 33 possessions. It was all Kansas City needed to win the game. His other big play came on the first series of the third quarter. The Bears made great penetration and the pocket was rapidly collapsing from the edge. McCluster took a delayed handoff and exploded by the defenders, making it to the second level before anyone knew what happened. He broke down the left side of the field and was eventually chased out of bounds after a huge 32 yard run. IT was the longest run of the day for either team.
2011 Week 14 vs NYJ (4 / 1 / 0 rush, 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
McCluster works best in space, and he couldn't get that with the Jets crowding the line on any play which even hinted at being a run. McCluster couldn't even find room for a catch, his usual saving grace.
2011 Week 15 vs GB (5 / 14 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 11 / 0 rec)
If Leron McClain saw more involvement in Crennel's game plan; it was Dexter McCluster who saw less. Other than a stretch where McCluster saw 2 carries and a screen pass on three consecutive plays he was mostly uninvolved. He just doesn't have the ability to break a tackle right now and that showed on his two carries around the left side. McCluster did make a nice grab from the slot on an 8 yard slant on 3rd and goal from the 2. He was well covered and did well to hold on to the ball in traffic.
2011 Week 16 vs OAK (3 / 15 / 0 rush, 7 / 5 / 89 / 0 rec)
He had arguably his best day of the season and definitely one of the most important plays of the game. While McCluster saw only 3 carries and limited success running the ball, he was a factor in the passing game and showcased speed that very few players have. His best run came in the second quarter on a 6 yard gain. He flew around the right side, spun off a tackle and juked another before finally being taken to the ground. In the third quarter he caught a short slant and then sprinted between two converging defender to turn it into a 19 yard gain. His big play came with less than two minutes remaining on a screen pass. McCluster caught the ball on the left sideline, used his blockers to perfection and then outran everyone at the second level. He veered all the way to the right sideline before finally being brought down at the 3 yard line after a 49 yard gain.
2011 Week 17 vs DEN (12 / 61 / 1 rush, 6 / 3 / 25 / 0 rec)
McCluster put together the best quarter of his career in the first quarter, and then went mostly silent. Something was different about the diminutive back as he was running harder and actually delivering hits despite his small frame. McCluster picked up 54 yards rushing on the Chiefs TD drive to end the quarter including back to back runs of 15+ yards. The first was a sprint draw and McCluster followed perfect blocking for a 16 yard gain. On the very next play the Chiefs again ran left, but McCluster cutback reversing his field to the near sideline and outrunning every Bronco defender for a 21 yard TD run. He also caught a ball underneath the coverage and sprinted up field for a 19 yard gain in the second quarter but found little success after that. He lost 11 of his rushing yards due to draw plays where Orton handed him the ball with a defender in his lap.
2010 Week 1 vs SD (1 / 0 / 0 rush, 4 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)
If this is what a less than 100% Dexter McCluster can do than the league should take notice. McCluster didn't touch the ball much (likely due to his slight injury), but when he did he had the look of a player who could take it to the end zone at any moment. Dexter caught a short pass in open space inside the 10 and would have taken it in if not for slipping on the rain soaked field. His real damage took place on a 94 yard punt return TD in the 2nd quarter. Look for McCluster to be used more (hopefully) in the coming weeks.
2010 Week 3 vs SF (2 / -1 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 69 / 1 rec)
McCluster's first touch went for a first down, on a handoff out of the Wildcat formation. He then converted a 4th & 1, and showed his athleticism, taking a short catch for a 31-yard TD. On that play, he shed the first tackle and avoided three more defenders to get into end zone. For a short period, it was just the McCluster Show: short catch, long catch, handoff - you name it, he was involved. As a receiver, he did a great job getting to the ball in coverage. And late in the game, reminded everyone how good of a returned he is, taking a punt back to midfield with ease.
2010 Week 5 vs IND (1 / 3 / 0 rush, 4 / 2 / 15 / 0 rec)
McCluster had a spectacular sideline catch and also converted two first downs on touches for the Chiefs, but his story is quickly becoming one of underutilization. He has the potential to make an impact with enough touches, but they are unlikely to come without a rash of injuries to KC skill players.
2010 Week 6 vs HOU (2 / 27 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 13 / 0 rec)
McCluster continues to be used sporadically by the Chiefs. They clearly choose to use him in specific situations where they think he can get the ball in open space. On Sunday, he ran one reverse, one draw play, and caught four short passes on designed screens. He accounted for 40 total yards on 5 touches but only appeared to be a threat to score on one play, a twenty yard pickup on a reverse around the left end. McCluster also continues to return kicks for the Chiefs.
2010 Week 7 vs JAX (4 / 28 / 0 rush, 4 / 5 / 41 / 0 rec)
Todd Haley called Dexter McCluster the "best route runner on our team", high praise for the rookie. He proved that Haley had a point as McCluster not only got involved in the passing game but also made his mark on the ground. McCluster looks like he is playing with a backpack rocket under his pads. He has the ability to make people miss in the backfield which he showed a couple of times on Sunday. He shows a toughness that belies his small stature when he runs between the tackles. He has the hands of a natural receiver. Most importantly, Kansas City know how to get the best out of his skills. On one play in particular, McCluster showed his incredible balance as he ran outside of his tackle, tripped slightly, but maintained his balance and evaded a tackler to get the first down. The things McCluster does cannot be taught. Expect him to be a staple of this offense for a long time.
2010 Week 13 vs DEN (5 / 11 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 25 / 0 rec)
McCluster had a poor game statistically but made his presence well known on the football field and should have been more productive. McCluster ran the ball for over 50 yards on one play from an end around, but was negated by a hold which really hurt his day. McCluster has the quickness and change of direction to get open at will vs. defenders and he was able to convert some short passes into nice gains and find holes in the defense for Cassel to check down to. He did have a fumble late in the game which did not prove costly for the Chiefs, luckily for McCluster as it may have cost him playing time. The Chief's backfield is loaded but McCluster will find ways to touch the ball in every game and can play in the slot due to his quickness and threat as a receiver.
2010 Week 15 vs STL (1 / -4 / 0 rush, 4 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)
McCluster was tackled behind the line of scrimmage on his first touch and never really got going on offense or in the return game.
2010 Week 16 vs TEN (1 / 4 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 15 / 0 rec)
McCluster only had a few receptions as well, however he is an exciting playmaker that the Chiefs are trying to get onto the field. If he can become a bigger part of things, the Chiefs offense will have the ability to simply be unstoppable, as there will just be too many weapons for defenses to cover.
2010 Week 17 vs OAK (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 7 / 1 / 15 / 0 rec)
Dexter McCluster made a nice catch for 14 yards on a screen pass early on, showcasing his great open field agility and lateral quickness to avoid a couple of defenders. McCluster was not used much in the offense and perhaps an emphasis of next week's playoff game will be to get the ball in his hands more, because every time he touches the ball he can create plays.
2010 Week 18 vs BAL (2 / 5 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 17 / 0 rec)
For a player who had just six touches for 22 yards, McCluster was involved in two of the most memorable plays of the game. The first was a short catch in the flat that was truly impressive. He did a great job of managing to hang onto the pass despite nearly being decapitated by S Ed Reed as McCluster turned upfield. Soon after that, McCluster made a huge gaffe when he fumbled the ball away after a hit by LB Ray Lewis. At the time of the fumble, the Chiefs were within one score of the Ravens but that turnover led to a field goal, and the Chiefs were never closer than two scores at any point the rest of the way.