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Andy Reid: Loss wasn’t all about Alex Smith

KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15:  Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs walks of the field after being defeated by the Pittsburgh Steelers with a score of 18 to 16 in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Getty Images

The final four teams playing this season are quarterbacked by Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan, a group that was described as three Hall of Famers and the favorite for MVP this year in a question posed to Chiefs coach Andy Reid at a Monday press conference.

Reid was asked about whether Alex Smith measured up to that group when it came to being able to get the Chiefs to the next level of success.

“Do I still think you can win with Alex? We were right there to do that,” Reid said, via the Kansas City Star. “He made a phenomenal throw on the two-point play to put us in a position to take care of business. This wasn’t all about Alex, that’s not what this was. That’s not what this came down to.”

One question for any team that might contemplate a quarterback change is whether they can find someone better than what’s already on hand and it’s an especially important one for a team like the Chiefs that have so many other pieces in place at the moment.

Upgrading on Smith from freely available talent won’t be easy and the Chiefs know what to expect from Smith. There’s a low ceiling for offensive fireworks, but there are also limited mistakes and the combination has worked well enough for them to go to the playoffs three times over the last four years. For those reasons and the near $10 million in dead money the Chiefs would have if they cut Smith, thinking about who might be next in line at quarterback seems likelier than a change in the starting lineup in 2017.

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Raiders promote Trey Scott

NAPA, CA - AUGUST 05:  A detail of a helmet during the Oakland Raiders Training Camp at the Napa Valley Marriott on August 5, 2009 in Napa, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Raiders, who apparently won’t be having to replace director of player personnel Joey Clinkscales this year, may already have an in-house substitute in mind, if/when someone else makes Clinkscales a General Manager.

The team has promoted midwest scout Trey Scott to the position of Assistant Director of Player Personnel. Scott, 28, has spent five prior seasons with the team. Before that, he worked for Washington.

Scott arrived in Oakland with Clinkscales and others in May 2012. Both are names to watch, especially if this year’s playoff berth from the Raiders is a sign of things to come.

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Jason Tarver to interview for Washington DC job

San Francisco 49ers v Oakland Raiders Getty Images

Washington continues to add to its search for a defensive coordinator, with a fourth name joining the list.

According to Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post, former 49ers linebackers coach Jason Tarver is scheduled to interview.

Former Bills coordinator Rob Ryan met with them today, and they’ve also interviewed former Browns head coach Mike Pettine and former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley.

Tarver was defensive coordinator in Oakland from 2012-14, and previously worked for the 49ers as a position coach.

Washington had received permission to talk to Panthers secondary coach Steve Wilks, but he got the same promotion in Carolina after Sean McDermott got the Bills head coaching job.

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Chip Kelly talking to Jaguars again, and they have a head coach

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 06:  Head coach Chip Kelly of the San Francisco 49ers looks on from the sidelines during their NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium on October 6, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Getty Images

Tom Coughlin interviewed for the Jaguars head coaching job, didn’t get it, and still ended up employed there.

And Chip Kelly might be following the same path.

After interviewing for the head coaching job that went to Doug Marrone, the former Eagles and 49ers head coach was back at EverBank Field today talking to Jaguars officials, according to Hays Carlyon of the Florida Times-Union.

Kelly as coordinator would be a fascinating idea, and could give Blake Bortles a better chance to succeed. They haven’t officially parted ways with coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, but if Kelly’s hanging around, there are only so many other jobs for him there.

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Report: DeShawn Shead suffered torn ACL

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 07:  Defensive back DeShawn Shead #35 of the Seattle Seahawks breaks up a pass intended for Wide receiver Anquan Boldin #80 of the Detroit Lions in the NFC Wild Card game at CenturyLink Field on January 7, 2017 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Seahawks safety Deshawn Shead suffered a torn ACL in last weekend’s playoff loss at Atlanta, NFL Network reported.

The report said Shead will have surgery to repair the tear. The Seahawks feared after the game that Shead had torn his ACL but no official diagnosis was made until the team returned to Seattle.

Shead will become a restricted free agent in March.

Shead started all 15 games he played in 2016. He had one interception and a career-best 14 pass breakups.

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Titans add two to coaching staff

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 26: Ryquell Armstead #25 of the Temple Owls celebrates with wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against the East Carolina Pirates at Lincoln Financial Field on November 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Titans have hired ex-NFL player Frisman Jackson as their new wide receivers coach and Craig Auckerman as assistant special teams coach.

This is Jackson’s first NFL coaching job. Jackson spent the last two years as wide receivers coach at Temple and previously coached at North Carolina State, Northern Illinois, Western Illinois and Akron. He added the title of passing game coordinator at Temple last season.

Jackson played under Titans offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie with the Browns in the early 2000s.

Auckerman was special teams coordinator with the Chargers last season after serving as assistant special teams coach the previous three seasons with the Chargers. Auckerman has 10 years of NFL coaching experience.

