Kansas City Chiefs: Dwayne Bowe

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe missed practice for the second straight day because of what the Kansas City Chiefs are calling a sprained shoulder. Coach Andy Reid has been optimistic this week that Bowe would be available to play in Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium.

"I think he will,'' Reid said this week. "I just know his makeup. He hates to miss anything. I mean, he’s one of those guys who comes out if he’s a little nicked up and goes about it. During the walkthrough he was walking around and making sure he was in his position and doing all that. He’s in that frame of mind where he wants to make sure he’s out there.”

Bowe played in last week's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers despite missing all of the practice week with symptoms of the flu.

Linebacker Tamba Hali also skipped practice on Wednesday. The Chiefs practiced on artificial turf in their indoor facility and it's been his recent habit of sitting out practice when the Chiefs work on fake turf. Hali has soreness in his knee.

Starting guard Zach Fulton also didn't practice because of an injured foot.

Running back Jamaal Charles (hamstring, ankle) and tight end Anthony Fasano (knee) were among five players who were limited practice participants. The others were cornerback Phillip Gaines (illness) and linebackers Joe Mays (knee) and Josh Martin (hand).

The Chiefs will not practice on Christmas Day. They will hold perhaps their final practice session of the season on Friday.

Dwayne Bowe has sprained shoulder

December, 22, 2014
Dec 22
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has what the Kansas City Chiefs called a sprained shoulder, putting in doubt his ability to play in Sunday’s final regular season game against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium.

“He was a bit tender,’’ coach Andy Reid said Monday.

The Chiefs can still make the playoffs with a win over the Chargers, but they need help. the combination of required results make the postseason a long shot for the Chiefs. But there’s a chance, so it’s not a good thing if their leading wide receiver can’t play in a game they would need to win to get into the playoffs.

Bowe
The Chiefs aren’t deep at wide receiver, so the loss of Bowe would leave the Chiefs with a collection of players that includes rookies Albert Wilson and De'Anthony Thomas, Jason Avant, Junior Hemingway, Frankie Hammond Jr. and Donnie Avery, who was a healthy scratch Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Reid was optimistic that Bowe would be available against the Chargers. Bowe missed all of the last practice week because of flu symptoms, but he played anyway on Sunday in Pittsburgh and caught six passes for 57 yards.

So even if Bowe can’t practice this week, he should play against the Chargers if he’s physically able.

“Knowing Dwayne, he doesn’t miss much,’’ Reid said. “I think he’ll be OK once it’s all said and done here. We’ve got a little different schedule because of Christmas and we’ll practice tomorrow. It will be a stretch for him to practice to be able to do that tomorrow but as the week goes on, he’ll be there.’’

The emergence of Wilson has been one of the few positives as the Chiefs have lost four of their last five games. The undrafted rookie has moved into the starting lineup and has 12 receptions for 209 yards in the last three games.

“You see him after the catch and he was a good punt returner and kick returner in college and you see that,’’ Reid said. “You see his ability to kind of work in space and kind of set up his moves.’’
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe missed the entire practice week because of flu symptoms while linebacker Tamba Hali sat out on Friday for the second straight day because of a sore knee.

 Bowe and Hali were listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on the final injury report of the week. But coach Andy Reid said he expected both players to be available to play.

Bowe leads the Chiefs’ wide receivers in catches (51) and yards (667). He hasn’t worked since last Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders.

“He’s taking in some fluids and trying to maintain those fluids,’’ Reid said. “We’ll just see how he does. He is making improvement.

“I think he’s going to be ready to play.’’

The Chiefs practiced indoors on artificial turf for the second straight day because of snow on the practice field. Hali worked on Wednesday when the Chiefs practiced outdoors and on grass.

Reid said Hali didn’t practice on the artificial turf as a precaution, but that he would play against the Steelers.

Hali is second on the Chiefs with six sacks. He had one of his best games of the season last week with a sack and four quarterback pressures.

The Chiefs have 10 other players on their injury report, but they were all listed as probable for Sunday’s game. This group includes running back Jamaal Charles (knee and ankle).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- By catching three passes for 69 yards in Sunday's win over the Oakland Raiders, Dwayne Bowe became the third Kansas City Chiefs player to have more than 7,000 career receiving yards.

