OTAs are the time for trying things out, not flipping out, so relax, Chiefs fans
By SEAN KEELERFS Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jonathan Baldwin.
Two words, one spring superstar. And the thing you need to tell your pal next door the next time he starts pulling his hair out over
Kansas City Chiefs news in May.
A year ago at this time — 'round about May 30, 2012 — the buzz along Arrowhead Drive was all about Jon Baldwin. Jon Baldwin and his one-handed catches. Jon Baldwin and his refusal to adhere to the laws of gravity. Jon Baldwin and his magic beanstalk.
Jon Baldwin, Mr. Incredible.
Jon Baldwin, who managed a whopping 1.3 catches per game in the fall. Jon Baldwin, who was targeted a staggering 3.13 times per game once the real bullets started flying. Jon Baldwin, the man who logged exactly one regular-season touchdown grab a season ago.
Jon Baldwin, Mr. Invisible.
Now we bring this up not to pick on Jon Baldwin, who's a big guy — literally, he's 6-foot-4, 230 pounds of steel — and can take care of himself. We're not mocking Jon Baldwin.
We're mocking May.
By several accounts, via Twitter and otherwise, the Chiefs' offense had a cruddy Tuesday.
Passes were dropped. Snap counts were missed. It had all the crispness of a nacho chip left to drown at the bottom of the salsa bowl.
And so what?
Shorts and helmets. Two-hand touch. One step above little belts with Velcro flags dangling from either hip.
Relax. May is an NFL marketing victory, one of millions. It even comes with a cool, re-branded title: Organized Team Activities, or OTAs for short. Which, you gotta admit, looks much better on a T-shirt.
We love this league so much that we want news — chartable, concrete news — from a touch-only, no-pads practice, some 14 weeks before the real bullets start flying.
May football is the preamble to the preamble to the preamble. It's a dress rehearsal, only without the full dress. It's football devoid of fantasy drafts and "flex" players.
Yes, it's fun. Yes, it's a fantastic meet-and-greet, before the blood pressures (and stakes) start rising.
It's also gridiron window-shopping, a series of test drives. It's about trying things out. Free agents. Rookies. Formations. Plays.
Andy Reid is no dummy. I love the read-option idea as much as the next guy, but the stuff the new coach really wants to unleash upon the unsuspecting NFL, he's not going to trot out in front of dozens of media types who can't keep their itchy fingers off their smart phones. Or Ned Yost, if he happens to be taking a peek through a knothole.
On Tuesday, after all the hand-wringing, new special teams coordinator Dave Toub — also no dummy — was asked about one of the many spring experiments, rookie tailback Knile Davis returning kicks, something the kid had never done at the University of Arkansas.
Is this the alignment? Is this how Davis is going to see the field? Does this thing have legs?
"It's so early right now,” Toub replied. "With the shorts on, there are a lot of guys that look good. We've just got to wait and see.”
You wait. You see. Yes, there will be bad days at the office, and better now than later. And if someone invents a way to play fantasy football in May, Lord help us all.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.