Wizards

Discipline issues contributing to Chiefs losses

Discipline issues contributing to Chiefs losses

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Romeo Crennel isn't sure why the Chiefs decided to start playing Dance Dance Revolution on the turf of Heinz Field with a national television audience watching on Monday Night Football.

He is sure he didn't like it.

The Kansas City coach said Tuesday that he plans to speak to his team about discipline issues that cropped up during an overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, including one instance in which the Chiefs were flagged for a group celebration on a touchdown that didn't happen.

``It was a surprise to me,'' Crennel said of the sudden celebrations.

Perhaps the Chiefs were simply channeling their inner Fred Astaire, or auditioning for ``A Chorus Line,'' since there might be several of them searching for jobs come January.

The personal foul-inducing dance occurred early in the third quarter.

Steelers backup quarterback Byron Leftwich, pressed into service following a shoulder injury to Ben Roethlisberger, threw an incompletion that was initially ruled a fumble.

Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston picked up the bouncing ball and ran 21 yards for a touchdown that would have given his team a 16-10 lead. The second-year pro started gyrating in the end zone, and was quickly joined by veteran Derrick Johnson, safety Eric Berry and a handful of others.

Whistles were blown. Flags were thrown.

Then a video review determined it wasn't a fumble, giving Pittsburgh the ball back, along with the sobering news that the person foul penalty would still be enforced. The Steelers got a free first down out of the deal, one of three caused by Kansas City penalties.

``I'm going to emphasize to the guys those kinds of penalties are hurtful to the team,'' Crennel said, ``and we don't need them, and then we'll see if we need to sit people or not.''

It wasn't even the first instance of taunting by the Chiefs, though.

There was the time that wide receiver Dwayne Bowe stuck out the ball at chasing Pittsburgh defenders as he trotted into the end zone for another would-be touchdown. Another brief celebration ensued, only for a holding call on Branden Albert to nix the precious points.

``It's always frustrating when you think you have a touchdown pass, and all of a sudden you see a flag on the field,'' said Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, who started again in place of injured Brady Quinn. ``It is unfortunate and it's always tough to overcome that.''

Then there was the dancing following the sack that knocked Roethlisberger from the game.

It might have been the most humorous moment of the night.

Houston and fellow pass rusher Tamba Hali sandwiched the Steelers' quarterback on the first drive of the third quarter. The two linebackers left Roethlisberger lying in a heap, and offered up their best homage to the 1980s hip-hop duo Kid `n Play with a well-executed collaboration.

That dance wasn't received well, either.

``So 2 defenders can choreograph the Kid and Play dance after a sack, but we can't do jack together when we score a TD?'' Browns tight end Benjamin Watson asked on Twitter.

The discipline issues, which contributed to six penalties for 76 yards and left Kansas City 2 for 13 on third downs, overshadowed what might have been the Chiefs' best game of the year.

Sure, they managed to stage a franchise-record comeback to defeat the New Orleans Saints - still their only victory of the season - but that's increasingly looking like a fluke. Against the Steelers, the Chiefs put together a game plan that shut down the Pittsburgh offense, allowed Cassel to manage the game, and kept Kansas City within striking distance in the closing minutes.

Cassel's interception in overtime - the Chiefs' NFL-leading 30th turnover of the year - ultimately allowed Shaun Suisham to kick the winning field goal for Pittsburgh.

``We're disappointed about the final result, but I really think our team played a much more competitive game overall than we have been playing,'' Crennel said. ``We had some opportunities to win the game, but there are things we have to polish up and get correct so we can win the game.''

The Chiefs came out of the game with several notable injuries.

Wide receiver Jon Baldwin landed on his head while trying to make a catch, and Crennel said he will be evaluated further on Wednesday for what could be a concussion. Tight end Jake O'Connell sustained a high ankle sprain, defensive tackle Dontari Poe bruised his knee, and offensive guard Jon Asamoah has a hand injury.

