While everyone is talking about the Phumble (or whatever you want to call Philip Rivers’ gaffe at the last second of last night’s Monday Night Football game between the Chiefs and Chargers), another story warrants much more attention than it’s getting. That story is the emergence of a third dynamic receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs in Jonathan Baldwin.
Last night, the rookie receiver from the University of Pittsburgh led all Chiefs receivers with 5 catches and 82 yards last night including one touchdown. It wasn’t a completely dominating performance but it offered glimpses of what the Chiefs were undoubtedly picturing when they signed his name on the draft card back in April’s first round.
“Baldwin couldn’t come up with another two grabs, but he displayed athleticism and big play ability,” says Pro Football Talk’s Gregg Rosenthal. “He changes the Chiefs offense. They have another physical threat opposite Dwayne Bowe. Perhaps they can move Steve Breaston to the slot. The Chiefs started the year as a very limited offense, but they are starting to find answers.”
The Chiefs were hoping to add Baldwin along with Steve Breaston to an offense that already had an All Pro running back in Jamaal Charles and a breakout candidate at tight end in Tony Moeaki. Instead, both were lost for the season due to injuries and even Baldwin suffered an injury in a reported locker room fight with Thomas Jones and was out until two games ago. Yet as the Chiefs have heated up, Baldwin has become available at just the right time.
You can expect Matt Cassel to continue to develop a better chemistry with Baldwin moving forward and for Todd Haley to mold Baldwin week to week. For a team that already has Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs could be looking at their next Pro Bowl receiver.