Redskins

Chiefs have week to regroup after another loss

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Chiefs have week to regroup after another loss

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Chiefs have played nearly 500 minutes over eight games and overtime, and so far they have yet to hold the lead in regulation for a single second.

That's the startling reality for a team picked by some to win the AFC West this season.

There have been devastating injuries to key players, including concussions to both quarterbacks. Their top wide receiver held out during training camp, their star running back has had games where he's only received five carries, and a defensive-minded head coach can't seem to get a defense full of first-round draft picks to stop much of anything.

The result is a 1-7 record that has led to fans paying for banners to fly over the stadium pleading for the general manager to be fired, and an organized protest on tap for an upcoming home game in which fans are planning to come dressed in black.

``It's tough, because I don't think I've ever have been part of this exact scenario,'' said Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel, who got his first NFL job with the New York Giants in 1981.

Crennel compared this year's version of the Chiefs to the 1983 Giants, who went 3-13.

``That was no fun, because we were doing some of the things that cause you to lose,'' Crennel said on a conference call Friday. ``This team is doing some of those things.''

The most obvious one is turning over the ball.

Matt Cassel threw his 11th interception on Thursday night, which was returned 59 yards for a touchdown by former teammate Demorrio Williams, and the Chiefs also lost three more fumbles.

One of those was a strip-sack in the end zone that resulted in another San Diego touchdown.

All told, the Chiefs have turned it 29 times this season.

``What we have to do is eliminate the situations we put ourselves in where negative plays occur,'' Crennel said, ``and we have to do a better job of protecting ourselves when we're in bad situations to prevent those negative plays. On the fumble in the end zone, we didn't block a guy, and the guy runs free and he's able to hit us and make the play. If we block the guy, maybe we don't fumble the ball, we get the pass off and we're still in the game.''

Or at least, the offense still has the ball.

Even that's no certainty of success, though. Kansas City had touchdowns on just two of its previous 43 offensive series before a late score against the Chargers.

The Chiefs' only win came on a game-ending field goal by Ryan Succop in overtime.

Making matters worse, the Chiefs sustained another round of injuries to key players on offense Thursday night. Running back Jamaal Charles left with a neck injury, though Crennel believes he'll be OK, while rookie guard Jeff Allen sustained a blow to his head.

That pressed into service Russ Hochstein, who was signed just a few weeks ago.

Crennel is also unsure what his quarterback situation will be like when the Chiefs return to the field for another prime-time game a week from Monday night at Pittsburgh.

Cassel lost his job during the bye week, but got it back when Brady Quinn sustained a head injury against Oakland. Crennel had said Quinn would be the starter whenever he's cleared - he hasn't been yet - but seemed to backtrack a bit Friday.

``When he gets cleared, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it,'' Crennel said. ``Any time a player gets injured, you have to look at the injury and see what's going to happen with it.''

Defensive end Glenn Dorsey, who hadn't played in weeks, only made it a few series against San Diego before hurting his calf again. Nickel back Javier Arenas also left with a head injury.

Even the few bright spots for the Chiefs this season turned sour Thursday night.

Succop had made 14 consecutive field goals before banking a 39-yard try off the upright in the third quarter. It was the start of a cascade of problems that turned a relatively close game - the Chiefs still trailed 10-6 at the start of the fourth quarter - into another blowout.

``We're working to fight our way out of this situation we're in,'' Crennel said.

The challenge now is to figure out a way to do it.

Crennel has already swapped quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has run the gamut from throwing just about every down to running every down. The defense has tried every exotic blitz in Crennel's arsenal yet failed to come up with the sort of game-changing plays that San Diego used to score two defensive touchdowns and put the game away.

Perhaps the most apropos image from the game was a screen shot from the NFL Network that showed Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli, his right hand on his head, with about two minutes remaining and an expression on his face that looked as if he had a severe case of indigestion.

Everyone in the organization was probably feeling the same way.

