One of the more scrutinized players in the AFC West this summer is Kansas City third-year receiver Jon Baldwin.
He is not taking the necessary steps forward in his career. The Chiefs hopes a regime change would help spur the 2011 first-round pick. Still, Baldwin is not showing much consistency. He had another big drop against San Francisco on Friday and he looked lost at times in the game.
Baldwin, who has all the measurables teams look for in a dominant receiver, is the type of player who can look great in practices, but he often disappears in games. He has 41 catches in two NFL seasons. During the weekend, new Kansas City coach Andy Reid seemed to show his patience is wearing thin with Baldwin.
“We gave him the opportunity this week and you have to catch the football,” Reid said. “That’s how it works, and he knows that and I know that. When we give you an opportunity, you have to make sure you take advantage of the opportunity … He needs to keep playing, and (when) given the opportunity, he needs to take advantage of it.”
I talked to ESPN’s Matt Williamson about Baldwin. Williamson said he think Baldwin’s career is still salvageable. But he might benefit from a change of scenery. While there are teams that are thin at receiver and there could be a modest market for Baldwin, the truth is, the Chiefs are not overly deep at receiver. They are counting on Baldwin this year.
If I were the Chiefs, I wouldn’t give up on him yet. It’s just his third year and his first with Reid. If Baldwin doesn’t improve this year, then Kansas City should consider all of its options.
For now, it seems like the Chiefs aren’t ready to give up on him.
“We keep shooting the ball to him and that’s the thing, and you don’t know what you will get out of him,” Kansas City offensive coordinator Doug Pederson told reporters Sunday. “If he is in a slump, and I don’t think he is, I just think he needs to continue to focus and detail his work. Alex (Smith) has the utmost trust in him and is still going to throw him the football. You slowly work yourself out of, if he’s down from drops or mental errors or whatever it is, you just work yourself out of it. You continue to press on. We always talk about short term memory. You have to have it in this business and move on.”
If not, Baldwin will likely be moving out of Kansas City.