A day later, coach Andy Reid was full of praise for Bowe.

"Dwayne is one of my favorite guys I've had a chance to coach," Reid said. "He keeps it real out there every day and brings energy every day. You don't have the big ups and downs in personality or anything else. He enjoys doing what he does. He never complains that he doesn't get the ball enough or wants the ball (more). He just wants to win and I appreciate that."

The Chiefs are 8-6 and would make the playoffs as a wild-card entrant if they win their final two games, including Sunday's meeting against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. But it hasn't been an easy season for Bowe.

He began it with a one-game NFL suspension for a violation of the league's substance-abuse policy. He returned the next week but didn't have any kind of bounce back season. Barring a huge game against the Steelers or on Dec. 28 against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium, Bowe's numbers will be similar to what they were last season.

He has 51 catches for 667 yards, both totals being second on the Chiefs behind tight end Travis Kelce.

The big difference for Bowe from last season to this is in, of course, touchdowns. Bowe had five last season but none this year.

None of the Chiefs' wide receivers have a touchdown but that hangs around Bowe's neck alone. He's the one who as recently as 2010 led the NFL in receiving touchdowns. He's the one paid a hefty sum to find his way into the end zone.

He's watched as the touchdowns go instead to backs like Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis and tight ends like Kelce and Anthony Fasano. Even players who don't get the ball much, fullback Anthony Sherman and running back Cyrus Gray, have a touchdown apiece.

"I've been there before," Bowe said. "I've led the league before so it's not for me to have to score. It's for me to have to win."

It's better for the Chiefs if Bowe catches a lot of passes for plenty of yards and touchdowns. But if that isn't happening, the last thing the Chiefs need from Bowe is for him to tear apart what the Chiefs have going here.

Contrary to his public image, that's not who Bowe really is. He's not a diva receiver. He's been described to me by several of his fellow Chiefs over the years as a model teammate.

Now his coach is saying so, too.

"We go to him when we need a completion," Reid said. "He knows we're coming to him and he delivers. I think we all have a lot of trust in him [and] a lot of respect for him and how he goes about his job."
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dwayne Bowe led the NFL in touchdown receptions with 15 as recently as 2010. Now he leads a group of Kansas City Chiefs wide receivers that halfway through the season has yet to get into the end zone even once.

“It’s going to come our way,’’ Bowe said. “Right now, other guys are getting opportunities and making plays. On third down I’m moving the chains and getting guys in position to make those touchdowns.

“As long as I’m contributing, I’m feeling good.’’

The Chiefs have tried to get the ball to Bowe in the end zone. He was the intended receiver on the fateful fourth-down pass late in the game in Denver in September. But quarterback Alex Smith rushed the throw, it was deflected at the line of scrimmage and never had the chance to get to Bowe.

Another pass intended for Bowe in the end zone in last week’s game against the New York Jets was deflected at the line and wound up in the hands of tight end Anthony Fasano, who then lunged into the end zone for a touchdown.

Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins had the chance for a long touchdown in a recent game against San Diego but stepped out of bounds, even though the Chargers had no defender in the vicinity. He stumbled on his way to the end zone last week, costing himself a score.

“I left some opportunities out there,’’ Jenkins said. “Each one of those drives ended with a touchdown so it’s not like I cost us any points.’’

Bowe, after a slow start to the season, has come alive in recent weeks. With 31 catches and 398 yards, he’s one reception and 21 yards behind team leader Travis Kelce. But Kelce has scored four times.

“Once they start coming, (it will be) like it was in 2010,’’ Bowe said. “That was fun. Now I’m putting guys in those positions to do the same thing I did in 2010.’’
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- After losing their season-opener in a rather convincing manner, the Kansas City Chiefs are in a position where they could use a lift from the return of their most accomplished wide receiver.

Bowe
 Dwayne Bowe isn’t waiting until Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos to try to provide that lift. He indicated that process started earlier in the week, shortly after his return for a one-game NFL suspension for a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy.

“Just be myself,’’ Bowe said when asked what he wanted to accomplish this week. “Come in jovial, come in picking guys up and letting them know it’s one game at a time, one play at a time. Just play with energy, just play with passion, just play your game. That’s what I’m preaching to everyone in the locker room, and that’s what we’ve got to bring if we’re going to beat the Denver Broncos.’’

