Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ken Norton Jr. to draw from his experience with 1990s Dallas dynasty

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Just like Jack Del Rio did, new Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. says he learned much of his philosophy on playing in the NFL from former Dallas coach Jimmy Johnson. Norton will need to rely on that and a whole lot more in Oakland.

Hired on Friday just five days after helping coach Seattle in the Super Bowl, Norton inherits a defense that has been mostly mediocre for the past decade.

There were some signs of progress in 2014, most notably in the linebacking corps with Khalil Mack and Sio Moore. The Raiders also have some promising young talent up front to go with veterans like Justin Tuck and Antonio Smith, and ageless safety Charles Woodson is the bright spot in the secondary.

Beyond that, though, Norton has some serious work to do to improve a defense that ranked 21st overall and led the NFL in points allowed.

Johnson faced a similar challenge in Dallas when he took over a defense that ranked 20th overall in 1988. During Johnson’s five seasons in Texas, the Cowboys had a top-10 defense three times and owned the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense in 1992.
Norton plans to use much of what he learned from Johnson now that he’s in Oakland.

“There is no question, you have to get everything you can out of each and every individual,” Norton said. “(Johnson) treated everybody differently, and he really knew how to celebrate everyone’s uniqueness. He made it clear that he loved you when you were making plays. If you weren’t making plays, he was going to get rid of you.”

That will be a change from what the Raiders have done in the past. They historically have overpaid players, inexplicably kept underachieving players in the lineup, and tried to make do with outdated schemes and philosophies.

Oakland’s defense made minimal progress under Jason Tarver. With Norton — who also credits Seattle coach Pete Carroll for his development as a coach — the unit is expected to make an even bigger jump.

Specifically, the Raiders need to improve their pass rush and the play in the secondary. Those two areas are tied together, meaning upgrading one will have a trickle-down effect on the other.

There is concern in the secondary, where Woodson is the lone starter from 2014 guaranteed of coming back. Safety Tyvon Branch could be a salary-cap casualty, and cornerbacks Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers are free agents.

Tackling has been another issue in Oakland. Norton, one of the fiercest tacklers in the NFL when he played, should be able to improve that over time.

More than anything, Norton hopes to bring some swagger and physical aggression to the defense.

“No question,” Norton said. “We’ve had a lot of success. You watch our defenses (in Seattle) over the last few years, how physical, how smart, how dominant they’ve been up front, out-hitting, out-hustling and doing all these aggressive things. Jack has a fantastic background with his defense as well.”

Inside Slant: Roger Goodell’s ‘conflict of interest’ problem and other points

PHOENIX — Moments after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell completed his annual Super Bowl press conference, ESPN analyst Bill Polian cut to a crucial flaw in the presentation.

“Everyone wanted to hear about domestic violence,” Polian said. “Everyone wanted to hear about Deflategate. Everyone wanted to hear about the major issues that have affected the league outside of the normal realm of the game. And he led off with the extra point!”

Indeed, Goodell mentioned the ongoing discussion about the length and difficulty of extra points before referencing any specifics about an ongoing investigation into the integrity of the AFC Championship Game. We have plenty of coverage on what Goodell did say about the New England Patriots’ deflation issue, so let’s consider his ill-placed but still notable remarks on other issues — starting with the basic definition of a “conflict of interest.”

1. Perception vs. reality

Goodell bristled at two questions in particular.

One referenced the league’s hiring of outside attorneys it pays to provide independent investigations. (Former FBI director Robert Mueller, who investigated the league’s response to the Ray Rice domestic violence matter, worked at the same law firm as Baltimore Ravens president Dick Cass.) The other question referred to his attendance at a party hosted by Patriots owner Robert Kraft the night before the AFC Championship Game shenanigans.

Goodell’s response was, in essence, that no conflict of interest existed because the people involved are all people who have “uncompromising integrity.” That might be true, but that isn’t the full point of a conflict of interest. It’s not simply whether impropriety occurred as a result of an interconnected relationship. It’s whether the relationship creates the perception that an impropriety could occur.

