Dexter McCluster was a do-everything kind of running back when he was a college player at Ole Miss, and he’s evolving into the same type of versatile threat now that he’s in the NFL. The Kansas City Chiefs have used him in an array of positions since drafting him prior to the 2010 season and the reports from training camp at St. Joseph’s MO are that McCluster will settle into the slotback position for the coming season.
Head coach Romeo Crennel is said to be pleased with what he says from McCluster, though given the boss’ defensive background the final decisions on McCluster’s use are likely to be made by first-year offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. But it’s easy to see McCluster being a valuable weapon with the way the Chiefs’ offense is presently constituted.
A player like McCluster fits in best when the defense can’t key on him. I suppose that’s true of anybody, but especially for a player who is not big enough to be a classic running back, nor flat-out fast enough to be a primary receiver. But someone who can both run and catch? Then you mix them into an offense that establishes the run behind Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis, stretches the field with Jon Baldwin and even on short passes has tight end Tony Moeaki to use over the middle.
This all opens up options for clearing out space to get McCluster the ball on short passes, jailbreak screens, anything that allows him to get in space and use his shiftiness. In a tight AFC West race, small edges are going to decide the difference between first place and fourth place and McCluster could be one of those edges for Kansas City.
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