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New-look Chiefs turning attention to NFL draft

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New-look Chiefs turning attention to NFL draft

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The wholesale overhaul of the Kansas City Chiefs is nearly complete.

Andy Reid has been hired to replace Romeo Crennel as coach, and longtime Packers personnel man John Dorsey has replaced Scott Pioli as general manager. Most of the assistant coaches are on board, and now the Chiefs can start turning their attention toward the rebuilding job.

That includes preparation for the NFL draft.

The Chiefs finished 2-14 last season, matching the worst record in their 53-year history. But the byproduct of all that on-field suffering is that they have the No. 1 pick for the first time, giving Kansas City a good place to start turning around the team.

``We're in a unique position,'' said Dorsey, who will work closely with Reid but have final say over personnel decisions. ``We all know there is some pressure involved in that.''

It is pressure unlike anything he's ever experienced.

Dorsey began his career as a scout for the Packers, and eventually rose to direct of college scouting and director of football operations. But his primary responsibility was assembling the draft board, and the final decision ultimately came down to the Packers' GM - Tom Braatz early in his career, Ron Wolf and Mike Sherman after that, and most recently Ted Thompson.

Now, when the final seconds are ticking away on April 25, all eyes in the Kansas City draft room will turn toward Dorsey for a decision that could shape the future of the franchise.

``Ultimately, we're just trying to win Super Bowls. That's what we're trying to do,'' said Dorsey, adding that he plans to use a similar blueprint to Green Bay.

``History and time has proven - and that's all I know - but this system works,'' Dorsey said Monday. ``That's what I'm going to try to implement.''

Examining the Packers' drafts over the past two decades yields a few ideas about how Dorsey will proceed: He'll likely choose the best player of available, regardless of position needs, but also understands the importance of drafting for depth at quarterback.

Many outsiders panned the choice of quarterback Aaron Rodgers when Brett Favre was firmly ensconced in Green Bay, and Rodgers has turned into a Super Bowl champion. Matt Flynn was picked in the seventh round and became a valuable commodity as a backup, while other guys such as Matt Hasselbeck and Aaron Brooks developed into starters elsewhere in the NFL.

``What we've always tried to do is develop a third guy,'' Dorsey said, ``and develop him and see if he can be a 2 or a 1.''

By contrast, the Chiefs have spent only one pick - a fifth-rounder - on a quarterback in the past six drafts, and the result has been disastrous play at the game's marquee position.

Matt Cassel is still under contract, even though he was benched last season. Brady Quinn played just as poorly, while Ricky Stanzi never saw the field during the regular season.

``Any time when you begin to build a franchise, let's be real, the quarterback is a very important part,'' Dorsey said. ``As you note the last couple weeks in the playoffs, the quarterback position is a very important position to the long-term success of the organization.''

Important enough to spend the No. 1 overall pick on it?

Not necessarily.

Dorsey and Reid both insisted they plan to draft the best player available, and that may not be a quarterback. West Virginia's Geno Smith is widely considered the best prospect at his position, but some draft analysts believe he's only worthy of a late first-round selection.

``My draft philosophy, you'd love to get good players. That's the primary thing,'' Reid said. ``As the general manager comes in, that's what he's going to do. That's his responsibility.''

It's not as if the Chiefs don't have other needs.

Left tackle Branden Albert and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe can both become free agents, and there are gaping holes along the defensive line, at linebacker and in the secondary. And it just so happens that some of the best available players fit those needs: Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner and George linebacker Jarvis Jones.

One thing that Dorsey made clear is that he won't reach for a player.

``Philosophically, you stay true to your board,'' he said. ``You spend all those months staying true to your board, and all of a sudden you have to jump a player due to positional needs? I don't think you do that. Historically, we have proven you don't do that.''

Dorsey plans to keep the Chiefs scouting department intact through the draft, but he's also bringing with him an entire season's worth of his own scouting work from Green Bay.

That will be augmented by work done at college all-star games, various pro days organized by schools, the annual scouting combine and from hour upon hour of highlight tapes.

