Baldwin Steps Up as Bowe Continues to Hold Out

Published 08/17 2012 09:48AM

Updated 08/20 2012 01:54PM

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Consider this scenario:  Team cannot come to terms with its number one receiver over the summer. Team stresses throughout camp as said number one receiver continues to hold out.

Not this team - at least not publicly. And perhaps the biggest reason for that is the emergence of Jon Baldwin.

As a rookie in 2011, questions swirled around the Chiefs' 1st round draft pick before he ever stepped on the field.

Regarding not his potential, but his maturity, after missing his first five games to due a thumb injury suffered in a fight. With a teammate.

Meet Jon Baldwin one year later.

"Take a lot of notes, and at nighttime I study those notes so I won't come out and make the same mistake. That's one thing Coach Nick jars on, don't make the same mistake twice."

Baldwin's no longer a rookie. And really for the first time he and Matt Cassel are healthy at the same time.
"We go back and forth and it just makes the communication a lot better with him understanding where I'm going to be on certain routes and me knowing where he's going to put the ball on certain routes."

Now comparing a guy with one career receiving touchdown to, say, an all-world talent like Larry Fitzgerald probably seems preposterous. But practicing opposite the Cardinals here in St. Joe, Baldwin's ability to go up and get the ball looked awfully similar to the man who had a big influence on where he went to college.

"When I was in high school Larry was at Pitt, and then he went to the NFL and he was one of the guys I kind of looked up to, just the way he attacked the ball and how he approaches the game, all the things that he does, I just try to take some of those things out of his game and incorporate into my game."

"Larry's a great receiver, Jon he has some ways to go," says Chiefs' wide receiver Steve Breaston.  "But potential, Jon has a lot of potential, you've seen that some of the catches he's made all throughout camp. He's headed in the right direction."

That's been the talk of preseason. Baldwin as not only the most improved player for this organization,but even potentially one of the breakout guys in the entire league.

"I'm just going to try to make every play possible, and he understands that and he just gives me a chance to make a play."

"The biggest thing with him is he has to stay hungry and keep progressing, because he's going to make those plays, and as long as he keeps making them on a consistent basis, and keeps wowing people, he's going to be up there," says Breaston.

He'll have to do it on Sunday's for starters. But the injured thumb seems so long ago now that the Chiefs just might survive with or without Dwayne Bowe.

(Nick King, KODE Sports, Joplin, MO)

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