Did Mueller take it easy on the NFL given his firm’s relationship with Cass? Will investigator Ted Wells exonerate the Patriots because Goodell partied with Kraft a couple weeks ago? Unlikely. Is it possible to conceive? Of course.

No matter what might or might not have happened, Goodell would be well served to step away from anything that could provide even the appearance of a conflict. His defiance remains a hurdle in publicly moving past the issues of this season.

2. That troublesome extra point

Goodell: “Fans want every play to have suspense. But the extra point has become virtually automatic. We have experimented with alternatives to make it a more competitive play and we expect to advance these ideas through the competition committee this offseason.”

Seifert: NFL place-kickers converted 99.3 percent of their extra-point attempts in 2014 (1,222 of 1,230), a year after hitting 99.6 percent. The league experimented by moving the kick back to 33 yards during the preseason and then narrowed the goal posts for the Pro Bowl. It seems likely the league will push some form of a change through its competition committee in the coming months.

3. Expanded playoffs

Goodell: “The possibility of expanding the playoffs has also been a topic of discussion for a number of years. There are positives to it, but there are concerns as well, among them being the risk of diluting the regular season and conflicting with college football in January.”

Seifert: This change has seemed certain for the better part of a year, and Goodell said recently he expected a vote during the league’s owners meeting in March. The “concerns” Goodell mentioned Friday represented at least a tapping of the breaks. A cynic would say Goodell was acknowledging objections simply to placate outnumbered opponents.

4. Officiating changes

Goodell: “We are looking at other ways to advance replay and officiating. That includes potentially expanding replay to penalties if it can be done without more disruption to the face of the game. We are discussing rotating members of the officiating crews during the season as a way to improve consistency throughout our regular season and benefit our crews in the postseason.”

Seifert: Vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said Thursday that multiple teams have already submitted proposals to expand replay in various ways. It seems unlikely the league will allow all plays to be reviewed, as the Patriots proposed last year, but a slower expansion is a realistic possibility.

Rotating officials, meanwhile, might help dissipate the penalty disparities among crews that we have documented for the past two seasons. It would also devalue the chemistry and familiarity that season-long crews develop.

5. Goodell: “We are aggressively pursuing the streaming of a regular-season game with our first over-the-top telecast. It would be carried on broadcast stations in both team markets, but also reach a worldwide audience, including millions of homes that don’t have traditional television service.”

Seifert: At the moment, this is a win-win for everyone. All games would remain available over-the-air while the NFL and its chosen partner experiment with streaming. Some day, of course, the NFL could offer some games exclusively via streaming, most likely at a cost to consumers.

Browns Senior Bowl spotlight: Auburn WR Sammie Coates

MOBILE, Ala. — The Cleveland Browns need wide receiver help. Auburn’s Sammie Coates, one of the best size-speed combos at this week’s Senior Bowl, could help Cleveland’s ailing outside receiver position.

Andrew Hawkins can play outside but is best utilized in the slot, as is Taylor Gabriel. The two top outside targets last season, free agent Miles Austin and oft-suspended Josh Gordon, are not locks to return. The Browns might have no choice but to keep Gordon if his trade value isn’t high enough.

This year’s receiving class might not match last year’s, but Coates should play a prominent role in the 2015 group. He stood out in what was mostly an undersized Senior Bowl corps. When talking to scouts generally about players this week, Coates’ name comes up often.

The 6-foot-2, 213-pound Coates told the Baltimore Sun he patterns his game after Julio Jones. That’s a lofty comparison. But Coates’ point is this: His speed and size can help him win matchups on deep or shorter routes. Coates was an effective deep-ball receiver at Auburn with 21.6 yards per catch, but in Mobile, he showed in red-zone packages that he can get inside a cornerback and muscle him out.

He also caught TCU’s Kevin White on a double move, bolting down the sideline to catch a long touchdown pass in stride.

When talking to scouts about Senior Bowl players this week, they often mention Coates.

“My goal is to be a complete wide receiver,” Coates said this week. “I don’t want to be looked at as only a deep guy.”

Auburn’s offense, though explosive, didn’t exactly help him in that area. Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall averaged 18.8 passing attempts per game in Coates’ two years as a starter. Over the next few months, NFL teams will study Coates’ route-running precision to ensure he can handle a full NFL slate.

