With Dwayne Bowe injured and unavailable to play this week, the Chiefs have a desperate need for a competent wide receiver. On their bench, the Chiefs have one with more than 250 career catches and 3,330 career yards who had 61 receptions as recently as last season.
But coach Romeo Crennel said Wednesday that he hadn’t made the decision whether that player, Steve Breaston, would be in uniform for Sunday’s game against the Raiders in Oakland.
“We’re going to work during the week and we’re going to see who will give us the best chance in the game, and then those guys will be active,’’ Crennel said.
Crennel listed Breaston and rookie Devon Wylie as possibilities to get some playing time at wide receiver in Bowe’s absence. But with Bowe out, the Chiefs have no receiver on their roster with proven ability like Breaston. Among their other wide receivers, Dexter McCluster has the most career catches with 108.
Like many Chiefs players, Breaston is having a disappointing season. He has just seven catches and 74 yards and hasn’t even suited up for four of the last five games, not because of injury but because Crennel didn’t think he could help.
Even so, he seemed the obvious choice to step into the lineup this week. That may eventually happen, but Crennel said he has some things to prove first.
“He needs to show he has a greater understanding of the game plan and he can execute the game plan,’’ Crennel said. “If he can do that, he can be in uniform. There have been other guys who have been showing us a little bit more, so we decided to go with those guys.’’
After practice, Breaston said he didn’t think he would play on Sunday.
“As far as I know, my status is still the same,’’ he said.
But he was surprised to hear that Crennel had said he didn’t understand the offense.
“Me?” Breaston said. “They didn’t tell me that. I wouldn’t go as far to say I don’t understand the offense. I just know that, personally, I do know the offense.’’
Breaston indicated he didn’t know why he has fallen so far from favor with Crennel.
“You can’t fight City Hall,’’ he said. “I’m just trying to stay out of the way. I don’t understand this, either. I don’t want to bring any more (negative) attention to a situation that’s already the way it is the way our team is going this year. I’ve always said, ‘I don’t want to be that guy.’ I’m trying to be a good team player.
“I don’t ask too many questions. I don’t understand it. It’s difficult. I’m just going to keep working.’’
Without Bowe, the Chiefs are left with the underachieving Jon Baldwin, who has 18 catches this season, as one starter. The other starter is unclear, though Jamar Newsome occupied that spot during individual drills in practice on Wednesday.
Newsome spent most of this season on the practice squad.
After Bowe and McCluster, who have 100 catches between them, the Chiefs’ next leading wide receiver is Baldwin. Crennel suggested the Chiefs would get more good plays from their wide receivers with Bowe out of the lineup.
“We’ve gotten production from Bowe and maybe we’ve given him the ball too much at the expense of the other guys,’’ Crennel said. “When you’ve got a guy making catches . . . he runs with it after the catch, so we’ve been going to him.’’
Crennel didn’t confirm that Bowe, who has injured ribs, is out for the season.
“I’m going to wait a couple more days and they’re going to give me some definitive results on some of the tests they’re running,’’ Crennel said. “If I determine that he can’t play, then we’ll put him on (injured-reserve).
“We’re taking our time looking at his injury, seeing exactly what it is and what we need to do with it and in the meantime, the other receivers have to step up,’’ Crennel said. “Breaston, Baldwin, Wiley, they have to step up and give us some production at that position.’’