- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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Some leftover notes from Mike Shanahan's news conference (that have nothing to do with his future):
After Sunday’s game, tight end Niles Paul ripped the effort of the special teams and termed it an embarrassing effort. He said there were players on special teams who did not want to be there. Paul displayed plenty of passion when discussing this, just as he had earlier in the year when he talked about problems on these units.When asked about this, coach Mike Shanahan said, “I’m surprised Niles Paul would say that, to start with. Once you start playing a perfect game you can start critiquing other players. So, yeah, that does disappoint me that he would say something like that.”
Running back Evan Royster will end the season on injured reserve after suffering a high ankle sprain Sunday.
Shanahan didn’t say that the recent string of sacks -- 24 in five games -- was the fault of Robert Griffin III’s decision making. But that is why he might bench the second-year quarterback, to keep him healthy entering the offseason. It would make sense to also address the offensive line, too. But Shanahan said, “If we think we can get better in that area, yes, we would.” In other words, the three young backups won’t make them better.
The Chiefs did whatever they wanted in the kick and punt return game, finishing with 300 yards and two touchdowns. Shanahan said they did not want to let returners Dexter McCluster or Quintin Demps touch the ball as much as they did (nine times). “Obviously it didn’t work out that way but our game plan was never to kick it to him, either to kick it high enough where he had to fair catch it or kick it out of bounds," Shanahan said. “Then when you do take a look at kickoffs, you take a look at the hang time on kickoffs and that last one that he did score a touchdown on, that was a squib kick, and it never did hit the ground. It’s a little tough on your coverage when those things happen, and collectively we didn’t get the job done. And I’m not blaming it on our kickers because we’re all in this thing together, but when you give a guy like McCluster, in those kind of conditions, a chance to return a ball or not kick it high enough, you’re going to be in for a long day just like we were.”