That’s all good, but what the Chiefs really need from Bowe is to play on Sunday as he did earlier in his career. One reason the Chiefs floundered on offense against the Tennessee Titans is that their wide receivers caught just eight passes, which is tied for last in the league with the New York Giants.

“Being a playmaker, you want to make plays whenever the ball is being thrown,’’ said Bowe, who watched the game on TV at his home in Kansas City. “It was hard watching. I’ve seen myself making some of the plays that [weren’t] made. If they happen again, I’ll be out there to make those plays.

“I wish I could have been out there to help my team, but things happen and you move forward and you learn from them and you try to let it not happen again.’’
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For what it's worth, the Kansas City Chiefs are 1-9 over the years without Dwayne Bowe in their lineup. That includes last week's 26-10 loss to Tennessee, a game Bowe missed because of a one-game NFL suspension for a violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

Bowe missed five games, four because of another NFL suspension, in 2009 and three games at the end of the 2012 season because of an injury. His absence hardly mattered in those years. The 2009 and 2012 Chiefs were lost causes, winning six games between them. He also missed the final game of last season because of a concussion.

The 2014 Chiefs aren't a lost cause, at least not yet, and the Chiefs will waste no time in getting Bowe back into their lineup for Sunday's game at Denver. If there's the tiniest bit of optimism the Chiefs can beat the Broncos for the first time in three seasons, it's being provided by the return of their most accomplished wide receiver.

"Dwayne has been a big part of the offenses here since he's been here and he was with us last year," coach Andy Reid said. "He's an important part of that. He's somebody the quarterback has a lot of trust in and a lot of reps with. He's got a high skill level. He's always got a pretty good chunk of our offense for every game.

"I'll tell you, he had a great training camp and preseason ... I liked what I saw there and he came back in great shape and I expect that he'll have a real good year."

Bowe's finger injury, revealed by Reid in training camp, has resolved itself. The quad injury that kept him from practicing before the suspension apparently has too, though the Chiefs listed him on Wednesday's injury report. He was a full practice participant, indicating he will be available to play on Sunday.

The biggest need for the struggling Chiefs offense is big plays and those aren't Bowe's specialty. But his presence could keep the Chiefs out of the many third and long situations they faced last week, when they went 1-of-12 on third-down plays.

"I don't think there's one area where we missed him the most," quarterback Alex Smith said. "There are a lot of different facets. Dwayne's the type of player that contributes everywhere, on all areas of the field and in all situations. But that was certainly part of it."

Bowe's replacement last week, Frankie Hammond Jr., had one catch for 22 yards. Bowe should be able to provide at least that. In 2009, he returned after his suspension to have two of his best games of the season.

He also bounced back after last season's one-game absence to have a big playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Running back Jamaal Charles was with the Kansas City Chiefs for Tuesday morning's walk-through but he will not participate in this afternoon's practice.

Charles bruised his foot moving out of the dormitory last week when the Chiefs broke training camp at Missouri Western State University. He did not accompany the Chiefs to Charlotte for Sunday night's preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.

Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and safety Eric Berry were among the other players who won't practice. Bowe played against Carolina and caught five passes for 62 yards. He has what the Chiefs are calling a sore quad muscle.

Berry hasn't played in either preseason game because of what the Chiefs are calling tendinitis in his heel.

Other players who won't practice include wide receiver Junior Hemingway (hip) and linebackers Joe Mays (wrist) and Josh Martin (quad).
If you're surprised at this latest news regarding Dwayne Bowe -- he was suspended one game for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy -- you haven't been paying attention.

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You remember his four-game suspension in 2009 for performance-enhancing drugs. You recall that earlier in his career, Bowe repeatedly reported to camp in lousy physical condition. You know dependability isn't Bowe's strong suit, despite his three 1,000-yard seasons.

And now the Kansas City Chiefs will be without their most accomplished wide receiver for the season-opening game against the Tennessee Titans.

Bowe, in a statement through the NFL Players Association, apologized to his teammates and coaches and Chiefs fans. I don't doubt his sincerity. But it doesn't change the fact that the Chiefs can't count on him when they kick off a new season.