The Browns’ new regime didn’t draft a receiver with any of its six selections last year despite an obvious need. That seems a philosophical move — GM Ray Farmer won’t be wowed by measurables and numbers.

“It’s not about a guy’s size. It’s about a guy’s skill set,” Farmer said Thursday.

But getting at least one impact pass-catcher should be paramount this year. Alabama’s Amari Cooper is widely considered the top receiver in the draft. Louisville’s DeVante Parker and West Virginia’s Kevin White will help drive the conversation. Coates will be in the mix, and don’t forget about beastly Arizona State wideout Jaelen Strong.

The Browns will need an outside pass rusher, a nose tackle, and possibly a tight end, but any of those five receivers will be intriguing options.

Reggie McKenzie plays huge role in Jack Del Rio’s chance for success

Jack Del Rio beamed Friday as he was introduced as the the 21st head coach of the Oakland Raiders.

The East Bay Area native spoke of the “treat and honor” it is to be leading the team he followed as a child. The “Raider for life” waxed poetic about witnessing the George Blanda renegade Raiders of 40 years ago.

Yet, most importantly, Del Rio didn’t lose sight of what’s at hand: the future of a franchise that has fallen on hard times.

Del Rio, who has nine seasons of NFL head-coaching experience, isn’t coming into this job clinging to a Raiders’ past that is not relevant to getting better. He knows the gory truth — Oakland hasn’t a winning record since 2002. He knows the Raiders have won a total of 11 games in the past three seasons. As the defensive coordinator, Del Rio was part of a Denver team that won 12 games in 2014 alone.

He knows what has been happening with the Raiders since their appearance in Super Bowl XXXVII, a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after that 2002 season, is not good enough.

“There is no other way to trend from where we’re sitting now,” Del Rio said. “We have to go up.”

Asked about the team’s roster, Del Rio, without hesitation, said it needs to get better.

Del Rio’s lack of delusion and his honest assessment is what this team needs. It needs to know that it has to get better. That honesty had been lacking recently. There was too much false optimism being sold without the benefit of tangible results in the form of victories.

As Del Rio dropped his honest assessment, Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie sat and listened. Now, it is up to McKenzie to make this team better for his new coach.

The Raiders will likely be more well prepared by by Del Rio and his staff than they were in the first three seasons of McKenzie’s tenure.

There was a lot of speculation that McKenzie could get fired — along with Dennis Allen, the man he hired to be the Raiders coach when he took over three years ago. But McKenzie has survived despite the team’s failings. Just because McKenzie survived this year, it doesn’t mean he will survive another sub-par season. He needs to produce and produce now.

McKenzie said he plans to build the team through the draft rather than put everything in free agency. However, the Raiders might have upward of $70 million in salary-cap room. This is a class of free agents. The Raiders need to make a bigger and better impact in free agency than last year, when they don’t get much overall value despite having more than $60 million to spend.

McKenzie can’t survive cpnsecutive years of having immense cap flexibility with no improvement in the win column. And Del Rio deserves to start his Oakland tenure with an improved roster.

We all know Oakland has building blocks in quarterback Derek Carr and linebacker Khalil Mack. But they need help.

It’s up to McKenzie to find players who meet the Raiders needs. Right off the bat, they need help at receiver, on the defensive line and in the secondary.

There was speculation that Oakland owner Mark Davis wanted Del Rio and McKenzie wanted to keep interim coach Tony Sparano. There might have been some truth to that, but the bottom line it was Davis’ call. On Friday, everyone was happy. Davis said Del Rio was the choice of both himself and McKenzie.

“It’s an united front,” McKenzie said.

Del Rio is going to give the Raiders a chance to get better, it’s up to McKenzie to help him succeed or Del Rio could have a new boss in Oakland sooner rather than later.

Sources: Dan Quinn, Mike Maccagnan front-runners for Jets

How does a Dan Quinn-Mike Maccagnan tandem grab you?

The Seattle Seahawks’ defensive coordinator and the Houston Texans’ director of college scouting have emerged as the front-runners in the New York Jets’ concurrent searches for a new head coach and general manager, according to sources.

