Shackles on Chambers

This was supposed to be the year Chris Chambers took the next step and became one of the elite receivers in the NFL, wasn't it? Well, it sure hasn't worked out that way and the question now is how much of it, if any, actually is Chambers' fault.

Coach Dave Wannstedt addressed the issue this week after Chambers expressed his frustration following the Monday night loss to the Jets when he had only three catches, none in the first half.

Wannstedt's reply was simple: None of it has been Chambers' fault.

That's all nice and good, but is it accurate?

Obviously, it would be very difficult for any receiver to put up big numbers with an offense that can't run and barely can protect the quarterback.

Forget about throwing deep, that's almost impossible. Just go back to early in that game against the Jets when the Dolphins called a flea-flicker and Marty Booker found himself wide open behind the secondary. Everybody clearly remembers that Jay Fiedler underthrew the pass and it fell incomplete.

But it also must be pointed out that Fiedler had to move to his right to avoid a pass rusher and he then had to hurry the throw.

So you see the point here.

Chambers' numbers are all down from last year when he put himself in position to earn the big-money contract he got in the offseason.

Clearly, he's a wasted talent and there indeed are a couple of reasons, two of which we already have mentioned.

Another problem is opposing defenses are paying him a lot of attention, something Wannstedt was quick to point out.

But at some point, Chambers also has to get some of the blame. For one, he has dropped a couple of passes this year (everyone does, of course).

For another, the constant attention can only be used so much as an excuse because guys like Randy Moss, Marvin Harrison and Terrell Owens get as much attention as anybody and they still rack up big numbers.

Perhaps the point here is that maybe the expectations were too high for Chambers. Yes, he's a very good wide receiver who might somebody become a Pro Bowl player.

But for those who expected him to jump into the Harrison-Owens-Moss stratosphere, that obviously is going to take a little while longer.

And it's sure not going to happen with an offense this bad.

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