Commentary: If You Can’t Beat Him, Join Him

From FedEx Field

There have been times over the last nine months where Dwayne Bowe had swallowed so much junk from Todd Haley that he thought he would explode.

Almost from his first day on the Chiefs campus, Haley was after Bowe about his training, his weight, his personality, his hands, his attitude, his focus, his understanding of the offense; to Bowe it seemed like the head coach didn’t like him. Into his third season in the NFL, Bowe couldn’t understand how he’d survived so long by doing so many things wrong.

There were moments when it would all bubble up inside of him and he’d pondered dark thoughts about his coach and his future in the game.

Yet, there was Bowe on Sunday afternoon just moments after his teammates had given Haley a Gatorade shower, standing there laughing with his tormentor and congratulating him on his first victory as an NFL head coach.

“He knows what it takes; he built Larry (Fitzgerald) up to be a great receiver,” said Bowe. “I see it; I know it and I’m trying to get there.

“I’m on board.”

Just a few moments before Bowe was celebrating the victory with his coach, he was getting another earful from Haley. Late in the game the Chiefs offense had the ball and they were forcing the Redskins to use their timeouts. QB Matt Cassel fooled the defense completely when he faked a handoff to Larry Johnson and then took off on a bootleg around the right side.

The play was set up perfectly and the only person between Cassel and a touchdown was CB DeAngelo Hall. But Bowe was on that side of the field. If he executes his block, Cassel scores; if he does not, then Hall makes the tackle. Well, Hall made the tackle and even though the Chiefs got another Ryan Succop FG out of the possession, Haley wanted to chew on Bowe’s ear for a bit.

“He told me to forget about it and go onto the next play,” said Bowe. “He said his piece.”

Bowe sat in front of a locker in the cramped FedEx Field visitor’s dressing room with a hood pulled over his head. Approached from behind, it looked like Bowe was trying to hide. In a sense he was. In this season he’s learned that what he thought he knew, he really didn’t have any idea and the trials and tribulations that were imposed on him by Haley were done for a reason.

“Dwayne has come to understand that we demand a lot of him because we think he can do a lot,” said Haley. “He’s a talented player. He could be one of the better receivers in the league. But you don’t just say that, you don’t just put that on a t-shirt and advertise. You have to work, you have to be mentally tough, you have to be in shape and you have to be smart.”

Bowe was a big part of Sunday’s victory over the Redskins because he finally understands that while he thought he was mentally tough, he was not. And while he thought he was in shape, he was not. And he thought he knew the game, and he did not.

He’s come to understand that he didn’t know what he didn’t know.

“I understand what he’s trying to do,” said Bowe. “I didn’t always understand that. I do now. ”

He caught six passes for 109 yards, including some big catches in the second half when he had four catches for 78 yards. Bowe and Cassel combined on pass plays of 32, 20, 18 and 16 yards. Those were four of the five longest plays the Chiefs offense produced against Washington.

The 32-yarder was huge, coming with less than two minutes to play. Bowe caught a pass on the left side short, and then he took off down the sideline before finally being pushed out of bounds at the Washington nine-yard line. It really snuffed any hopes or ideas that the Redskins had of getting a final shot at winning the game.

There’s no question that QB Matt Cassel feels very comfortable throwing the ball to Bowe. Press box statistics said that Bowe was the target of a Cassel pass 14 times in the game. Out of 32 attempts, that’s a healthy dose of looking for No. 82. No other receiver was the target more than five times (WR Mark Bradley.)

“You’d have to ask him (Cassel) why he threw to me so much,” said Bowe. “He must have liked the matchup. He told me during practice that on third down, he was going to come to me. They play a lot of cover one (man-to-man on the outside receivers) and that’s what he was looking for.

“The timing is starting to come together.”

Somewhere lurking under that guy in the hood is the bubbly, effervescent Dwayne Bowe. Right now, however, that part of his personal is on vacation. He’s gotten a taste of what it takes to be among the NFL elite.

“There’s no limit on what he can do,” said Haley.

Dwayne Bowe is starting to believe that, and he’s starting to take the torrent of attention from his head coach and turn it into something positive.

