There were even whispers last week that Bowe's roster spot was in jeopardy despite signing a two-year, $12.5 million contract with $9 million in guarantees.
"I told Dwayne we expect more out of him," offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said, via the Akron Beacon Journal. "It was disappointing that he got hurt so early, and it's not all his fault that he hasn't been on the field. ... But at the same time, we need Dwayne to come along here and be a big part of what we're doing."
Coach Mike Pettine downplayed Bowe's low placement on the depth chart, offering an enlightening explanation.
"I don't put a lot of stock in depth charts, [and] neither should you," Pettine said. "... It's usually a very cursory glance, I say it looks good. I know the league requires it.
"The NFL nowadays is very specialized, so there are some groupings where guys that are going to potentially start the game that might be listed third or fourth. It makes no sense for me to go into detail and list who I truly think our starting 11's going to be. It's an exercise we have to go through."
To do so, he will have to reverse a two-year decline phase in which he has more closely resembled a lumbering tight end than a No. 1 wide receiver.