Crennel said he isn't sure about their status for Sunday's game against Cincinnati.

Crennel also wouldn't commit to a starting quarterback for the Bengals game because Quinn still hasn't been cleared following the concussion he sustained three weeks ago against Oakland.

``Brady said that he is ready to go, and I'm sure he is excited about the possibility, but at this point, I can't make a determination until I can find out exactly what the prognosis is for him,'' Crennel said. ``I'll find out and then we'll go from there.''

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Nassir Little

nassir-little-unc-auburn-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Nassir Little

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Nassir Little

School: North Carolina
Position: Forward
Age: 19
Height: 6-6
Weight: 220
Wingspan: 7-1
Max vertical: 38.5 in.

2018/19 stats: 9.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.5 bpg, 47.8 FG% (3.6/7.6), 26.9 3PT% (0.4/1.4), 77.0 FT%

Player comparison: Jae Crowder, Justise Winslow

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 11th, NBADraft.net 11th, Bleacher Report 16th, Sports Illustrated 11th, Ringer 14th

5 things to know:

*Little came to UNC as their top-ranked recruit and the sixth-ranked player in his class, but didn't live up to those expectations in his one year in Chapel Hill. There is a debate about whether he will be better suited for the NBA, given his athleticism and playing style. The team who drafts him could come away with a steal if the latter proves true.

*He is more known for his defense at this point. Little is an aggressive and physical perimeter defender who could develop into a Marcus Smart-like pest. Though he didn't force a ton of turnovers in college, Little clearly gave opposing teams problems with his energy and length. 

*There are questions about whether Little will ever be more than a dunker on the offensive end. He is excellent in transition and cutting to the rim, but he didn't do much creating off the dribble in college and needs to work on his outside shooting. He shot just 26.9 percent from three at UNC.

*Little had a strong combine with a 7-foot-1 wingspan and a 38.5-inch vertical leap. Those numbers helped his reputation as one of the most athletic wings in this year's class.

*Both of Little's parents were in the U.S. military. He had a 4.2 GPA in high school and was named Academic All-ACC.

Fit with Wizards: Little fits with the Wizards given he is a small forward and they currently have an opening there. He would also give them something they need in terms of style as a physical wing defender. Little is the type of player who could help them improve their horrid three-point defense.

But Little's raw skillset suggests he may take some time to develop offensively and it brings into question how high his ceiling will ultimately prove to be. The Wizards may be able to find someone with the ninth pick who can both contribute sooner than Little and offer a clearer road to potential stardom.

That said, if Little's game is indeed more designed for the NBA than in college, he could impress in pre-draft workouts and end up rising up the board.

Best highlight video:
https://youtu.be/oGIQDUttG8I

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Reuben Foster believed to be lost for 2019 with major knee, leg injury, per source

Reuben Foster believed to be lost for 2019 with major knee, leg injury, per source

Redskins officials fear that linebacker Reuben Foster has torn the ACL in his left knee, sources tell NBC Sports Washington.

Additionally, there is concern about a more significant injury that could include the artery in his left leg, sources said. 

Foster went down on his first snap in a non-contact drill during OTAs on Monday after stepping on the leg of guard Tyler Catalina. Immediately, Foster fell to the ground, and it was obvious he was in intense pain. He was audibly screaming and crying while writhing in pain on the field. 

Moments later, the Redskins medical staff rushed out to Foster, and within a matter of minutes, his leg was placed into a stabilizing device. He was then helped onto a cart and wheeled off the practice field. 

After practice, Jay Gruden said the team was unsure of Foster's prognosis but did say, "I’m just very disappointed in what happened in his first rep as a Redskin. He runs through the gap and gets injured."

The Redskins took a major public relations hit by signing Foster last fall, and the team's belief was that his play on the field would be worth the controversy that enveloped his signing. Foster won't be playing in 2019, but remains under contract for 2020, and Washington will have the option to keep him in 2021. 

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