They will survive against the Titans without Bowe. Their other starting wide receiver, Donnie Avery, had a big game against Tennessee this past season. The Chiefs can cobble together a competent receiving group for one game, with Junior Hemingway, Kyle Williams, A.J. Jenkins and Albert Wilson. They might also go more to a good group of receiving tight ends or Pro Bowl tailback Jamaal Charles that day.

Next time, however, will the Chiefs be fortunate enough to lose Bowe for only one game and against one of the weaker opponents on their schedule?

Because there's one thing we know, if we've been paying attention: Bowe will eventually let the Chiefs down again.
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs made their decision on Dwayne Bowe for better or for worse last year when they signed him to a lucrative, long-term contract.

They didn’t get their money’s worth from their No. 1 wide receiver last year, when he had the worst statistical full season of his career. Bowe failed to lead the Chiefs in receiving for the first time since they traded Tony Gonzalez after the 2008 season.

But in part because of Bowe’s big contract, the Chiefs were limited in their ability to pursue a receiver in free agency. The only wide receiver likely to make the regular-season roster who wasn’t with the Chiefs last season is rookie Albert Wilson, an undrafted free agent.

So their best chance to see dramatic improvement at the position may rest with Bowe. He had a tough day at practice on Wednesday, dropping a pair of passes and deflected another for an interception.

That’s hardly an indication that Bowe won’t rebound this season. But he hasn’t had a great camp and the Chiefs may be guilty of wishful thinking when it comes to their top wide receiver.

Bowe in September will turn 30, the age when the skills of many receivers start their decline. Could it be that process has already started with Bowe?

We’ll find out soon. Chiefs wide receivers coach David Culley said Bowe is in much better shape than he was last summer. Bowe said he’s in the best shape of his career.

“I know from last year, it’s completely different,’’ said Culley, who in his second season with the Chiefs. “Thirty is a mindset. There’s old 30s and there’s young 30s. Which 30 do you want to be? When he came back, he came back as a young 30 and that’s what you have to do to play in this league for a long time.’’

The Chiefs need Culley to be right. If he’s not, it would be obvious the Chiefs made the wrong decision last year on Bowe.

Camp preview: Kansas City Chiefs

July, 17, 2014
Jul 17
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NFL Nation reporter Adam Teicher examines the three biggest issues facing the Kansas City Chiefs heading into training camp.

Where is Houston? Having outperformed the contract he signed with the Chiefs as a third-round draft pick in 2011, outside linebacker Justin Houston was absent for all the offseason practices, including the mandatory minicamp. Since Houston’s only leverage for getting a contract extension this year is to stay away from camp until he gets it, it's unlikely he will show without a new deal. That would be a tough blow for the Chiefs. Houston is their top proven pass-rusher and arguably their best all-around defensive player. The pass rush, which was on a record pace for sacks over the first half of last season, sagged measurably after a dislocated elbow caused him to miss the final five regular-season games. The Chiefs would not be left without quality edge pass-rushers. Veteran Tamba Hali, another Pro Bowler, is on the other side, and the Chiefs drafted Auburn’s Dee Ford in the first round. Ford looked promising as a pass-rusher during offseason practice, but it’s a bit much to expect him to immediately be as versatile as Houston. Ford was a defensive end in college and has much to learn before he is on Houston’s level.

Who is at corner? The Chiefs released Brandon Flowers last month, leaving them perilously thin at cornerback. With the exception of 5-foot-9 nickelback Chris Owens, all their remaining cornerbacks are big and capable of getting physical with opposing receivers, as the Chiefs prefer. But the quality is a concern. Veteran Sean Smith steps in as the top cornerback, and he held his own as a starter last season. Marcus Cooper will at least begin camp as the other starter. As a rookie, he played well for the first half of last season as the third cornerback, but his play tailed off badly in the second half, to the point that the Chiefs benched him. Cooper has the physical tools to be a decent starter, but he showed over the final few games of last season that he has a lot to learn. The Chiefs drafted Phillip Gaines of Rice in the third round this year, but during offseason practice it didn’t look like he was ready to contribute. Journeyman Ron Parker played well in his one start last season. But he got a lot of playing time during the offseason and was often exposed.

