The Chiefs received a peek at their immediate future in Sundays loss at Cleveland. They played the final three quarters without their best wide receiver, Dwayne Bowe, who has broken ribs.
Bowe has been ruled out of Sundays game against the Raiders in Oakland and is reportedly finished for the season. That being the case, he may have played his last game for the Chiefs. Bowe was playing this season on the one-year contract he signed last summer after being selected the teams franchise player.
Whether Bowe ever plays for the Chiefs again is an issue that will be settled after the season. For now, theyll have to play against the Raiders without him.
Bowes value to the Chiefs was perhaps never as evident as it was against the Browns. The Chiefs scored their only touchdown and gained almost half of the days yardage in the 12 minutes before Bowe left their lineup for good.
He leads the Chiefs with 59 receptions and 801 yards and has three of their eight touchdown catches.
One of the things Bowe presents is some dependability to our offense, playmaking ability, coach Romeo Crennel said. We all kind of depend on him a little bit. With him being out, what were going to have to do is rely on those other guys to step up and be able to make some plays for us so that we can generate some offense.
The other wide receivers have given the Chiefs little this season. The other starter, Jon Baldwin, has just 18 catches, making him perhaps the most disappointing player on the roster.
Dexter McCluster is second on the Chiefs with 41 catches but has delivered few big plays. Steve Breaston, a starter last season, has caught just seven passes and fallen so far out of favor that he has been inactive for four of the last five games. Breaston was unavailable to play in Cleveland after Bowes injury because he wasnt in uniform.
Well have to see what the game plan calls for and then well make a decision about where Steve fits in, Crennel said.
Terrance Copper led the Chiefs with three catches against the Browns, but he is with the Chiefs mainly for his skills on special teams. The Chiefs drafted rookie Devon Wylie, but they think so little of his skills that hes played in just three games this season.
The two other wide receivers, Jamar Newsome and Josh Bellamy, were recently promoted from the practice squad.
Weve just got to get the other guys to step in and step up and try to get on the same page and get in rhythm, quarterback Brady Quinn said. Thats all you can do.
Quinn said he will try to spend extra practice time this week throwing to players such as Newsome, the fastest of the receivers and one who has played a significant amount in the past three games.
Ill try to take some extra reps with the newer guys, Quinn said. Its really the whole group if you can. Sometimes there are particular routes you work on with particular guys.
If Bowe were in the lineup, the Chiefs might have had some reason to feel good about their passing game against the Raiders. Oakland has one of the worst pass defenses in the league. The Raiders have allowed 300-plus passing yards five times, including the past two weeks.
The Raiders have allowed more points than any other NFL team. Every one of their opponents has scored at least 20 points except, of course, the Chiefs, who were beaten 26-16 by Oakland in October at Arrowhead Stadium
The Chiefs were unable to get much done that day when they passed the ball. They had one play of 20-plus yards, and it was delivered by a player who wont be in uniform this Sunday Bowe.
But the 3-10 Raiders have lost six straight games since beating the Chiefs. The Chiefs have won eight of their last nine games at the Oakland Coliseum.
Well get up and get ready to play against the Raiders because we know it will be a tough, physical game and theyre going to give us everything theyve got and we know we need to give them everything we have, Crennel said. Playing a division opponent, I think that gives you a little bit more juice. Playing the Raiders will be a good game for us to play because I think well get up for the Raiders.