When the Kansas City Chiefs offense takes the field Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, they will have the services of Dwayne Bowe for the first time in a month. One of the players lining up opposite Bowe, Browns CB Brandon McDonald, returned to the starting lineup last week after spending three games on the bench.
Coach Eric Mangini said defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and secondary coach Jerome Henderson met with McDonald last week. McDonald has struggled all season allowing long pass plays and has been inconsistent tackling.
“They talked to him about the importance of being able to address the areas that we wanted him to address, and I thought he’s responded well to it,” Mangini said. “The nice thing for anybody who’s here is each week you’ll have the opportunity to change your status. That’s real. He sees it’s real, all the guys see it’s real.
“It’s important they understand that, because you’re not in a hole you can’t get out of, you’re not in a situation you can’t change by improving in certain areas.”
Ryan said a couple of weeks ago that McDonald was down emotionally for one practice, but bounced back and worked hard. He had played nickelback after Mike Adams replaced him in the lineup.
Mangini said practice is where the improvement must be made.
“Whenever you’re struggling you try to really emphasize those things in practice, really isolate ‘em,” he said. “It’s hard to go out and work on something you’re not very good at. It’s uncomfortable. You’re not going to look as good as you want to look during the course of practice, but as a coaching staff we get that.
“Without identifying those things and having a deliberate plan to fix it, it never gets any better. So we’re always encouraging guys. The easy thing is to go out and do the stuff you’re good at.”
McDonald shouldn’t be fazed if he has to face Bowe since he was thrown right into the fire last week when he had to cover Pittsburgh’s Hines Ward. And really I would expect 3rd year CB Eric Wright to get most of the reps against the Chiefs No. 1 WR.
Cleveland gives up over 140 yards on the ground every game, one of the worst marks in the league, but at almost 240 passing yards per game they aren’t a whole lot better in the air. One of the biggest problems last week for Kansas City when they went to the air they were trying to attack a strength for the Bills. This week that won’t be a problem. No matter which was Todd Haley decides to go he will be going straight for a weakness.