In reality, Quinn has been the favorite for a few days, but his candidacy has gained traction now that team officials have all but completed the first round of interviews. By rule, the Jets aren’t allowed to make Quinn a formal offer until the Seahawks’ season is over — that could take another three weeks — but they appear to be getting close to naming a GM.

On Friday, they met for a second time with Maccagnan. He returned to Florham Park, New Jersey, only four days after his first interview and spent the latter part of the day with owner Woody Johnson and team officials. The group was scheduled to continue talks over dinner. If everything goes well, a deal could get wrapped up over the weekend, sources said. The discussions were described by one source as “very positive.”

The Jets have met with seven GM candidates. That Maccagnan has emerged from the group is hardly a surprise. He’s a Charley Casserly protégé, dating to their days with the Washington Redskins in the early 1990s. Casserly and Ron Wolf were hired by Johnson as consultants for the dual searches. Maccagnan is a longtime talent evaluator, although this is his first shot at a GM job.

On the coaching front, the Jets have interviewed six of their seven candidates. They’re still waiting on Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, but that interview — if it happens — may not matter at this point. Quinn has impressed owner Woody Johnson & Co., and the Jets apparently are willing to wait for Quinn.

It could be a long wait, perhaps to Feb. 2.

If the Seahawks reach the Super Bowl, the Jets wouldn’t be able to strike an agreement with Quinn until the game is over, according to league rules. They’d be allowed to meet with him for a second interview during the bye week, with Seattle’s permission, but the rules prohibit them from extending an offer at that time. Obviously, the Jets wouldn’t wait that long unless they had an unofficial nod from Quinn’s camp.

Quinn is perhaps the hottest head-coaching candidate on the market. He has interviewed with five teams, meaning there could be competition for the Jets. He likely will receive multiple offers, according to a source, so it’s premature to say he’s a lock for the Jets. However, he has strong ties to New Jersey. He grew up in Morristown, a few miles from the Jets’ facility, and has family in the area. He was a Jets assistant in 2007 and 2008.

From the outset, the Jets considered Quinn a strong candidate. So was former Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone, who has an ally in Casserly. But Marrone’s candidacy has faded as Johnson has become smitten with Quinn. He was interviewed Jan. 2 in Seattle during the Seahawks’ bye week.

Quinn will be involved Saturday in the divisional playoffs, as will Kubiak.

The Jets also have met with Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable, Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich and Jets running backs coach Anthony Lynn.

In the end, it could be a Quinn-Maccagnan ticket as the Jets attempt to rebuild after a disastrous 4-12 season.

Reggie Wayne on the playoffs: ‘This is what we live for’

INDIANAPOLIS – It’s anybody’s guess whether this will be the last playoff appearance of Reggie Wayne’s 14-year NFL career.

But know this, if it is, Wayne is going to relish every moment of it.

It started on New Year’s Eve when Wayne thought about whether he should be out partying or getting his rest for practice the next day.

In typical Reggie Wayne fashion, football was his top choice. He’ll play in his 19th career playoff game on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“I’d rather practice football,” he said. “This is a time where not everybody can enjoy that luxury of having, and that’s why after the games you want to exhaust yourself in that moment. You want to go out there and you want to give it everything you have to make sure that you’ve done everything you possibly can.”

If Wayne does decide to retire, it won’t come without a fight from one of his close teammates. Fellow receiver T.Y. Hilton said he’ll do everything he can make sure Wayne continues playing.

“I’m not going to let him leave me right now,” Hilton said. “I’ll have a talk with him whenever that time comes. I told him talk to your family, talk to your kids, but when you’re finished with that, make sure you come talk to me. Our relationship has really grown, so I’ll probably have a say-so with that.”

Wayne’s groin is fine after he left last weekend’s game against Tennessee early. He practiced all week with the exception of Friday, when coach Chuck Pagano gave the veteran the day off to rest and let any achy parts of his body get better.

“It’s playoff time, everybody’s playing hurt. I’ve been hurt all year,” Wayne said. “So I’m going to fight through my tricep and then I’m going to let a groin keep me out? Nah, it don’t work like that. This is the time where big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games. This is what we live for. This is our second goal, and that second goal is to make the playoffs and you better believe I’m going to be there.”

