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Chris Chambers: Pro Bowler or Underachiever

It's time once again to have guest writer Travis Wingfield check in with us. In his latest article, he talks about his favorite player, Chris Chambers:

If I were to go into a room full of Dolphins' fans and ask for thoughts on Chris Chambers, I would get a large variety of perspectives and opinions. Some see Chambers as a guy who has tremendous abilities and is on the verge of superstardom, while others would argue that he is a life long underachiever who will never gain the focus he lacks which prevents him from becoming elite. The latter group would call 2007 a do or die season for Chris and that if he doesn't perform, we could be watching his last year in our beloved aqua and coral. There are certainly arguments each side could present that would prove to be correct, but there is no denying he has the abilities to take over a game and the potential to be a great wide receiver in the NFL.

As has been his troubled times, Chambers struggled in 2006 trying to get acclimated to a new offense, new quarterback and showing a lack of consistency. One play Chris will make a catch that makes you question if he is human; the next play he'll drop a ball that Keith Traylor (Dolphins' 340 pound defensive tackle) probably would've caught. Chris saw his biggest regression as a pro. He went from a pro bowl pass catcher poised for a breakthrough campaign to a receiver looked at as a non-threat. He went down in production significantly, catching 23 fewer passes for 441 fewer yards and 7 less touchdowns. There is also reason to believe Chambers can regain form and make another significant jump back to his pro bowl form. In his 2005 coming out party, he racked up 13 more catches for 220 more yards for 4 more touchdowns. While the increase isn't as significant, he still retains the potential to return to form.

Change can come in many forms. For some, change is a good thing. For Chris Chambers, it has been his biggest downfall. In his 6 year career, Chambers has caught passes from 9 different quarterbacks and has played in 5 different offenses. He will have to adapt to yet another gun slinger and new play caller and offense in 2007 as Trent Green comes in to do the quarterbacking while Cam Cameron takes over as head coach/offensive coordinator. The bad news is Chambers will likely have to see another quarterback in the immediate future, as John Beck is in the team's plan in the next year or two. Miami hopes the accuracy and great decision making of Trent Green can elevate Chambers and the play of the entire Miami offense in the 2007 season.

So why do I believe Chambers can become a pro bow receiver once again? Maybe it's his 45 inch vertical jump. Perhaps it's his 4.4 40 yard dash speed. Or maybe it's his incredible body control and ability to make some of the best circus catches the NFL has to offer. As long as he works on his route running and concentrates on making the simple plays, I see no reason Chris can't make our offense light years better then the pitiful 2006 showing. He won't be the focal point of the offense, but maybe that's just what he needs. A lot was expected of Chambers last year and perhaps he melted a bit in the limelight, but 2006 is gone and the 2007 season is the fresh start that Chambers desperately needs. Cam Cameron has been an offensive guru his entire NFL tenure and Chambers could really flourish in his system.

[editor's note, by Matty I] Now, Travis wrote this article prior to Chambers' arrest going public. Here's what he has to say about the arrest:

I write my articles late at night (or early in the morning depending on how you look at it). It's when I think most clearly and can gather ideas. Never has there been as big of a coincidence as there was while writing this week's piece. While I was plugging away about my keyboard, writing an article about my favorite player, he was being pulled over and taken into custody by Charlotte police. His charge was driving while impaired (as well as reckless driving and speeding) and he was taken into custody at 2:31 Saturday morning. He was released on $1,750 bond Saturday afternoon.

So those are the facts, but how do I feel about the happenings? First of all, I'm disappointed that Chris put himself in that situation to create that result. The good news is that Chambers passed his breathalyzer at the police station when he arrived. I by no means am a legal buff, but it seems he could be entirely innocent. I don't see him receiving a suspension seeing as he is a first time offender. At worse, Chris will have to take some substance abuse classes and get a slap on the wrist. Hopefully the charges are completely dropped and the chance of that is quite strong seeing as how he passed the breathalyzer. Let's just hope Chris is able to get on the field this year and be as productive as he was down the stretch of 2005. We need that 627 yards 6 touchdown performance over the final 6 games that Chris gave us in 2005.

[editor's note, by Matty I] Here's the article from the Miami Herald about the arrest. The article states that Chambers blew a .06 on his breathalyzer test, which is below the .08 legal limit. He was speeding a bit much, though. He was going 74 mph in a 45 mph zone. So it's possible that he was hit with the reckless driving charge simply because he was traveling nearly 30 mph over the speed limit. If so, maybe there's a chance the "driving while impaired" charge gets dropped because of his BAC being below the legal limit and, should the reckless driving charge stem from the drastic speeding, he could possibly face a minimal punishment. The date in court is set for August 15, so we'll have to wait until then to see.