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Chiefs' inept offense struggles again at Oakland

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Chiefs' inept offense struggles again at Oakland

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) In the entire history of the Kansas City Chiefs, one steeped in tradition, they have never before ranked last in the NFL in scoring over the course of an entire season.

Guess that's one way to celebrate the franchise's 50th anniversary in Kansas City.

The Chiefs (2-12) were blanked by the Oakland Raiders, losers of six straight before Sunday, and thus failed to score an offensive touchdown for the fifth time in 14 games. The last time that happened to them was 1974, when they still managed to somehow win five games.

That's one more win than their best-case scenario this year.

``We continue to struggle to develop any consistency,'' Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said Monday. ``We're not very good on offense. This past game we couldn't run, we couldn't throw it, and it's hard to be in a game when that happens.''

The Chiefs were playing their first full game without wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who went on injured reserve Saturday night with injured ribs, and his absence was obvious.

Kansas City managed just 17 yards on 18 plays in the first half, and finished with 119 yards of total offense, all against an Oakland defense that had given up more points than any other team in the NFL. The last three teams the Raiders have held to fewer than 20 points have been the Chiefs, and their last shutout back in 2002 was also against Kansas City.

Asked whether the Chiefs' offense was the worst that Crennel has been part of in more than 40 years of coaching, he replied: ``Statistically, I think you might be able to say that.''

Kansas City, which hosts the Indianapolis Colts in its home finale on Sunday, has only managed 195 points through its first 14 games. That total is second only to last year's team for the fewest in franchise history at this point in the season.

The Chiefs' average of 13.9 points is nearly a third of league-leading New England's 36.1 points per game, and it's nearly two points worse than the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are their biggest competition for the league's worst record and the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.

Kansas City has managed to score 106 points over its past eight games; the Seattle Seahawks have scored 108 in their past two.

``You try to look for answers, but I've said this before, unless you're looking in the mirror, you're looking at the wrong place,'' said right tackle Eric Winston. ``It's kind of easy right now to point fingers, say that guy's the problem. But until you look at yourself, you're not going to find any answers.''

Crennel said that punter Dustin Colquitt was the Chiefs' most valuable player on Sunday, and it wasn't hyperbole. Colquitt routinely gave them good field position.

When the defense held, the Chiefs' punchless offense just couldn't do anything with the ball.

``We've got to do a better job early on first and second down. We got to do a better job at being consistent,'' said quarterback Brady Quinn, who took such a beating from the Oakland front that he may be limited in practice this week with his own injured ribs.

``There's just not enough consistency,'' Quinn said. ``There's not anyone making any plays or making anything happen.''

That rings true in the passing game, where Quinn - who replaced incumbent Matt Cassel midway through the season - hasn't been able to get the offense untracked. He was 18 of 36 for just 136 yards with an interception against Oakland, and has now thrown six interceptions against two touchdown passes while going 1-5 as the starter.

``I mean, the entire first half we were third-and-long,'' Quinn said after the game. ``I don't care what team you are, you're going to have a hard time converting third-and-15 and third-and-16s when you're stuck in that position.''

Crennel said the key to avoiding such difficult third-down situations is to get the running game going, yet another element of the offense that the Raiders derailed.

Jamaal Charles came into the game off three straight 100-yard performances, but he was bottled up to the tune of nine carries for 10 yards. Peyton Hillis had the only other carry for Kansas City - it went for no gain - leaving the team with a total of 10 yards rushing.

``In my mind, (the solution) is the running game,'' Crennel said, ``because that's been the bright spot offensively. We have to be able to run the ball and we couldn't do that.''

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Why Thomas Bryant's defensive showing against Joel Embiid could speak volumes for Wizards' future

Why Thomas Bryant's defensive showing against Joel Embiid could speak volumes for Wizards' future

The Wizards, as they are expected to be constructed next season, should be uniquely good on the offensive end. They could have Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans (if he re-signs), two of the game's most lethal shooters, spreading the floor. Rui Hachimura has the potential to be elite in the midrange and Thomas Bryant is one of the league's most efficient scorers around the rim.

Then, you have John Wall distributing the ball. There are three levels of offense and the Wizards could have all of them covered with a generational passer setting everyone up. That has the potential to be the type of offense with very little, if any, weaknesses. 