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Here's a small example of Dwayne Haskins' leadership, as told by Matthew Berry

Here's a small example of Dwayne Haskins' leadership, as told by Matthew Berry

ESPN Fantasy Football expert Matthew Berry was at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere last weekend in Los Angeles, where he got the chance to interview the three Redskins rookies in attendance: Dwayne Haskins, Terry McLaurin, and Bryce Love. 

Berry, who was a guest of JP Finlay's on the Redskins Talk podcast on Thursday, has been a fan of the Burgundy and Gold since he was a kid, so he was eager to talk to three of the team's newest players and learn more about them.

It was during those interviews where Berry got a quick glimpse of a side of Haskins that now has Berry really excited.

"I thought what was really cool was... When I was interviewing McLaurin, Dwayne Haskins came in and interrupted the interview to give him some crap," he told Finlay. "It was really a wonderful moment to see. Obviously, they know each other very well from Ohio State, but just the fact that they felt comfortable enough and he wanted to come over and mess with him a little bit and have some fun, I was impressed with that."

Once Haskins left, Berry explained how he asked McLaurin about the interaction. Redskins fans will like McLaurin's answer.

"That's Dwayne, Dwayne is being a leader," McLaurin said, per Berry. 

Haskins did something similar to Love during Love's interview as well. Berry even caught up with Colts receiver Parris Campbell, who also played with the QB at Ohio State, to inquire about the 15th overall pick. 

"I asked him, 'Listen, I'm a diehard Redskins fan, what am I getting?'" Berry said. "He couldn't have been more effusive. 'You're not only getting a guy who puts the ball where you want it, but you're getting a leader. You're getting a guy who makes sure everyone in the huddle is included.'"

You can be skeptical of how much these little moments mean, and that's fair. Ultimately, how quickly Haskins picks up Jay Gruden's playbook and how accurate his arm turns out to be will factor more into his success in the NFL than being able to joke around a bit with some of his guys.

But you can also hope that these little moments are hints of a bigger personality and approach, a look into an athlete who can get a football team to buy into him. That's the side Berry is on.

"I thought that was really cool, and just showed somebody who's very comfortable in the leadership position and who's trying to be inclusive of everyone," he said. "It's early in the process, but I have yet to hear somebody on or off the record say something bad about Dwayne Haskins."

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WNBA Finals loss only more fuel for Elena Delle Donne, Mystics heading into 2019 season

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WNBA Finals loss only more fuel for Elena Delle Donne, Mystics heading into 2019 season

For Elena Delle Donne and the Mystics, last season's heartbreak in the WNBA Finals is only fuel for another potential postseason run in 2019. 

"That's something I don't think I'll ever let go," Washington's star forward told Chris Miller on the latest episode of the Wizards Talk podcast. "It's always tough when you get to that Finals and you can't finish it off. But I think it's something that can fuel you. You don't want to let it just bring you down and depress you and make it so you can't get over that hump."

"If you use it as fuel and motivation, it can help you get better. I think that's what we're all gonna do."

The Mystics reached their first WNBA Finals in franchise history in 2018 but ultimately lost to the Seattle Storm. Delle Donne, recently named in WNBA.com's GM survey as the favorite to win league MVP, is back for her third season in Washington and headlines a strong team that has the talent to compete for the title again.

Her status for Saturday's season opener against the Connecticut Sun is up in the air due to a left knee injury, but Delle Donne believes the Mystics will have another great season given the continuity on the roster from last season and the return of All-Star forward Emma Meesseman. 

"We feel great. We've got our core back," said Delle Donne. "And to be able to add a superstar like Emma to that roster is pretty scary. Especially with her style of play and the way that our team started playing last season, where it was such positionless basketball. Spreading the floor, just spreading it, making it easy for one another to attack, get some threes. She's just gonna add so much to that."

NBC Sports Washington will be broadcasting 10 Mystics home games during the 2019 WNBA season. For the full regular season schedule, click here.

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