A rebound for Bowe? In September, Dwayne Bowe turns 30, an ominous age for a wide receiver because that is when many begin to lose their skills. That process might already have started for Bowe, who had the worst full statistical season of his career in 2013. Still, Bowe represents the Chiefs’ most realistic hope for improvement at what was largely an unproductive position last season. The Chiefs added former Canadian League star Weston Dressler and drafted speedy De'Anthony Thomas in the fourth round, but they are slot receivers and are merely trying to replace the production lost with the free-agent departure of Dexter McCluster. Otherwise, the Chiefs will go with the same uninspiring cast of receivers as last season, meaning Bowe needs to get back to what he was earlier in his career. That is not an unreasonable expectation. Bowe was never particularly fast, so he doesn’t have a lot of speed to lose. The Chiefs need to do a better job of playing to his strengths, the main one being his ability to find yards after the catch. The Chiefs should get back to the bubble screens that were so productive for Bowe earlier in his career.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Some observations from Kansas City Chiefs' practice:
  • Depth at slot receiver has been eroded. Weston Dressler was the latest casualty when he pulled up after a play and grabbed his left leg. Dressler injured his hamstring and didn't return to practice. He might not return before offseason practice concludes with next week's three-day mini-camp. Other top slot receiver candidates who haven't been working recently include Junior Hemingway (illness), Kyle Williams (rehabbing after last year's ACL surgery) and rookie De'Anthony Thomas (ineligible under NFL rules to begin practice until next week). Frankie Hammond Jr., who spent all of last season on the practice squad as an undrafted rookie, has been getting a lot of the work and making the most of it.
  • Running back Jamaal Charles was absent from practice for personal reasons.
  • Cornerback Sean Smith is still running second-team because of his demotion for his recent DUI. But Smith had a pair of interceptions in a 7-on-7 drill. He picked off a pass from Chase Daniel that was deflected by tight end Richard Gordon. Smith intercepted another pass when Tyler Bray was late with a throw intended for Darryl Surgent.
  • Dwayne Bowe had the catch of the day when he hauled in a pass from Alex Smith despite good coverage by Ron Parker, who is Sean Smith's replacement. Parker was in position to make the interception but didn't adjust to the ball and left a small opening for Bowe to make the catch. Parker got even two plays later when he broke up a Smith pass, also intended for Bowe.
  • Safety Daniel Sorensen, an undrafted rookie, showed great instincts when he got a great jump on a Daniel throw intended for tight end Sean McGrath to make an interception.
I’ve finished my analysis of the Kansas City Chiefs' various position groups and whether I think the player additions made those positions better or worse. I also considered returning players and whether I thought they would significantly improve or regress in making my calls.

I broke the roster into nine position groups and determined the Chiefs would be better at six of them and worse at three. You can find all these breakdowns here.

But does that mean the Chiefs as a whole are better?

[+] EnlargeEric Fisher
Chuck Cook/USA TODAY SportsWhether Eric Fisher can replace departed tackle Branden Albert is among the questions facing the Chiefs after a busy offseason.
"We’ve improved the Kansas City Chiefs," general manager John Dorsey said shortly after the conclusion of the draft. "We’ve created that competitive depth that we continually talk about.

"We’ll see. Right now we feel pretty good about where we are at this stage. Any time you have a chance to add the quality of players that we added through this draft class, I feel pretty good here."

The Chiefs took heavy losses in free agency. They watched as seven players who were regulars at one point or another last season walked out the door.

That is not the part that concerns me, and it obviously doesn’t concern the Chiefs. They had done a nice job of building depth at some spots, particularly on the offensive line, and in many of the cases they can replace their departed free agents with players they had drafted in recent years. Where they can’t, they filled in adequately by signing players like defensive lineman Vance Walker and linebacker Joe Mays.

Just because they adequately plugged holes doesn’t mean the Chiefs are better. In a couple of areas, the Chiefs can only be hopeful they don’t take a large step backward. One is the offensive line, where they lost three players who were regulars last season. The big loss was left tackle Branden Albert. He will be replaced by Eric Fisher, who will eventually become as good a player as Albert was last season.

But anyone who watched Fisher’s rocky rookie season last year can’t think that day will come soon.