Wayne’s focus is making sure the Colts are ready for Sunday. The last thing he wants is to have a long drive home on Interstate 465 because the Colts didn’t play to their potential.

They went 3-1 in their final four games and held a players-only meeting after losing by 35 points to Dallas in Week 16. The Colts say they’ve responded well since that meeting.

“Guys understand how serious this is,” Wayne said. “I think guys understand you kind of go into it as one-game seasons each week. We do understand that if you lose, you go home, you pack your locker up. I think guys all week have really been in tune to what we want to do. I think practices have been great, everybody’s enthused. There’s nobody around here that’s tight, that kind of in a panic mode … We know what’s at stake.”

Chiefs QB Chase Daniel Talks Christmas Day Phone Call from Andy Reid

The Kansas City Chiefs were given the day off on Thursday for Christmas.

As quarterback Alex Smith learned of a three-centimeter laceration on his spleen that will force him to miss Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers, Chase Daniel, who was surrounded by family, took a phone call from Chiefs coach Andy Reid informing him that he’d be the starting quarterback against the Chargers.

“We were at Christmas dinner when I got the call from coach Reid,” Daniel explained. “My family is in there and I’m in the other room just talking, calling Alex, calling (quarterbacks coach) Matt Nagy, calling coach Reid, going over the situation there, just trying to keep me abreast on what’s going on.”

Daniel, a six-year NFL veteran who was made just one start in his career, which was ironically in a playoff-deciding game for the Chargers in Week 17 last season, then informed his family of what he had learned.

“You could hear a pin drop in the other room when I came in and I was like ‘Hey, well, I guess I’m going.’”

Daniel’s first reaction had nothing to do with football, but more of concern for a friend.

“First and foremost, obviously, only thing on my mind was, ‘Is Alex OK?’ How’s he doing?’” he said. “Because when you get a call like that, you’re like what’s happening? Why is coach Reid calling me on Christmas Day? And the first, second and third thought is I hope everything is OK with whoever it is that they’re calling me about.

“Then it’s, ‘Let’s go man. Let’s get ready. You’ve been preparing for this.’”

Smith and Daniel spoke on Thursday night, and while Daniel was initially concerned with the person Alex Smith, the conversation, led by Smith, quickly moved to football and the game plan for Sunday’s game against the Chargers.

“After I talked to [Alex] for a little bit about how his health was going, how his family was handling it,” Daniel explained. “[Alex] brought up right away, ‘Hey what are you thinking on this play? Let’s get you ready as much as possible.’”

Daniel continued.

“[Alex] is just there. He’s such a supportive guy. Obviously he wants to be there playing but he understands that health comes first. Already in meetings today on the field, I come off, ‘What do you see here? What do you see there?’ It’s a great working relationship.’”

During Friday’s press conference, Smith spoke of the preparation that Daniel has to cram in over the next 48 hours.

“I really felt like I ate up two practice days of his,” Smith said. “They would have been important had we known this earlier. Any way I can help us now. Whatever it is—helping him prepare, passing on anything that I had been thinking this whole week and getting ready for whatever.

“Just doing anything I can to help us get ready to go win a game.”

Having spent the last two seasons together in Kansas City, Daniel spoke of how well he and Smith have gotten to know one another during that time.

“The last few years, I can honestly say I’ve almost spent more time with him than I have my wife,” Daniel said. “So that just gives you a little bit of insight into how our relationship works. We’re both wired very similarly so it helps.

“It helps that we’re good friends off the field as well.”

Daniel continued.

“I really rely on Alex for what he sees and the veteran presence he has. He has been through about everything that you could possibly be through in his 10-year football career. He has some really good insight and I try to take his veteran leadership as much as possible.”

Daniel, who has worked behind the scenes in helping Smith over the past two seasons, which were the best back-to-back seasons of Smith’s career, will now find himself on the other side of that relationship.

“I think my role with him was just always in his ear,” Daniel said. “He’s now asking me these questions. He understands that I might not have played as many games as him but I’ve been a part of the league for six years now and I think that situation will just flip. He’ll be in there, ‘Hey did you see that? Did you see this?’ and I’ll love it, all the way.

