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Chiefs headlines for Tuesday, November 22Melvin Gordon has been a very familiar face for Kansas City Chiefs fans given his perennial presence in the AFC West for the past eight seasons. Whether he was with the San Diego-turned-L.A. Chargers or the Denver Broncos, Gordon was a recognizable rival twice each year.
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Joshua Williams motioned toward his locker Wednesday, pointing at one of the tools that’s helped him most during his rookie season.
“If I showed you my notebook, every single day,” Williams said, “there’s something they tell me and something to work on.”
“They,” in this context, is defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and defensive backs coach Dave Merritt, who have mentored Williams as he transitions from Division II Fayetteville State to the NFL.
The advice changes each week based on the last. “Make sure you understand your leverage,” they might tell him. “Be sure to know where your help is,” could be another.
Aaron Rodgers offers honest assessment of his play after loss
Rodgers has been dealing with a thumb injury over the past month. There have been times when it appeared that was bothering him, but he said it is not an excuse for his performance against the Titans. “I felt like fundamentally I was in a good spot. I just didn’t have the same type of consistent grip and ball coming out the same way,” Rodgers said. “I threw a lot of kind of wobblers tonight. There was some wind. Just missed a few throws I should have had. Definitely the one to Sammy and the one to Allen (Lazard).”Part of the issue for Rodgers is that he has not been comfortable in the Packers offense all season.
“They’re always just giving you little tidbits,” Williams said, “something to work on and get better at every day.”
So far, the Chiefs’ coaches have been impressed by Williams’ ability to hold that knowledge as he enters his 11th NFL game.
Williams, who played just 17 snaps in the first five games combined, is now a mainstay on the back end, even following the return of first-round pick Trent McDuffie from injury. Williams was in for 41% of the defensive snaps against Tennessee two weeks ago, 50% versus Jacksonville, then 66% during Sunday’s 30-27 road victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.
“I definitely feel more comfortable out there. I feel more free,” Williams said. “There’s definitely an adjustment period, but I feel like things are slowing down.”
NFL Expert Picks, Predictions, Lines: Week 11
NFL expert picks, predictions, lines for Week 11 highlighted by Seattle at Tampa Bay, Dallas at Green Bay, Los Angeles Chargers at San Francisco NFL Expert Picks, Predictions: Week 11 * next to the pick means the team will wi n, but not cover.
Part of that has come from off-field work.
Williams says he gets together with coaches and teammates for additional film study. He also likes meeting with the safeties — including teammate Justin Reid — to get their input on what they see and expect from the corners.
“Things like that throughout the season just make you more comfortable,” Williams said, “and more capable to make a play when it presents itself.”
Coach Andy Reid has been most pleased with Williams’ resilience. He says one of the fourth-round pick’s greatest attributes has been the ability to make adjustments game to game, which has led to advancement as a player.
“Something happens, and he fixes that issue,” Reid said. “So he’s diligent about it, works on it in practice.”
One learning experience from Sunday came late in the fourth quarter.
On a third-and-18, Williams was beaten on a deep route by the Chargers’ Keenan Allen, who went over the top of him for a 46-yard reception.
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Updated by the minute, our Cowboys NFL Moves, Free Agency and Trade Tracker: News and views on the roster-building effort DEC 6 REINFORCEMENTS The Cowboys were forced into adding depth at defensive back following a season-ending injury to starting cornerback Anthony Brown. Brown suffered a torn Achilles in Sunday's 54-19 win over the Indianapolis Colts, meaning the Cowboys needed to add help. As reported by CowboysSI.com, the Cowboys will sign cornerback Mackensie Alexander to the practice squad after hosting workouts at The Star on Tuesday.
Spagnuolo said film review showed Williams was stride for stride with Allen for most of the play with “great coverage.” The main coaching point was at the end when Williams needed to go after the ball as Allen did.
“He got caught a little bit playing the man. At that point late in the down, at the top of the route where that thing developed, he should have just become a receiver. He’ll learn that,” Spagnuolo said. “I think he’ll learn to get better at that hopefully down the road here, in the same situation, he makes that play.”
Williams said, in the future, he would work to keep the receiver on his back before going to play the ball.
“Man, I was in good position. And he had a little bit of a vet move on me,” Williams said. “I’ve just gotta go get that, make that play somehow next time.”
Reid said Williams and the team’s other three rookies in the secondary (McDuffie, Jaylen Watson, safety Bryan Cook) have an advantageous setting for learning quickly.
That’s because of Merritt’s teaching and Spagnuolo’s extensive history of coaching secondary players. Reid noted there are times in practice when Spagnuolo takes one of the rookies to the side for private instruction while Merritt continues to run drills with the rest.
“They’re getting the attention they need, as long as they retain what they’re being taught,” Reid said. “They seem to be hard-working, and most of all, I think it’s a smart group. They get it, and that’s helped them.”
That includes Williams, who says the environment with the Chiefs has helped his individual growth.
One note at a time, he looks to keep improving each day.
“That’s one thing the coaches, they’re preaching: They’re very fine with you making mistakes,” Williams said. “They just want you to learn from them.”
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Here’s what the Vegas odds say about the Kansas City Chiefs-Bengals game in Cincinnati .
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has started 85 games in the NFL between the regular season and playoffs combined, and he is yet to lose to the same team three times. In fact, there are only six teams he’s lost to twice, and among those six — the Titans, Bills, Chargers, Colts, Patriots and Bengals — he has also beaten every one of those teams. The Bengals have the chance to be the first team to get him a third time. But they’ll have to overcome the odds.