One thing is clear about Dwayne Bowe's career: there's a pre-Haley and post-Haley dividing line. The Haley in question is Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley, a man known for his work with receivers like Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. It's the same reason that Steve Breaston chose the Chiefs to come back to work with Haley when he finally earned free agency from the Arizona Cardinals. And it's Haley's challenge to Bowe -- and credit to his own willingness to work -- that has brought Bowe to where he's at today.
Last year, Bowe led the NFL in touchdown receptions by two. That's a wide margin for such a limited category, but it showed two things. First, it revealed how one-sided the Chiefs passing attack was. Bowe was it in terms of wideouts. Secondly, however, it showed how talented he was. Teams would double Bowe and he still found ways to make it into the end zone.
This year, he's taking that talent even further. In response to his 52 yard touchdown catch from Matt Cassel, it's clear that Haley's work with him in practice is paying off in game time. In fact, it's also clear that Bowe wants to make his head coach proud of him.
"Coach likes to take pride on YAC (yards after the catch)," said Bowe after the game. "All week, when I caught one, he’d make me sprint 20 yards downfield. So when I get my hands on it, I’m hearing him scream, ‘Get up the field! Get up the field!’ It just carries over in the game."
It didn't just carry over into the game. It won the game. Bowe's touchdown was the deciding seven over the Vikings in a game that should have been blown open much wider than it was. But it wasn't just the touchdown. Bowe's blocking is also a point of pride and it's something that Haley has preached about as well.
"We’re going to run it 50% and we’re going to pass it 50%. If you want to be one of the elite (wide receivers) you have to block. I take pride in that and Todd [Haley] takes pride in that."
Bowe was definitely talented when he came into the league from LSU and he had a tremendous first couple of seasons. But it was also clear he was coasting on talent. At this stage, Bowe is earning the right to be called an elite wide receiver in the NFL and the Chiefs have Todd Haley to thank for his development.