“I’ll welcome it as much as possible.”
Last year against the Chargers in his first career start, Daniel finished 21 of 30 for 200 yards and one touchdown.

Ryan Lindley struggles to find end zone, rhythm in embarrassing loss

It was one of those games teams don’t like to talk about. One of those games that’s rewatched once and forgotten about. Nothing went right. Everything went wrong. But neither one person nor one unit could be blamed for the Arizona Cardinals’ loss. Not Ryan Lindley. Not the defense. Not the running game.

Arizona’s first loss at home this season, on national TV no less, was bad all over.

“I don’t think much of anything really worked,” Fitzgerald said. “We didn’t execute the way we’re capable of doing it, and that’s frustrating.

“We put a lot of time and effort into going out there and executing the plays, and not having it come to fruition is frustrating.”

But it may not matter how quickly Fitzgerald or any of his teammates forget about losing the game that would’ve clinched the NFC West and home-field advantage throughout the postseason — Super Bowl included.

They may have to go through it all again next week.

Arizona’s offense sputtered under Lindley, the third-year quarterback who hasn’t started since 2012. His accuracy was an issue all game. His passes were either too high, too low or too wide. He completed 18 of 44 passes for 216 yards and an interception. His NFL-record streak of pass attempts without a touchdown grew to 225.

“I just wasn’t on target for some of them,” Lindley said. “We see it. “They’re a good defense, but there are places to throw the ball. Tonight, there were some places that I missed. There were some places where they played good defense.”

The Cardinals’ offense didn’t score a touchdown for the second straight game, giving them two in their past five games.

Yet for as wild as Lindley was, he still managed to march the Cardinals into the red zone twice. Both times, however, mistakes doomed potential touchdowns.

After the first of Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka’s three missed field goals, Arizona put together its best drive of the game. Lindley was 3-for-4 for 34 yards with passes of 18 yards to running back Stepfan Taylor and 13 to tight end Rob Housler, which put Arizona at the Seahawks’ 6-yard-line. Two runs by Taylor had Arizona at the 4 on third-and-goal, but a false start by left guard Ted Larsen backed the Cardinals up 5 yards. An incompletion followed, and Arizona had to settle for a field goal.

“Really, it was a miscommunication because the clock was winding down,” Larsen said. “I don’t think it was huge. You can’t have mistakes like that. It’s unacceptable.”

Arizona’s only other points — all 18 in the past two games have come off field goals — came on a 32-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro in the third quarter. That drive stalled at the 14.

As he did on Arizona’s other scoring drive, Lindley completed three passes. A 12-yard completion to John Carlson put Arizona at the Seahawks 14, but a fumbled snap by Lindley on third-and-4 forced him into a bad pass, and the Cardinals settled for another field goal to cut Seattle’s lead to 14-6.

For the season, Arizona’s red-zone efficiency is 43.2 percent – fifth worst in the NFL.

“I think we had a shot,” Lindley said. “We had that one nice drive where we got down there. Like I said, we’ll look on film to know for sure, but we just couldn’t punch it in, and that’s going to fall on my shoulders … getting the ball in the right place and the other guys getting the ball in the end zone.”

The pieces may not be picked up until Drew Stanton is healthy enough to play, whether that’s Sunday at San Francisco or sometime in January during the playoffs. Until then, Arizona will continue to rely on Lindley.

“It shows you where we have to go, the kinds of teams that we’re going to have to beat for us to reach our ultimate goal, and that’s playing [in] and winning the Super Bowl,” Fitzgerald said. “We have to be able to beat teams that are this quality, and we have to perform to the best of our ability.”

12/12 Practice Recap: Andy Reid Confirms Full Use of Jamaal Charles for Sunday’s Game

Running back Jamaal Charles, along with tight end Anthony Fasano, cornerback Phillip Gaines and linebacker Tamba Hali, practiced Friday in the Chiefs’ last day of preparation for the Oakland Raiders.

Charles and Fasano, who are both dealing with knee issues, are officially listed as probable, Hali, who also has a knee issue, is questionable and Gaines is listed as doubtful as he deals with a concussion.