Another position of concern is wide receiver, where the Chiefs had one of the league’s least productive groups of players last season. Between a bounce-back season from Dwayne Bowe, development from A.J. Jenkins and contributions from other young and unproven players, the Chiefs seem confident here. I wonder whether the Chiefs can continue the progress they made in their passing game toward the end of last season without some receiving help.

"It’s not over yet," Dorsey said about the possibility of acquiring another wide receiver without acknowledging the need. "There are still opportunities to acquire the type of player you’re looking at, if in fact you want to go in that direction."

For the Chiefs, free agency was about finding solid role players, but not impact players. Their draft might eventually prove to be a good one, but looks short on players who can help immediately. First-round outside linebacker Dee Ford has a pair of Pro Bowl players ahead of him at his position.

The Chiefs have some intangible things going for them. The biggest is continuity on the coaching staff. They will have the same offensive coordinator for a second straight season for the first time since 2007.

That will count for something. But not enough to help them be a much better team than they were last season.
Bigger is better when it comes to wide receivers. That’s not a secret around the NFL, and it’s not a notion that’s particularly new. Speed matters, but size is generally what wins out.

That’s something all teams, the Kansas City Chiefs included, believe. Bigger, stronger receivers are more capable of shucking physical coverage and making catches in a larger radius, thus giving the quarterback more room for error. That’s accepted fact in the NFL, not opinion.

Now comes my ESPN colleague, Mike Rodak, who covers the Buffalo Bills, with an interesting story. Rodak went through NFL rosters and figured an average height for the wide receivers for each team.

The Bills led the league with an average height of 6-2. Of more interest to you, the Chiefs came in next to last at slightly less than 5-11 1/2. And that doesn’t even count rookie De'Anthony Thomas, who should be playing at least some as a slot receiver but is being listed for the time being as a running back.

Thomas is 5-9.

A height of 6-2 is generally considered the dividing line for a receiver between having the right size and not. Dwayne Bowe at 6-2 is the only Chiefs' receiver who passes the test. Among the others who could or might play a significant amount next season, Donnie Avery is 5-11, A.J. Jenkins 6-0, Junior Hemingway 6-1 and Weston Dressler 5-7.

The Bills, as a comparison, have seven wide receivers who stand at least 6-2.

The Chiefs have some tall tight ends who can help compensate. Travis Kelce, who showed some impressive receiving skills last year before a knee ailment ruined his rookie season, is 6-5, as is Sean McGrath. Anthony Fasano, who caught three touchdown passes last year despite missing seven games with injuries, is 6-4.

But this is an issue for the Chiefs. Their receivers were at or near the bottom of the league in production last year and a lack of size is one reason why.

It’s not just my opinion here. Read what Bills general manager Doug Whaley had to say. The Chiefs may not go on the record as saying so, but they agree, too.
Here’s another installment of our detailed look at the Kansas City Chiefs roster by position with a determination whether they improved or not since the end of last season. Keep in mind that the Chiefs can continue to make roster moves and could make significant additions or subtractions before they arrive at training camp. But the bulk of the roster they will take to Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph is intact.

We’ll continue here with the wide receivers.

Bowe
End of 2013: Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, Dexter McCluster, A.J. Jenkins, Junior Hemingway.

Serious 2014 roster candidates: Bowe, Avery, Jenkins, Hemingway, Weston Dressler, Frankie Hammond, De'Anthony Thomas.

Analysis: This position was already a disappointment last year and trouble signs abound again. Bowe had what was statistically the worst full season of his career and he will be 30 in September. That’s not an age when many receivers make a leap in production. Avery had what for him was a typical season, so he probably won’t deliver much more. Thomas, a fourth-round draft pick, could have an impact as a slot receiver, but it’s not realistic to expect him to give more than McCluster did last season. The Chiefs are hopeful of a big jump from Jenkins, pointing to the big catch he had in the playoff loss to Indianapolis. It may happen, but it’s not wise for the Chiefs to count on it. Kyle Williams had knee surgery late last season, making it difficult to predict if he will make the roster or be able to contribute any time soon. But if he’s healthy in time, he could help.

Better or worse? Worse. The Chiefs lost McCluster, their second-leading wide receiver but didn't replace him with a proven commodity.

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