KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe currently has 13 catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns on 24 targets entering Week Five’s game against the Tennessee Titans.
The numbers are a stark contrast from the first four games of 2012 when Bowe totaled 25 catches for 272 yards and three touchdowns on 49 targets.
Still, while Bowe plays a position notorious for diva antics when a player doesn’t get the ball, he’s mostly been all smiles despite the dropped production.
And perhaps the biggest reason is the difference between what the Chiefs went through in 2012 with a 1-3 start to what they’re accomplishing now.
“When you’re 4-0, it’s OK and Dwayne understands that,” Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said during Thursday’s media session. “He’s such a team player. If someone else benefits from him being doubled, he’s going to continue doing what he’s doing.”
“I want to do whatever it takes to win,” Bowe told reporters during Thursday’s locker room media session. “If that means drawing other defenders to me to leave other receivers open, I did my job. If it’s catching the ball and making a touchdown or making a down the field block, it’s all equal, you still get seven points. My job is to help this team win and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Meanwhile, Pederson said opposing defenses are attentive to where Bowe lines up on the field and the coverage dictates where quarterback Alex Smith ultimately throws the ball.
“It’s not the fact we don’t dial his number up because we do it a lot,” he said. “Defenses are aware where 82 is on the field and they know he’s one of our more explosive guys.”
Chiefs fans hoping to see more of the 2012 Bowe version may have to wait. Pederson said the offense isn’t necessarily designed for one player and the ball will be spread around.
However, Pederson adds they are moving Bowe around before the snap in an attempt to get him free.
“We’re moving him around,” he said. “If you notice, we’re putting him in different positions and allowing him to be as explosive as possible.”
The Chiefs coaching staff know what they have in the seven-year pro out of LSU.
Bowe is a proven receiver with a Pro Bowl under his belt and a team leader, an attribute Chiefs coach Andy Reid values.
“His time will come,” Reid said of Bowe during Wednesday’s media session. “He comes out here and works hard every day. He’s a lot of fun to be around; he has a great personality. I appreciate everything he’s doing for our football team.”
It’s a statistic thrown around the last week.
Former Buffalo Bills, current Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who draws the start on Sunday in place of an injured Jake Locker (hip, knee), is 4-1 against the Chiefs.
But the statistic that really should matter is 2-5 since 2009.
That’s Fitzpatrick’s record against current Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton from their respective AFC East days.
Despite the familiarity and past success, Sutton said his defense will proceed with caution against Tennessee’s backup quarterback because he knows Fitzpatrick can hurt the Chiefs if taken lightly.
“Ryan is a really sharp guy on the field, he knows what’s going on and he’s a very aggressive quarterback,” Sutton said during Thursday’s media session. “By that, I mean he is not afraid to make a throw, he plays with confidence, he’s not afraid to throw the ball in there. When you have that and you have mobility, that can make for a dangerous guy.”"
Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson echoed Sutton’s comments during Thursday’s locker room media session.
“He’s not a regular backup quarterback,” Johnson said of Fitzpatrick. “They’re going to run the same offense; you can maybe even do more. You can put the load on his back; he had a successful career at Buffalo at times. He’s one of those guys that wants to show what he’s got, that he still has it, and we’re not going to take it for granted.”
Nevertheless, there’s a sense of familiarity that can’t be overlooked.
Unlike past seasons where Fitzpatrick had his way with the Chiefs, including Week One of 2011 where he threw four touchdown passes or the two touchdown passes in Week Two of 2012, it should be tougher sledding on Sunday.
The Chiefs clearly respect Fitzpatrick, but Sutton defensive scheme could be the equalizer.
“I think from just the standpoint of understanding who he was when we played him, he’s not a guy who is unfamiliar to us,” Sutton said. “I know he can move the ball, I know he can throw the ball, he can escape pressure, and you have to work hard to compete with him mentally on the field.”
Notes: Linebacker Justin Houston was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month, the NFL announced Thursday … Tight end Travis Kelce (knee) and right tackle Eric Fisher (concussion) did not practice … Running back Jamaal Charles, who did not practice Wednesday as he recovers from blisters, practiced in a limited fashion on Thursday … Click here to view Thursday’s injury updates.