``It's going to be a focus of our fans, the media and our personnel department here for the next three or so months,'' Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said of the No. 1 pick. ``It's very important we get that pick right.''

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Report says Redskins were chasing after Joe Flacco before he landed in Denver

Report says Redskins were chasing after Joe Flacco before he landed in Denver

Baltimore traded quarterback Joe Flacco to Denver last week, and things might have moved quicker between the Ravens and the Broncos because another team had interest.

That team? The Washington Redskins. 

That's the story presented by a pair of Denver radio hosts last week. 

There are a few important things to note.

Redskins team president Bruce Allen handles trades for the team, and it's possible he reached out to Baltimore on Flacco. That could mean just one perfunctory phone call, or a real conversation. 

The reality, however, is the Redskins don't have close to the cap space needed to add Flacco.

In 2019, Flacco's contract will count more than $26 million toward the salary cap. The Redskins are only $17 million under the cap. Just on the most basic level, acquiring Flacco wouldn't have worked. 

Can teams move salary around or cut players to add room? Sure. But keep in mind, Washington already owes QB Alex Smith more than $20 million this season even though he's unexpected to play. Between Flacco, Smith and Colt McCoy's $4 million salary, that would have been about $50 million in quarterback salary on the Redskins roster this season.

That's preposterous. 

If you want to believe the Redskins were seriously looking into the trade, there are some loose ends. When the team acquired Alex Smith last season, the number one reason provided was that Smith wins games. Well, the same can be said about Flacco. 

A 34-year-old quarterback with a Super Bowl ring and a long track record of impressive playoff performances, Flacco has a career 96-67 regular season record and a 10-5 record in the playoffs. 

There's also this: Reports show Denver sent a fourth-round pick to Baltimore to get Flacco.

The Redskins don't have a fourth-round pick this year after acquiring Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in mid-season. Is it possible the 'Skins talked about a fifth-round pick for Flacco, especially because the team holds two selections in the fifth round? In turn, maybe Denver offered a fourth to beat the Redskins offer? Sure, it's possible.

But again, adding Flacco's contract to the Redskins salary cap situation would be insane. In the end, follow the money.

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The Capitals head to Anaheim looking to avenge their most shocking loss of the season

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The Capitals head to Anaheim looking to avenge their most shocking loss of the season

December was a pretty good month for the Capitals. Out of 13 games, Washington won nine of them. Of the four games the team lost, however, the worst of those losses by far was the Dec. 2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

Five different Caps players scored as Washington jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the second period. It looked like the Caps were going to cruise to the easy win…until Anaheim rattled off five straight goals to hand Washington a stunning 6-5 loss.

Wait, are we talking about the same Anaheim team that has lost 20 of its last 23 games? Well, technically yes, but for a brief period, they were one of the hottest teams in the league. The win over the Caps was one of 11 wins in a 13-game stretch for the Ducks.

That, of course, is of little comfort to the Caps.

Anaheim is now struggling considerably. Head coach Randy Carlyle was fired and general manager Bob Murray has taken over behind the bench.

Sometimes when an opponent is struggling, a team may take its foot off the gas and play down to the competition. Given what happened the last time these two teams met, however, Washington likely is not going to be looking past the Ducks when they meet on Sunday (9 p.m., NBC Sports Washington).

Game notes

One away

Alex Ovechkin sits one goal away from No. 40 on the season. Once he scores, it will be the 10th time in his career he has reached 40 goals in his career. That puts him in pretty incredible company.

Ten seasons of 40+ goals would tie Ovechkin with Marcel Dionne and Mario Lemieux. Wayne Gretzky is the only player with more 40-goal seasons as he did it 12 times. That’s it. That’s the entire list.

Back-to-back

With the Caps playing in Anaheim on Sunday and Los Angeles on Monday, expect to see both Braden Holtby and Pheonix Copley in these two games. Whoever starts on Sunday, the other netminder is likely to go on Monday. With no morning skate scheduled in Anaheim, it’s anybody’s guess who will start for Washington, but there is at least a chance Copley gets the nod so that Holtby can get what will presumably be the tougher matchup against the Kings.

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