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Julio Jones may be limited, but will be “ready to rock”

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14:   Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts after a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks at the Georgia Dome on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

It may not be “no concern,” but the Falcons are apparently confident wide receiver Julio Jones is OK.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn told reporters that Jones might be limited in practice this week, but would be “ready to rock,” in time to play Sunday against the Packers.

Jones aggravated the foot/toe injury he’s been dragging around the last few weeks, and may not be 100 percent.

But it’s also clear there’s nothing so significant it will keep him off the field against the Packers in the NFC Championship Game.

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New Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams hires his son

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 11: A Cleveland Browns helmet rests on the field prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 11, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Browns 29-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Browns are hiring Blake Williams as their new linebackers coach and Jerod Kruse as assistant defensive backs coach, per multiple reports.

Williams is the son of Gregg Williams, who was hired as the Browns’ defensive coordinator earlier this month. The Browns have made staff changes on both sides of the ball since the end of last season.

Blake Williams worked under his father with both the Saints and Rams. He’s spent the last four seasons coaching in the college ranks, the last two at Southeastern Louisiana.

Kruse will work under DeWayne Walker, who was hired as the secondary coach last week. Kruse also coached at Southeastern Louisiana.

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49ers continuing G.M. interviews with Seattle’s Trent Kirchner

UFC Fighters meet San Francisco 49ers Players Getty Images

The 49ers might be honing in on a head coaching choice (or just picking whoever’s left), but their search for a General Manager is continuing.

Via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, the 49ers are interviewing Seahawks personnel man Trent Kirchner today.

They’re presumably clear to also talk to Seattle’s Scott Fitterer today, as he was among the previously reported candidates and the Seahawks’ schedule is clear after this weekend’s loss to the Falcons.

The 49ers have cast a wide net for G.M. candidates, and initially suggested they wanted to fill that position before they hired a head coach. And if the Falcons beat the Packers this week, they’d technically have another two weeks to accomplish that goal, since presumed choice Kyle Shanahan would be held up the way Falcons head coach Dan Quinn was.

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Jordy Nelson better, but “no guarantees” for Atlanta

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15:  Jordy Nelson #87 of the Green Bay Packers stands on the field before the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

The absence of wide receiver Jordy Nelson didn’t stop the Packers from coming back to beat the Giants in the Wild Card round and it didn’t stop them from taking down the Cowboys 34-31 on Sunday, so the team knows they can win if Nelson’s injured ribs keep him out of the lineup against the Falcons.

They’d prefer to have everyone on hand helping with the effort to get to the Super Bowl, however. After Sunday’s win, Nelson said that his ribs were feeling “a lot better” than he was a week ago but that it’s too early to say if he’ll be able to play.

“No, there’s no guarantees,” Nelson said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We’re a whole week away.”

The Packers had a handful of other players get banged up during the win over the Cowboys. Safety Morgan Burnett’s thigh injury appears most serious as a return after getting hurt in the first quarter was short-lived. Tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga joined wide receiver Davante Adams and cornerback Ladarius Gunter as players who were briefly sidelined before returning to action, something that should bode well for their availability in the NFC title game.

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Vikings adding UCLA coordinator Kennedy Polamalu as RBs coach

Minnesota Vikings v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

One of the more intriguing questions of the offseason for the Vikings will be the future of running back Adrian Peterson.

Well, at least we know who his coach is going to be, if he’s back with the team.

According to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News, the Vikings are hiring Kennedy Polamalu as their new running backs coach.

Kevin Stafanski coached that position the last two years, moving over from tight ends. Polamalu was offensive coordinator at UCLA last year, and has worked two stints in the NFL with the Browns and Jaguars.

What he has to work with is unclear. The Vikings may not want to keep the 31-year-old running back with the $18 million cap hit next year, and if they move on from Peterson, they need a fresh start and an infusion of talent at the position after finishing last in the league in rushing.

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Brice Butler on unsportsmanlike conduct penalty: Never heard of it in my life

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15:  Brice Butler #19 (L) and Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrate after Bryant scored a touchdown in the first half during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cowboys thought they had a first down in the red zone early in Sunday’s game against the Packers after a 22-yard gain by wide receiver Terrence Williams, but the play was called back and then some thanks to a penalty that comes up rarely.

Wide receiver Brice Butler was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after he came into the huddle and then left the field without participating in a play. NFL rules say that if a player “approaches the huddle and communicates with a teammate,” he has to remain in the game to bar teams from creating confusion about which players are in the game. The 15-yard penalty put the Cowboys back into their own territory.

“Never heard of it in my life,” Butler said, via the Dallas Morning News. “[We] couldn’t beat the stripes. You can quote me on that.”

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he’s never seen that call before. Referee Tony Corrente told a pool reporter after the game that it isn’t “an obscure rule” and that Butler “has to stay either in the game or they can call a timeout and get out of it.”

The Cowboys tried passes to Butler on the next two plays, but both fell incomplete. Butler finished the day without a catch and said he “played like trash” in what will be his final game for quite a while.

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Adam Jones case on hold, prosecutor wants to know NFL punishment

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 18:  Adam Jones #24 of the Cincinnati Bengals breaks up a pass intended for Sammie Coates #14 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

Court proceedings related to Bengals cornerback Adam Jones‘ arrest earlier this month following an incident at a Cincinnati hotel have been continued until February 10.

