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Arrowheadlines: Jerick McKinnon underwent likely season-ending surgery

Chiefs headlines for Thursday, January 11

NFL: DEC 17 Chiefs at Patriots Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The latest

Chiefs RB Jerick McKinnon Undergoes Surgery for Core Muscle Injury | Chiefs Digest

The club placed McKinnon on injured reserve Dec. 24 with a groin injury. Head coach Andy Reid hasn’t made a definitive statement on McKinnon’s potential return, but the typical return from a similar procedure is at least six to eight weeks. Tight end Blake Bell, who underwent a similar surgery last year performed by Dr. Meyers, missed the first 14 games of the 2022 season.

McKinnon’s designation on injured reserve ensured he would miss the team’s final three regular-season games and the club’s Wild Card Weekend contest against the Miami Dolphins. The surgery however makes it unlikely the 31-year-old running back will return this season.

When asked Jan. 5 about the potential postseason return of both McKinnon and safety Bryan Cook, Reid said, “We’ll see on that. We’ll have to literally, we’ll have to see how that goes.”

Travis Kelce and Chris Jones Named to NFLPA All-Pro Team | The Mothership

Kelce and Jones have each made the team in both years of the NFLPA All-Pro team’s existence, joining 12 other players that have appeared on the squad in each of its two years. Kelce is back on the team after catching 93 passes for 984 yards and five touchdowns in 2023. Jones, meanwhile, racked up 10.5 sacks and 75 pressures, the latter of which ranked second among all interior linemen.

Both players played a critical role in securing an eighth-straight AFC West championship for Kansas City Chiefs in 2023, and now with the playoffs nearly underway, they’ll each aim to lead the Chiefs on another postseason run.

For a look at the entire NFLPA All-Pro team, click here.

‘Freezer Bowl’ Alum Collinsworth Offers Take on Cold Matchup | Sports Illustrated

While he won’t be calling the game, Collinsworth certainly is in a good position to offer some insight into what the players will be dealing with Saturday night.

Collinsworth had two catches in that game against the Chargers in a 27-7 Cincinnati game, the week after the Chargers outlasted the Dolphins, 41-38, in overtime at the Orange Bowl in a game that was judged as the greatest in NFL history. The Bengals lost the Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers that season.

“It’s gonna be tough,” Collinsworth said. “I mean, I grew up in Florida. And that (Freezer) Bowl game was my rookie year, so it was the first time I had ever played in any game below like 32 degrees. And I had no idea what I was doing out there. Luckily, we were playing the Chargers and they had no idea what they were doing out there. But some of our guys — (quarterback) Kenny Anderson and (tight end) Dan Ross and some of those guys had played many games in those kinds of conditions. So a lot of those players, they didn’t all grow up in Florida, though. They come from all over the country.”

Free hot cocoa, warming centers: Chiefs’ plan to help keep fans warm Saturday | KSHB

To help fans fight off the frigid conditions, the Chiefs are planning a variety of ways to stay warm, but coming to the game prepared also will be key.

The team said guests are allowed to bring in blankets, which should be draped over their shoulder during security screening. Blankets may not have zippers or compartments.

Fans may also can bring in cardboard that is no larger than 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide.

Portable chargers also are allowed as long long as they don’t include dry-cell batteries, like household AA batteries.

2024 NFL Playoffs: Each Team’s Biggest Flaw Heading into Super Wild Card Weekend | Bleacher Report

Kansas City Chiefs
Flaw: Another threat in space

Away from Travis Kelce and Rashee Rice, Kansas City lacks any sort of playmakers on the outside.

As long as Patrick Mahomes is spearheading the offense, the Chiefs will have a shot, but someone outside of their top two targets must step up if they are to enjoy another Super Bowl.

While the Dolphins have suffered a litany of injuries along the defensive line, their secondary remains intact headlined by Jalen Ramsey.

Although neither team’s game script could feature a heavy dose of the run game with sub-zero temperatures expected at Arrowhead Stadium, Mahomes will have to drop back at some point. I’m looking at you, Skyy Moore, Justin Watson and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

Around the NFL

Pete Carroll out as Seahawks head coach after 14 seasons, to remain with team as advisor | NFL.com

“Since our last game I had a couple of chances to talk and first I shared my feelings about the team, about the organization … and my intentions to staying with the ‘Hawks, and that was true to the bone,” Carroll said at the start of an emotional 35-minute news conference on Wednesday. “I want to make sure that that’s clear as things have shifted so quickly in most people’s perspective. It’s been an honor and a thrill to be part of this program. I loved every minute of it. … It’s exciting that there’s such a future here. You can see it. We know it’s happening. It’s bright and the club’s got great places to go. … The future is place. Following my season ending meetings with ownership and planning sessions it’s clear that – and for a variety of reasons – that we mutually agreed to set a new course for the club to take on new leadership. That’s just the decision that’s been made, and there’s a lot that went into that. … For all my guys I think you know how much I probably competed for our prospective and our standpoint.”