Reid confirmed that he would have full use of Charles on Sunday after practice on Friday.

Defensive end Allen Bailey was the only Chiefs player to miss practice all week as he, like Gaines, continues to deal with concussion symptoms.

Bailey is officially listed as out for the game against the Raiders, so expect Vance Walker to once again step into the lineup in his absence.

Last week, Walker played in a season-high 42 snaps against the Cardinals, the most since playing in 23 against the St. Louis Rams in Week 8.

Walker spoke about being a primary piece of the defensive line rotation last week, a role he will play once again this Sunday against the Raiders.

“It felt pretty good,” Walker said. “It’s something I hadn’t done for a while but it felt pretty good, pretty natural, so I’m happy to get out there and help the team.”

With this being the second time the Chiefs will see the Raiders, his former team, Walker also said that there are certain things the Chiefs can do better from the first time around.

“Just a lot of little things,” he said. “Tackling, gap assignments, a lot of times we were trying to do too much, [like] trying to make plays and just being smarter as a defense.”

As far as the secondary goes, with Gaines likely inactive, Reid said that it would be a mix of players he described as “the whole crew” that would replace him, including Marcus Cooper, Jamell Fleming and Chris Owens.

The Chiefs practiced Friday in their third day of preparation for the Raiders with nearly a full team, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will all be active come Sunday afternoon.

Chiefs Fall to the Cardinals 17-14

With starting tailback Andre Ellington out for the season, the Arizona Cardinals turned to a guy who had been called up two days earlier from the practice squad.

Kerwynn Williams delivered, rushing for 100 yards as the Cardinals rallied to beat Kansas City 17-14 on Sunday in a matchup of teams that had lost two in a row.

The NFC West-leading Cardinals (10-3) took the lead when Drew Stanton threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Brown in the third quarter.

Arizona held on after winning a crucial reversal. Kansas City was driving with five minutes remaining, when Cardinals coach Bruce Arians challenged that tight end Travis Kelce fumbled after a 19-yard reception to the Arizona 22. The officials ruled that Kelce lost the ball before he rolled on his back and got to his feet. Justin Bethel recovered at the Arizona 15, ending the last serious Kansas City threat.

The Chiefs (7-6) are tied with four other AFC wild-card hopefuls looking up at San Diego, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. The Cardinals have a one-game lead over Seattle, and the Seahawks travel to Arizona in two weeks.

Jamaal Charles scored two first-half touchdowns on a 63-yard run and 18-yard pass from Alex Smith, but the Chiefs were shut out in the second half.

An offensive pass interference penalty against Anthony Fasano negated a Kansas City touchdown. Two plays later, Alex Okafor intercepted quarterback Alex Smith.

The Cardinals drove to the Chiefs 26, and on third and 18 Stanton threw over the middle to hit Jaron Brown in stride for the winning score. The two-point conversion pass to John Carlson was good and, for the first time in the game, Arizona had the lead, 17-14.

Arizona rookie Chandler Catanzaro kicked three field goals but missed two, the first off the right upright, he second off the left with 1:09 to play.

That gave Kansas City a chance, but the Chiefs never got to midfield before turning it over on downs.

Arizona’s injury-riddled team got another when cornerback Antonio Cromartie left in the fourth quarter with an Achilles injury.

The Cardinals were without running back Andre Ellington, who is out for the season with a hip pointer, sports hernia and partially torn foot tendon, Arians said after the game.

That led Arizona to bring up Williams for the second time this season.

The seventh-round draft pick of Indianapolis last year, revved up what has been a sluggish Arizona running game. He carried the ball 19 times, averaging 5.3 yards per carry.

In the first half, Smith completed 12 of 13 passes for 109 yards and a score. In the second half, the Chiefs quarterback was 11 of 23 for it 182 yards and an interception.

Charles gained 91 in 10 carries, 67 of them in one attempt.

He burst through the line, breaking the tackle try by nose tackle Dan Williams, then ran through open space on a 67-yard touchdown that put the Chiefs up 7-0.

A short time later, Charles went down with an injured left ankle, but was able to get up and walk off the field. He went to the locker room, but came back in time to catch the touchdown pass.