But the defensive end could be a completely different story. None of the aforementioned players are elite defenders and the Wizards posted the worst defensive rating in the NBA this season at 115.6.

That's what made a particular development in the Wizards' loss to the Sixers on Wednesday encouraging. Bryant more than held his own against Joel Embiid, one of the NBA's best offensive centers and arguably the league's most imposing physical force. 

Bryant held Embiid to 3-for-11 shooting while The Process went 8-for-11 against his teammates. Bryant had 19 total contested shots in the game and held his match-ups to 33.3 percent shooting overall. He blocked four shots, which tied a career-high.

"It was his best defensive game I've ever seen him play," head coach Scott Brooks said. "He was aware, he was anticipating, his hands were up and he jumped. If you just do those things, you give yourself a chance for a defensive stop at the rim. I thought tonight he was outstanding pretty much on both ends."

Bryant has some physical tools that lend themselves to the defensive end. He's one of the fastest centers up and down the floor in the NBA. And he has a 7-foot-6 wingspan. Of all players drafted since 2013, only five players have registered bigger wingspans at the combine: Mo Bamba, Bol Bol, Tacko Fall, Zhou Qi and Ike Anigbogu.

Bryant knows his potential on that end of the floor and how he hasn't really come close to reaching his full ceiling in the NBA. When told of Brooks' praise, he downplayed it as just one game.

"It's a step in the right direction. Keep improving every day, that's my main thing, especially on the defensive end," Bryant said.

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Consistency will be key. In the Wizards' previous game against the Pacers, Myles Turner went 5-for-5 while guarded by Bryant. In the team's season opener, DeAndre Ayton went 3-for-5 against him.

But if Bryant can establish some stability on that end, it could solve a lot of problems for the Wizards. Rim protector is again going to be a big priority for them this offseason, as it has essentially been annually. Finding solutions in that area is just very difficult to do. 

Teams that have good shot-blockers don't let them go and when they leave in free agency, they are expensive. If you draft rim protectors, they often take time to develop.

The Wizards, though, arguably need one now more than ever before. They are about to reinsert Wall into the lineup with a surgically repaired Achilles. As much as people have focused on his offense and how his speed could be affected, the defensive end should be the biggest concern.

The injury notoriously affects lateral movement and Wall will have to stay in front of NBA point guards, who are some of the quickest athletes in the world. Defensive structure around him could help compensate and a rim protector would provide a security blanket behind him.

Bryant has a long way to go to fill that void, and he knows it. But Wednesday was, like he said, a step in the right direction.

NBA.com advanced stats were used as part of this research

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Maryland's Mike Locksley forms minority football coaches coalition

Maryland's Mike Locksley forms minority football coaches coalition

There are only three Black coaches out of 32 in the NFL and only 14 out of 130 FBS football coaches are Black. Maryland head coach Mike Locksley is taking steps to change that pattern.

Locksley announced the formation of the Nationals Coalition of Minority Football Coaches Thursday, a non-profit organization focused on helping male or female football coaches of color gain exposure in the hiring process. 

"When I took the Maryland job last year and looked at the landscape of college football, I thought to myself, 'There's something missing. I'm on the back nine of my career and the pathway to becoming a head coach is still as difficult as when I got into the business in 1992,'" Locksley told NFL.com's Jim Trotter. "I wanted to create an organization that would be able to help prepare, promote and produce the next group of coaches coming up through the ranks at every level."

The coalition's goals are to find and groom football coaches of color as well as provide a list of board-approved candidates for job openings in both the NFL and the college ranks. 

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There are 11 board members, featuring Ravens owner Ozzie Newsome, Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, Washington Football Team executive Doug Williams and Dolphins general manager Chris Grier. 

"We want to use their experiences to help us formulate and produce the list of qualified candidates, so when people say there aren't enough minorities to fill the positions that have come open over the years, we're going to produce a list of qualified people that shows there are qualified people," Locksley said. 

While the coalition isn't expected to provide its first list for several months as the organization continues to settle in, Locksley hopes he and the board members can leverage their experience and relationships to ensure franchise's and universities aren't overlooking qualified candidates. 

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