Redskins

Chiefs coach Crennel pulls team together

201212021558575392900-p2.jpeg

Chiefs coach Crennel pulls team together

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) One day after the shocking murder-suicide involving linebacker Jovan Belcher, the Kansas Chiefs played their finest game of the season and beat Carolina 27-21.

No turnovers. Just one penalty. And almost to a man Sunday, they praised the leadership of their embattled coach, Romeo Crennel.

The previous day, Crennel had stood alongside general manager Scott Pioli in the Chiefs parking lot and saw Belcher put a gun to his head and pull the trigger.

``It was tough, hard on him,'' said defensive lineman Shaun Smith. ``I told him after the game I love him, because he's like my father. I could feel the pain and emotion that he was dealing with.''

Linebacker Andy Studebaker, his voice choking, said a team ``couldn't ask for a better way to lead.''

``He provided us with a ton of perspective about leaning on each other, bracing each other,'' Studebaker said. ``He provided great leadership, great perspective in the circumstances we dealt with yesterday. I don't think you could have asked him to handle it better.''

Brady Quinn was 19 for 23 for 201 yards and two touchdowns and gave the Chiefs their best quarterback play since they won the AFC West in 2010 behind Matt Cassel. Quinn also gave Crennel credit for keeping everybody together.

``Crennel kind of said it best before the game, kind of talked to us about how Jovan played the game,'' Quinn said. ``That's how he wanted us to go out and play the game. That's the kind of emotion he wanted us to have.''

Throughout the season, as losses and misplays mounted and the Chiefs dropped 10 of their first 11 games, fan and media criticism of Crennel became relentless, even personal, and sometimes cruel.

Never once has he let on that it bothered him. But this was different.

Crennel admitted the pain and shock of what he had witnessed would stay with him a long time.

``Respectfully you guys and ladies, I'm choosing not to answer any questions about what I saw yesterday,'' Crennel told reporters. ``And I think you will understand that and you'll respect my wishes on that, because it wasn't a pretty sight.''

He said he knew the players would be looking to him for strength.

``I felt like I would be able to handle it, and I knew I needed to be strong for the players in that locker room and they needed to see a strong, individual leader,'' he said.

While many around the town and around the league were wondering if Sunday's game would be postponed, Crennel was making the decision to carry forth.

``After talking with the captains, they also felt like it was best that we play,'' he said. ``If for no other reason it takes our mind off our misery for a few hours. That's what it did. It helped us do that.''

Crennel said he sensed a good energy in the locker room as the Chiefs were about to take the field. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak and gave the hometown fans a victory to cheer for the first time in almost a calendar year.

``It was a total team victory. I'm proud of the guys in that locker room, proud of the coaches, proud of the organization for having to deal with what we had to deal with, and be able to pull through it and show some character,'' said Crennel. ``As an organization, as a team, as players and coaches, I thought that was all very positive.''

Quick Links

Need to Know: Redskins' Jay Gruden and Alex Smith from the podium

gruden_otas_ap.png
Associated Press

Need to Know: Redskins' Jay Gruden and Alex Smith from the podium

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 24, 64 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

What Jay Gruden and Alex Smith had to say from the podium

After yesterday’s OTA practice, Alex Smith and Jay Gruden took the podium. Here are some of their quotes and my comments on them:

Smith was asked about getting together with his new teammates:

So I think every guy these last two days has enjoyed just getting back out there and losing yourself in the game, right? To be limited, it does make you miss it, and I think it makes you appreciate it, so that’s been nice. 

Comment: This is a guy who loves football and everything that goes with it. Smith would start playing games tomorrow if they were scheduled.

Gruden was asked how Smith has looked in these first two days of OTAs:

He’s got good command of the offense already. Great command in the huddle. He’s just getting a feel for the receivers, the players around him, how we call things, but overall, the first two days, I would say I’m very pleased with his quick progression and learning. I knew that wouldn’t be an issue with as much as he’s played in a similar-style system.

Comment: It did seem that Smith was in sync with his receivers, Jamison Crowder in particular. He and Paul Richardson connected on a deep pass after giving each other a look at the line of scrimmage. The encouraging thing is that he is coming from a similar offensive system, so the learning curve should not be too long. 

Smith had a great analogy when asked about similarities to the offenses he has run:

Both from West Coast worlds, so it’s kind of like they are all Latin-based languages, you know, but they are not the same. There are some similarities, structure of the playbook, of how we call things, things like that. There are a lot of similarities but it’s not the same language. I guess that’s the best analogy I can make

Comment: If terminology is the biggest obstacle for Smith to overcome it will be a smooth transition for him. 

Gruden was impressed with the running backs. 

“I’ll tell you what, just today in general, you could see the competition. You could see Rob Kelley step up. Samaje Perine’s had a couple big days. Byron Marshall, I mean, he had a couple great routes today. He’s running the ball between the tackles. [Kapri] Bibbs had some big runs yesterday. Obviously, Derrius Guice has come in here and fueled the fire a little bit.

Comment: I think that the Redskins are going to have to release some good running backs. Rob Kelly never really earned the nickname “Fat Rob” but he looked particularly lean and quick running the ball. He wants nothing to do with being on the roster bubble. Marshall moved quickly and showed his speed. Although Gruden wouldn’t say it, Guice clearly was the best of the bunch; his ability to change direction while maintaining his speed will serve him well. It must be noted that they are not in pads and not getting tackled so more definitive opinions will have to wait until we are in Richmond for a few days. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

Tandler on Twitter

Timeline  

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 19
—Training camp starts (7/26) 64
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 78

The Redskins last played a game 144 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 108 days. 

In case you missed it

 

Quick Links

NHL Stanley Cup Final 2018: Capitals vs. Golden Knights full schedule announced, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

NHL Stanley Cup Final 2018: Capitals vs. Golden Knights full schedule announced, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

The Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights are the only two hockey teams left standing and will meet to decide the 2017-18 NHL Stanley Cup champion.

The Capitals advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1998, thanks to a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

The Golden Knights, in their inaugural season, shocked the NHL world, defeating the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets to become the first team in major American professional sports history to reach the championship game in the franchise's first season.

The Capitals and Golden Knights met twice during the regular season, with Vegas coming out on top in both games. The Golden Knights blanked the Caps 3-0 in the Caps' first trip to Sin City, and bested the Caps 4-3 at Capital One Arena on Feb. 4.

Game 1 of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final between the Capitals and Golden Knights takes place on Monday, May 28 at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC and is available to be streamed online by using the NBC Sports App.

NBC Sports Washington will broadcast pre and postgame coverage of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final between the Capitals and Golden Knights,  with Caps FaceOff and Caps GameTime preceding Capitals vs. Golden Knights puck drop and Caps Extra and Caps OverTime following the end of each game. 

2018 STANLEY CUP FINAL HOW TO WATCH

Game 1: Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Monday, May 28
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Wednesday, May 30
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
TV Channel: NBCSN
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 3: Golden Knights at Capitals
Date: Saturday, June 2
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: Capital One Arena. Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBCSN
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 4: Golden Knights at Capitals
Date: Monday, June 4
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: Capital One Arena. Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 5 (If Necessary): Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Thursday, June 7
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 6 (If Necessary): Golden Knights at Capitals
Date: Sunday, June 10
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: Capital One Arena. Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)

Game 7 (If Necessary): Capitals at Golden Knights
Date: Wednesday, June 13
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev.
TV Channel: NBC 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan)
 

MORE CAPITALS STORIES