Monthly Archives: December 2014

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.

Chiefs Need to Get Back to the Fundamentals

For the second week in a row, the Kansas City Chiefs defense allowed an opposing offense to run for more than 175 yards against them.

Two weeks ago it was the Oakland Raiders who ran for 179 yards on 30 carries against them. On Sunday, the Denver Broncos gashed the Chiefs defense on the ground, running the ball 45 times for 214 yards.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid spoke of the defense’s performance Sunday night after the game.

“There are things we can work on to get better,” Reid said. “That’s what we’ve got to do. Schematically, we will go back through and make sure we are putting the guys in that position where they can make plays.

“I know we have to do a better job tackling. I do know that, I saw that. When you’re in a position to make tackles you’ve got to do that. We’ve been a good tackling team and the last couple weeks here we haven’t done very well.”

According to Pro Football Focus, the Chiefs missed 15 tackles against the Broncos on Sunday, which is something Reid says will mean going back to the fundamentals in order to fix.

“When things don’t go right, I’m more apt to going back to fundamentals,” Reid said. “I think that’s where you start and then you make sure schematically you have guys in the right position to do these things. There’s some things we can clean up in both areas that we need to take care of but I don’t think you make it more complicated than that.

“Then you add intensity into that and then you go play. You can never take that want-to out of it but we’ve got to clean up some fundamentals.”

One area the Chiefs defense was successful was in the red zone, where they held the Broncos to just 1 for 7 in touchdown efficiency, an area the Broncos offense came into the game ranked second in the NFL at 74 percent.

“If you’re going to measure effort, you look in those kind of situations,” Reid said of the red zone defense. “I felt like the guys were focused in and playing.

“We can fix these problems. You’ve seen this with some of the good teams in the National Football League where you run into a bump in the road and you work through it. You work through it collectively as coaches and players and you fix it and so that’s where we’re at right now.”

Reid continued.

“Nobody’s going to hand you anything in this game. That’s how it works and so you have to work through some things and like I said, as coaches, we have to make sure we’re putting the guys in the right position and then the players when in the right position, they’ve got to make things happen. That’s all part of it.

“We have some good character people on this team and so you count on that at this time.”