Though he’s set to stay on as a team advisor in an unspecified role, Carroll did not deny he would seek another head coaching opportunity elsewhere.

“Have to wait and see,” he said when asked about his head coaching future. “Today’s about today.”

Titans request interview for Raiders interim coach Antonio Pierce | Associated Press

HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have requested an interview with Las Vegas interim coach Antonio Pierce, potentially giving the Raiders competition should they eventually offer him the full-time job.

Tennessee is looking for a replacement for Mike Vrabel, who was fired Tuesday after six seasons. He went 56-48, but lost 18 of his last 24 games and went 6-11 this season.

Bears ‘open-minded’ about NFL draft’s top overall pick, GM says | ESPN

“I’ve got to stay open-minded about it,” Poles said Wednesday. “Not to use the same quote, but when I say, ‘I need to be blown away,’ it’s the same setup because seeing the things that Justin did this year, his ability to make plays ... keeping his eyes down the field, taking less sacks, you see a lot of growth there where he can continue to get better. So, I’ll have the same mindset.”

The Bears possess two picks in the top 10 at Nos. 1 and 9. Poles said his staff is in “information gathering mode” right now with all their options at quarterback in addition to beginning the search for a new offensive coordinator after Luke Getsy was fired Wednesday.

Poles said a big part of his evaluation on Fields and where he needs to see continued improvement from the quarterback is “in two-minute situations. ... That’s where you win games.”

“I did think Justin got better,” Poles said. “I think he can lead this team. But at the same time, there is a unique situation.”

The Titans fired Mike Vrabel because they couldn’t fire their entire roster | For the Win

But Vrabel was given little opportunity to thrive as the warning lights began to glow. Tennessee’s front office created a team wildly unable to gracefully pivot from Derrick Henry’s ground-based attack to something that could work with a mortal running back. Former general manager Jon Robinson was fired for his inability to generate new stars. New hire Ran Carthon came in before the 2023 offseason and, despite modest success, was unable to fight back the rising tide of failure that eventually flooded the Titans.

In a way, Vrabel was too successful for his own good. The 23-10 regular season record between 2020 and 2021 was a placating calm that covered the chaos brewing beneath. Ryan Tannehill was slowly getting worse, falling from the league’s best quarterback in terms of passer rating, completion rate and success rate in 2019 to the middle of the pack by 2021. Tennessee’s run game improved from 2019 to 2020, but saw its yards per carry drop from 5.2 to 4.4 the following year. The warning signs were there, but were tough to take too seriously for a team that won 11, then 12 games in the regular season.

Lions’ Jared Goff: Chip will ‘never leave me’ from Rams trade | ESPN

Although Goff admitted that things fell apart in Los Angeles after he started in Super Bowl LII, he still has an appreciation for McVay — and Stafford — as the Lions prepare to host their first home playoff since the 1993 wild-card matchup against the Green Bay Packers, back when they still played at the Pontiac Silverdome instead of Ford Field.

“Obviously, we had our differences there at the end, but he’s a great coach,” Goff said of McVay. “He’s a guy that taught me a lot.”

McVay said Wednesday that he acknowledges now that Goff “deserved better” than how his exit from Los Angeles was handled.

“The thing that I’ll never run away from are mistakes that I’ve made in previous instances. But when you look back on it, the gratitude for those four years, all the good memories that we had. And then when you end up making a change, that ended up being difficult. And could it have been handled better on my end? Absolutely. And I’ll never run away from that,” he said.

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Against the Chargers, Joe Thuney reminded us why he is so valuable to the Chiefs

In Sunday’s regular-season finale, the Kansas City Chiefs recorded a 13-12 defeat of the Los Angeles Chargers. With the team locked into AFC’s No. 3 playoff seed, most of the team’s stars sat out. But roster numbers forced the team to play some of their starting offensive linemen.

Left guard Joe Thuney started the game at left tackle. He left the game after one snap — intending to later rotate into his normal position — but late in the first quarter, rookie left tackle Wanya Morris left the game with a concussion. So Jawaan Taylor (who had also started the game by playing one snap — his at his normal right tackle position) checked in at left tackle. Late in the game, however, he left with what now appears to have been a knee injury.

Now the Chiefs were in a pickle. Lucas Niang — the only other tackle on the roster — was already playing on the right side. In this situation, most teams would be out of options. The Chiefs, however, had their break-glass-in-case-of-emergency alternative: moving Thuney to tackle. But this did not alter the Chiefs’ game plan in any way.

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