|04-06-2013, 07:38 AM||Topic Starter|
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Flanagan:McCluster could be Andy Reidís secret weapon
McCluster could be Andy Reidís secret weapon
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Ė If anyone in the Chiefsí offense should be excited about the arrival of new coach Andy Reid, it would be Dexter McCluster.
The diminutive McCluster (5 feet 8, 170 pounds) was drafted in 2010 as a multi-purpose weapon, which he was that season with the Chiefs with Todd Haley as coach and Charlie Weis as offensive coordinator.
As a rookie, McCluster caught 21 passes for 209 yards, returned 13 punts (including a 94-yarder for a touchdown), returned 26 kickoffs for 527 yards and rushed 18 times for 71 yards (six of those rushes went for first downs).
And with Weis gone in 2011 but his system still in place, McCluster caught 46 passes for 328 yards and ran 114 times for 516 yards, along with his punt and kickoff return duties.
But that versatility screeched to a halt under new coach Romeo Crennel and new offensive coordinator Brain Daboll in 2012. McCluster was virtually eliminated from the return game, rushed only 12 times all season, and was used almost exclusively as a slot receiver.
Reid already has vowed he will use McCluster much like Weis did Ė in a variety of roles.
"Heís a unique talent because he can do a few different things for you, whether itís special teams as a returner, or whether itís offense as a receiver or a running back," Reid said. "You saw what Charlie [Weis] did with him the one year where he kind of mixed him in the different positions offensively and he can handle that. Heís a sharp kid. Obviously heís a talented kid."
Reid wouldnít take the bait when asked why anyone would reduce McClusterís role as much as the Chiefs did last year.
"He was banged up just a bit and he played through it," Reid said, stone-faced. "I think that storyís been told. He was really put in one position as a slot receiver. I think his value Ė and itís a tribute to him Ė is that you can move him into different spots where you can utilize his talents the best.
"I know heís a tough kid and I know heís a hard worker. So weíll try to put him in positions where we can exploit what he does best or what we feel he does best."
Reid, in fact, liked McCluster so much that he wanted to make him an Eagle in 2010.
"You know what, I was interested in drafting him, it just didnít fall that way," Reid said. "But I did have some interest. I liked him as a football player."
McCluster said he wasnít aware the Eagles were ready to draft him. The Eagles were one spot behind the Chiefs when Kansas City took McCluster with the 36th overall pick. The Eagles wound up with safety Nate Allen at No. 37.
"I had no idea," McCluster said. "Itís nice to know. But I didnít visit them or anything."
But McCluster is ready to get acquainted with the Reid offense.
"I have not gone back and watched any film from Coach Reid," McCluster said. "But as a person that watches football, Iíve seen the success his offense has brought. He knows offense."
Reid already has told McCluster changes are coming in how he will be used.
"I know he said he wants to use me in multiple places," McCluster said. "Thatís the type of player I am and the type of player Iíve always been.
"Now Iíll have the opportunity to showcase my talents and what I do best."
And if McCluster were suddenly anointed the offensive coordinator, how would he utilize his talents?
"Oh, man, I donít know," he said, laughing. "My best role is to keep the defense on their toes. Move me around. Keep them guessing."
First things first: McCluster and the Chiefs will have to rid themselves of any recollection of 2012 and the 2-14 record.
"Honestly, me personally, I erased it from my memory the minute the season was over," he said. "Yes, itís definitely a new beginning. There are a lot of people that look like theyíre ready to go.
"I feel like itís going to be a good change."
It certainly should be for McCluster.
Reid has big plans for McCluster
By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star
Andy Reid wanted to draft Dexter McCluster in 2010, when Reid coached the Philadelphia Eagles and McCluster was coming out of college at Mississippi.
The Chiefs got to McCluster instead, taking him with a pick early in the second round. But itís no coincidence that one of Reidís favorite topics since joining the Chiefs in January as their new coach is McCluster and what he can do for the Chiefs on offense as a receiver and a runner and on special teams.
ďHeís not the biggest guy in the world, but heís got a heart of a lion,Ē Reid said. ďHeís got that Ö tremendous quickness and can catch. Heís pretty good at running the football, so there is a place for him. You line him up everywhere. You can move him around and kind of do some unique things with him.
ďI like McCluster. I think heís a good football player and he has a role on this football team. Iíve got some things in mind for him.Ē
This wouldnít be the first time that the Chiefs had big plans for McCluster. But he has only infrequently lived up to them.
His signature play from his three seasons with the Chiefs came in his first regular-season game when he returned a punt for a touchdown to spark a victory over San Diego. Otherwise, McCluster has 119 catches, 657 rushing yards and four touchdowns, but few big plays of the game-changing variety.
Reid and offensive coordinator Doug Pederson may not be able to get anything more from McCluster, though it sounds as if they will try.
ďI was interested in drafting him,Ē Reid said. ďIt just didnít fall that way. But I did have some interest. I liked him as a football player. Heís a unique talent because he can do a couple, three different things for you whether itís special teams as a returner or whether itís offense as a receiver or a running back.
ďHis value Ö is that you can move him into different spots where you can utilize his talents the best. You saw what Charlie (Weis) did with him the one year when he kind of mixed him in the different positions offensively. He can handle it. Heís a sharp kid. Obviously heís a talented kid.Ē
For his part, McCluster thought the Eagles might draft him in 2010. He said that at the time he had never met Reid and didnít visit the Eagles in Philadelphia before the draft but ďthere were rumors circulating that he had some interest in me.Ē
Reid will be McClusterís third head coach and Pederson his fourth offensive coordinator. While the others generally kept McCluster at a certain position for an entire season ó he lined up mostly as a receiver in 2010 and 2012 and a running back in 2011 ó the Chiefs donít plan a specific role for McCluster.
That suits him well.
ďKeeping the defense on their toes,Ē McCluster said. ďMove me around, make a headache for the defense. He said he wants to use me in multiple places. Thatís the type of player I am and thatís the type of player Iíve been. Now I have the opportunity to showcase what I can really do.Ē
McCluster said heís as frustrated as anyone that he hasnít delivered more big plays. He played in all 16 games the past two seasons and was the Chiefsí second-leading rusher in 2011 and their second-leading pass receiver last season.
But he said a better test of what he was capable of would come this season.
ďI would just say opportunity,Ē McCluster said when asked why he hasnít been the player the Chiefs, and apparently Reid, envisioned when he was drafted. ďOpportunity has been limited. Iím not a guy thatís always complaining how I want the ball and I need the ball. The chips are going to fall into place. Iíve been saying this for a couple of years now: When itís my time, itís going to be my time. Thatís my mind-set. Iím going to go out there and Iím going to grind. The world will know when Dexter McCluster is out there.Ē
Last edited by Tribal Warfare; 04-07-2013 at 01:00 AM..