Tuesday notebook: Raiders’ Del Rio defends “gimmicky” remark

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio sparked the ire of Kansas City Chiefs fans following the last game between the two teams when he appeared to criticize the team’s pre-snap shifts and motions, calling them “gimmicky things.”

Kansas City Chiefs running Spencer Ware dives into the end zone during the team's 26-10 win at the Oakland Raiders on Oct. 16, 2016. (Photo courtesy Chiefs PR, Chiefs.com)

Kansas City Chiefs running Spencer Ware dives into the end zone during the team’s 26-10 win at the Oakland Raiders on Oct. 16, 2016. (Photo courtesy Chiefs PR, Chiefs.com)

Del Rio said Tuesday he doesn’t regret the remark, but put a different spin on what many construed as a negative connotation.

“No, I think those are effective plays,” Del Rio said. “You call it what you want. You’re talking about ways to get playmakers the ball in their hands. We do some of it as well. If the word is something that somebody doesn’t like, that’s just too bad.”

Back in week six, Del Rio proved less diplomatic when talking about quarterback Alex Smith and the Chiefs offensive game plan for the Raiders.

“Talked about Alex leading up to the game, good football player, little underrated,” Del Rio said at the time. “If he’s got to rely on throwing the ball, it’s really not his strong suit, but if you allow them to run the ball, do some of their gimmicky things, then he comes to life.”

Now, Del Rio apparently still believes shifting and motioning “gimmicky,” but says his teams uses the same type of techniques.

“They’re things that they do that we do to put the ball in our playmakers’ hands, and that’s what it’s all about it, getting the ball to your playmakers.”

Chiefs coach Andy Reid brushed off any perceived criticism.

“I know Jack well, I don’t think he meant anything by it,” Reid said. “There are good gimmickies. I don’t think he meant anything by it.”

THE COLD

The forecast for Thursday’s night game calls for a temperature near 20 degrees  when the game kicks off. Cold weather and football go hand-in-hand, but the Chiefs rarely find themselves in such averse conditions.

The last time the Chiefs played a game with the starting temperature at or below 20 degrees was Dec. 26, 2010 versus the Tennessee Titans. The Chiefs won 34-14.

The franchise owns a record of 10-3 in games with the starting temperature 20 degrees or lower. All but two of those 13 games were at home. Amazingly, none of those games kicked off at night.

The Raiders are 3-5 all time in games that cold, all away from their home in the California bay area.

Smith  said the weather affects every player differently.

“For us, obviously we’ve gotten a lot of practice in the weather here, so we’ll see what the weather conditions are like for Thursday night,” Smith said.

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill couldn’t name the coldest game in which he played.

“I have no idea, but not this cold,” Hill said.

T.J. BARNES FINDS ROLE

The Chiefs promoted defensive tackle T.J. Barnes from the practice squad on Saturday, and the team immediately put him to work. The 6-7, 364-pound tackle played 18 snaps in the team’s defensive rotation against the Falcons.

Barnes signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent from Georgia Tech in 2013. The team released him at the end of camp, but in October 2013 he found a new home with the New York Jets, where he played 12 games with the Jets over parts of two seasons.

The Buffalo Bills claimed Barnes off waivers in December last year. The Bills tested Barnes at right tackle, pulling him away from his home on the defensive side.

“It’s been a long year,” Barnes said. “I had to transition to play right tackle in Buffalo, then feel like I can’t play defense.”

The Jaguars claimed Barnes off waivers following his departure from Buffalo, but released him at the end of camp.

The Chiefs signed Barnes Oct. 20. He said the nearly two months on the sideline motivated him.

“It was heartbreaking because I knew I could still play and still give forth the effort needed to be a good player in this league,” Barnes said.

Barnes learned of his promotion to the active roster on the trip to Atlanta. He said the emotion of making it back to an NFL roster hit him on the bus ride to the Georgia Dome.

“Leaving the hotel, it was like I couldn’t hold back the tears,” Barnes said. “It’s been a really long year, a lot of ups and downs. I’m just really thankful for the opportunity.”

Barnes said he feels at home with the position group and defensive line coach Britt Reid.

“It’s just a great environment,” Barnes said. “I can’t say enough about those guys.”

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Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.


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