Rookie WR Dexter McCluster has been the talk of training camp thanks to his daily Madden-style move. In today’s Kansas City Star, Sam Mellinger has a fantastic article on McCluster that ends up asking if hype will match the production when the regular season rolls around.
Maybe we saw the first bit of that when he dropped two punts in a row in front of 10,000 or so fans at the Chiefs’ scrimmage on Saturday. Dante Hall sold a lot of jerseys, too.
McCluster will not make or break the Chiefs this year. He’s a bit like a kickass stereo system in your car — fun to play with but not essential to the functionality — which is why he was a curious pick for a team that’s won 10 games in three years.
The Chiefs have players who can be good and need to be good — we’re looking at you, Dwayne Bowe. That group will be more critical to the offense’s success this year. McCluster is dessert, but the Chiefs need to finish dinner first.
McCluster does bring some symbolism, though, of a boring team morphing into something better. Sundays will be more fun this fall, and McCluster is a part of that.
The Chiefs have some of the best young talent in the NFL, including a few key playmakers, and maybe McCluster is the swaggering, dreadlocked face of that movement. Nobody is more likely to turn in the season’s best highlight.
“That’s great and all,” he says, “but I have to do it in a game for it to matter.”
I’m the first to agree that the Bowe’s and Cassel’s of the team have to show up for the Chiefs to start winning games consistently. But in order for any good player to be great, they need to get help from the complimentary players (the dessert as Mellinger likes to call them) and McCluster leads that group for Kansas City. If the rookie can’t get the job done once the Chiefs turn in non-contact drills for “all-live all the time”, it’s going to make it that much harder for the offense to do everything they have in mind.
One day of struggling with punts doesn’t mean much, but maybe the best way to use McCluster on special teams is on kick return and leave punts the responsibility of the more experienced Javier Arenas. Returning punts is much more instinctual, something that Arenas proved on the college level he could do better than anyone else.