Jul 26, 2014; St. Joseph, MO; Chiefs wide receiver Donnie Avery (17) catches a pass against cornerback Chris Owens (20) during training camp. Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson on Monday offered his view on what it takes for a wide receiver to succeed in head coach Andy Reid’s version of the West Coast offense.
“Well first of all,” Pederson said, “they have to understand our offense, No. 1. We move them around so much. Dwayne (Bowe) is not always on the outside, he’s on the inside.
“Tight ends are not always inside; they are outside same with running backs. So you look for the mental capacity and how much they can handle. Having the ability to defeat bump-and-run because in the National Football League, you have to defeat bump and run first and foremost.
“And then can they sustain down the field,” Pederson continued. “Meaning, blocks, routes, top routes, creating separation and understanding coverage. Those types of things create a receiver that we can use in this system.”
If it sounds familiar, it should.
Some of Reid’s former Philadelphia Eagles players have told ChiefsSpin.com the virtual same things in recent months.
From a March 31 article, former Eagles wide receiver Todd Pinkston on the type of wide receiver Reid looks for and former Eagles scout John Middlekauff on having the mental capacity Pederson mentioned Monday:
“He’s had big receivers, he’s had small receivers,” Pinkston said. “He had Freddie Mitchell, Greg Lewis, T.O. and myself. There’s no particular height he’s looking for. He’s just looking for a smart receiver that’s going to go out there and give 100 percent every time.”
Middlekauff agreed on the intelligence aspect and categorized Reid’s passing offense as “complicated.” He added the action will dictate a lot of plays.
“You have to be a smart player,” Middlekauff said. “The other thing is you never know when you’re going to get the ball. He runs a lot of three-receiver sets. That’s what he likes to do. You’re going to get a lot of playing time and you’re going to be on the field a lot.”
When it comes to tight end, here’s a good reference point that also offers links at the bottom to previous articles on the position, complete with input from former tight ends who played for Reid.
The common theme for Reid’s system as told by former players intimately familiar with the scheme surrounds a two-year learning curve to fully understand what is expected.
“That second year you have to know what you’re doing because he’s going to put everything on the receiver corps,” Pinkston said in March. “Every player is supposed to know what they’re doing in their second year in the system.”
The Chiefs currently have 13 wide receivers in training camp, including last year’s starters in Bowe and Donnie Avery, and two preseason games before the first roster cuts from 90 to 75 players on Tuesday, Aug. 26.
The final roster cuts from 75 to the 53-man roster are Saturday, Aug. 30.
While talent is difficult to ignore, a wide receiver in the Chiefs’ offense must also be a good fit by possessing the attributes the coaching staff desires.