A judge made that decision last Friday after Jones’ attorneys agreed to waive his right to a speedy trial on charges of assault, disorderly conduct, obstructing official business and harassment with a bodily substance. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said late last week that his office “will pursue something” against Jones for behaving “boorishly and foolishly,” but that he wants and idea of what the NFL will do on the discipline front before deciding how to proceed.

“One of the factors that goes into my decision is what the NFL’s going to do to him,” Deters said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “If he gets suspended for four games, he loses $2 million. We have drunken idiots every night over at the [jail] that don’t get fined $2 million.”

Jones has been suspended twice in the past for all of the 2007 season and part of the 2008 campaign, which left his career prospects looking bleak. That outlook cleared after the Bengals signed him in 2010 as Jones has remained productive while staying on the field.

The league is reviewing Jones’ case to see if that streak will end, but there’s no set timeline for them to make a ruling about disciplinary action for the cornerback.

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Mason Crosby makes history with his big kicks

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15:  Mason Crosby #2 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates with Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers after kicking the game winning field goal against the Dallas Cowboys in the final seconds of a NFC Divisional Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. The Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-31  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

It wasn’t just that Mason Crosby’s never done anything quite like it — no one has.

When the Packers kicker hit a pair of 50-plus-yard field goals in the final two minutes of last night’s win over the Cowboys, he became the first kicker to do that in postseason history, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.

“It’s kind of a blur right now,” Crosby said. “But it was unreal.”

The Packers kicker hadn’t made a potential game-tying or go-ahead kick of 50 yards or longer in the fourth quarter or overtime, 0-of-4 on such attempts. He had only made one this season from 50 or beyond, and for his career, he’s 28-of-54 on such long attempts.

But his 56-yarder with 1:33 left was the third-longest kick in postseason history, and his 51-yard game-winner had to be hit twice, after the Cowboys used their final timeout to ice him. He hadn’t made two 50-plusses in a single game in his career, so hitting what amounted to three in such a short span was impressive.

“For Mason to hit those two kicks, he’s the best kicker in the league — and he’s got to do it outdoors for much of the season on a tough field at times, and he’s so reliable for us,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “I know he’s made a bunch in a row for us in the playoffs. It’s just incredible that he makes it twice. A lot goes into that operation. Brett [Goode], obviously, with a great snap, Jake [Schum] with the hold, and Mason banged it through twice. That was pretty amazing.”

Crosby has hit 23 straight field goals in the postseason now, and he gets to try to extend that streak in the perfect indoor conditions of the Georgia Dome next week.

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Monday morning one-liners

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15:  Mason Crosby #2 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates with Jacob Schum #10 of the Green Bay Packers after kicking the game winning field goal against the Dallas Cowboys in the final seconds of a NFC Divisional Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. The Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-31  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

Working for the Bills brings defensive line coach Mike Waufle back to his home state.

A vote for Dolphins G Laremy Tunsil as the AFC East’s best rookie.

The Patriots made heavy use of WR Julian Edelman against the Texans.

Is LB Nick Perry a free agent option for the Jets?

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti would like to see fewer commercials during NFL games.

The Bengals have the No. 9 overall draft pick for the second time in franchise history.

Former Browns Alex Mack and Taylor Gabriel are going to the NFC Championship Game.

Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell seems to like the postseason just fine.

LB Brian Cushing thinks the Texans are close to better things.

A look at the Colts’ reported pursuit of Peyton Manning to run the team.

Tom Coughlin’s arrival has led to talk of culture changes with the Jaguars.

Titans OL Sebastian Tretola hopes he learned enough in 2016 to contribute on the field in 2017.

Depth at linebacker could be on the Broncos shopping list.

Sunday’s loss is something that Chiefs C Mitch Morse will dwell on for a bit.

The season is over, but Raiders P Marquette King is still kicking things.

Chargers fans in San Diego have some kindred spirits in St. Louis.

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott plans to play in a lot more playoff games.

Will CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie be back with the Giants next season?

LB Emmanuel Acho thinks the Eagles might regret acquiring him in a trade for Dion Lewis.

Checking out the cap situation for the Redskins.

The Bears need to boost the talent level in the secondary.

QB Jake Rudock will try to nail down the backup job with the Lions this offseason.

Packers K Mason Crosby didn’t stumble in the spotlight.

CB Captain Munnerlyn’s time with the Vikings may be over.

Looking forward to seeing the Falcons take on the Packers.

Panthers LB Thomas Davis has spread his wings into the comedy world.

A key play for the Chiefs bore some similarity to one the Saints ran to good effect earlier in the season.

Some offensive draft prospects for the Buccaneers to consider.

Aaron Rodgers‘ heroics likely looked familiar to the Cardinals.

The Rams hope they made the right call by hiring Sean McVay.

Checking in on the 49ers’ search for a coach and General Manager.

Matt Calkins of the Seattle Times thinks the Seahawks became an unlikable team this year.

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