19 Responses to “Commentary: If You Can’t Beat Him, Join Him”

  • October 18, 2009  - IDChief says:

    That is the way this offense should work in the passing game.. Obviously there needs to be better production, but when Cassel drops back he should be looking for Bowe more often than not. Good teams win because they get the ball to their playmakers and K.C. has no more talented playmeker on the roster than Bowe.

  • October 18, 2009  - mr awsome says:

    wholly crap we won!! omg i forgot what it feels like. our d played good and d bowe did ok he still dropped some balls though our line still sucked but that was a good d and cassel made some brady throws

  • October 18, 2009  - Tenand6 says:

    A first rate, insightful article right after the game. That Gretz is one hell of a writer.

    The media has been so eager to paint Haley as a vindictive prick with no desire to improve a player’s performance when there has been a bigger story to tell.

    I hope this article is forwarded to Chiefs fans who get their news from the Star.

  • October 18, 2009  - Johnfromfairfax says:

    The greatest journey begins with the first small step. It wasn’t the Super Bowl but it’s something to work from. Glad to see it. We’ll keep improving as long as guys continue to step up.

  • October 18, 2009  - richard says:

    anybody know where rin is? i’d love to hear his exuses

  • October 18, 2009  - derrick says:

    We’ve been so close that it feels good to get that first one. Keep it up chiefs!

  • October 18, 2009  - Anonymous says:

    Star…… under Herms the man……Haley’s 0-6 now……Rookie kicker got the win according to the dog

  • October 18, 2009  - ED says:

    Seen this one coming glad we sealed the deal. Still believe we can get 5 to 6 more against Chargers, Bills,Jags, Browns, Bengals,Raiders, and Broncos. Dorsey,Hali, and Demarrio continue to play well on defense. 6 and 10 or 7 and 9 would be a huge positive going into next yr for this team’s confidence. Get us a good o-line, more receivers, and another pass rushing OLB opposite of Hali we’ll be in the playoffs next year and winning the AFC west.

  • October 18, 2009  - chris says:

    Good job Dwayne! Keep up the good work, the sky is the limit!

  • October 18, 2009  - mr awsome says:

    annonimous what the hell are you talking about what dog you freakn nutt

  • October 18, 2009  - findthedr says:

    I have a diffrent take then Mr. Gretz. I think the reason Haley was chewing out Bowe is that he got out of bounds on the long 32yrd catch with minutes left in the game.

    If Bowe had stayed in bounds then the clock would have continued to run…assuring a chiefs victory with a chip-shot field goal. Since the clock stopped (and the chiefs were trying not to turnover the ball), Washington got the ball back and an oppurtunity to win.

  • October 18, 2009  - Bakjon says:

    The dog has been in hiding ever since Cassell led the 2 minute drive against Dallas and he knew the Chiefs were around the corner from winning a game. It doesn’t matter who was responsible for winning the game for the Chiefs as long as they won. It should be the beginning of good things to come. Hopefully there is a full stadium of red when we face San Diego next Sunday.

  • October 19, 2009  - Stiv says:

    Yes, not only did Bowe miss a key block, but he stepped out of bounds in a situation where you absolutely must stay in bounds. He really needs to work on the fine points yet. Plus he had at least 3 drops. Haley has been on Bowe because Bowe doesn’t play a complete game and the Chiefs need him to.

  • October 19, 2009  - Rick says:

    Stiv I agree. Bowe makes a block and Cassell scores easy. Bowe dropped a sure fire catch over the middle. Bowe backstepped to avoid a safety which means he knew the safety was coming so he probably took his eyes off the ball. Still Bowe is all we got for a WR weapon.

  • October 19, 2009  - neckstomp says:

    Gretz nailed it with his lead in.

    If Bowe even makes an effort to put himself low and in the way of D.Hall, Cassell walks into the endzone.

    Top receivers relish knocking a cornerback on their keister. Hines Ward would’ve demolished him – smiling. Heck, even Eddie Kennison would’ve tried to block him.

  • October 19, 2009  - mr awsome says:

    at least bowes not dropping everything this week he made some good plays but hes kinda a puss when it comes to blocking y’know

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