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 McCluster at RB

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PostSubject: McCluster at RB   Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:17 pm

Chiefs to keep McCluster at running back

Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on August 22, 2011, 1:36 PM EDT
Reuters

The experiment of using Dexter McCluster primarily as a slot receiver seems over, at least for this season.

The Chiefs have used McCluster almost exclusively at running back
throughout training camp, where he’s used in special packages behind Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones.

For whatever reason, the team still lists McCluster at receiver on
their official depth chart. But the 170-pounder just didn’t seem to pick
up the position naturally and the Chiefs want to play to his strengths.

“There is a clear-cut vision for him right now,” Chiefs coach Todd Haley said, via KCChiefs.com.

The Chiefs used McCluster as a third down back the other night, a role
in which he was very effective. Don’t be surprised to see him get a
reasonable amount of playing time with the first unit, perhaps at the
expense of Thomas Jones.

“The other night, that excited me,” Haley said. “Seven touches, to me
it’s four or five runs and four or five catches and however many snaps
that takes that doesn’t matter to me nearly as much as this guy clearly
in space is a hazard to the defense.”

The Chiefs’ wide receivers don’t scare anyone as a group. They need to get the ball in the hands of Jamaal Charles, tight end Tony Moeaki, and McCluster in order to threaten defenses.

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PostSubject: Re: McCluster at RB   Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:38 pm

Chiefs hope McCluster is busy weapon in backfield
By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star

The competition for work at Dexter McCluster’s new position can be
intimidating. Also in line for snaps as the Chiefs’ featured back are
Jamaal Charles, who rushed for almost 1,500 yards last season, and
Thomas Jones, whose streak of five straight 1,000-plus-yard season was
snapped only last year.

McCluster figures the talents of his teammates can make him only more valuable to the Chiefs.

“Everybody brings something different to the table,” McCluster said.
“They were a great running-back tandem last year; Jamaal with his speed
and Thomas with his power. Throw a little jitterbug in there — and you
never know what will happen.”

That’s what the Chiefs were thinking when they made McCluster a running
back. When training camp started, it didn’t look a if there would be
much for McCluster to do, but he’s been staying busy, sometimes in the
same backfield with either Charles or Jones.

He was the featured back on the Chiefs’ only touchdown drive of the
preseason. It happened late in the first half of last week’s game in
Baltimore.

McCluster, between runs and catches, accounted for 38 of the drive’s 80 yards.

“There’s a clear-cut vision for him right now,” coach Todd Haley said.
“You saw some of that the other night. He made a number of plays, seven
touches or so, that he made that I thought were kind of exciting, good
things for us as a team and good things for him.

“I’m not thinking snaps so much as touches. Four or five runs, four or
five catches (per game). How many snaps that takes, that doesn’t matter
to me. This guy clearly in space is a hazard to the defense. He probably
got a little worked up a little the other night. We didn’t throw to him
a couple of times where he had touchdowns.”

The Chiefs used McCluster mainly as their third receiver last year as a
rookie, but he had little impact. He caught 21 passes, scored one
touchdown and missed five games because of an ankle injury.

As a receiver, he never presented the matchup problems the Chiefs envisioned.

“We knew he had the versatility to do both,” said Haley, referring to
running back and receiver. “He did both in college and was very
productive in both areas at different times. Being that slot receiver
from a learning standpoint takes some time when you haven’t lined up and
done it for four years in college. Knowing we were going to miss an
offseason. I thought that would be a potential setback for him.”

McCluster has operated exclusively out of the backfield so far in camp
and the preseason. That spot may be better for the 5-foot-8, 170-pound
McCluster. As a receiver, he’s difficult for the quarterback to see.

As a back, he’s difficult for the defense to track.

“I get lost behind the big offensive linemen,” he said.

The Chiefs are finding enough work to keep him busy. He will also return
some punts and kickoffs, though he hasn’t done that in a game yet.

“Honestly, I’m loving my role,” McCluster said. “The (coaching) staff will put me in positions where I can use whatever I have.

“Defenses are going to have to start game-planning. We have Jamaal out
there or Thomas out there as well as me out there at the same time, you
never know who’s going to get the ball.”

If the Chiefs are going to use McCluster as a third-down back, he will
need to improve as a pass blocker. He whiffed on a block on a third-down
play against Baltimore and allowed Matt Cassel to be sacked.

“Everybody can see I’m not the biggest running back, not the biggest
guy,” McCluster said. “But you know what? My heart and my
competitiveness won’t let me shy away from the pass protection. I’m
learning it. It’s coming along.”

The Chiefs aren’t ready to give up on McCluster as a pass blocker.

“We’re still working hard on protection,” Haley said. “He had a couple
of minuses in that area (in Baltimore). But from a standpoint of
creating some matchup issues out of the backfield, I think there’s some
exciting stuff there.

“We’ll have to see. That works both ways. There’s no question I’ve seen
enough in practice that Dexter physically, he’ll stand in there with
anybody. There’s some learning involved and some technique and how you
want to do it. I know he’s being well-coached on it and I believe he’ll
figure it out.”

Preseason progress
Dexter McCluster hasn’t had a return in the preseason, and he hasn’t
scored, but he has been productive when he has touched the ball during
the Chiefs’ first two preseason games.

6 attempts

30 yards

5.0 average

13 long

3 catches

47 yards

15.7 average

19 long

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PostSubject: Re: McCluster at RB   Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:07 pm

I actually like this move.. It may not be good for some fantasy owners standpoint. But I think in the long run it is good for JC's health down the stretch and our team as a whole.

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PostSubject: Re: McCluster at RB   Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:15 am

We should have no problems whatsoever keeping Charles and even Jones fresh with McClain and McCluster added to the mix at RB.

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PostSubject: Re: McCluster at RB   Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:04 pm

RB does seem to be easily his best current position. He won't reach his potential as a football player until he develops as a slot receiver though.
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