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Raiders need special effort in stopping Chiefs’ return teams

Updated December 7, 2017 - 7:37 pm

ALAMEDA, Calif. — There is a special, contributing factor as to why Derek Carr has yet to record a win in Kansas City.

On Sunday, the Raiders hope to return the favor.

In a period spanning the quarterback’s entire pro career, the Raiders have allowed a punt or kickoff score in their past three trips to Arrowhead Stadium. This Sunday will be a heavyweight matchup of sorts. It features Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill and Raiders wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson sharing a field as arguably the NFL’s most dangerous punt and kickoff returners, respectively.

The matchup extends to the sideline, too.

The Raiders’ Brad Seely and Chiefs’ Dave Toub are the special-teams coordinators.

“Dave and I have been together off and on since college,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said in a conference call with Bay Area-based reporters. “We were coaching at the college level in UTEP. I think he’s the best in the business. I know you guys have a good one there, too, who I have a lot of respect for. You’re going to see two of the best special teams coaches in the National Football League going against each other.”

The Raiders (6-6) are due to slow Kansas City (6-6).

On Nov. 15, 2014, Chiefs wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas returned a Marquette King punt 81 yards for a touchdown. On Jan. 3, 2016, linebacker D.J. Alexander blocked a King punt for a safety. On Dec. 8, 2016, Hill returned a King punt 78 yards for a touchdown. King ranks third in the NFL with a 44.1 net punt average in 2017.

The Raiders are more due for their own score.

They have gone 141 regular-season games without a punt return for a touchdown, the longest drought in the NFL. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are second at 125. The Raiders’ last one came on Dec. 21, 2008, an 80-yard return by wide receiver Johnny Lee-Higgins against the Houston Texans.

Meanwhile, it’s been 102 games without a kickoff return for a touchdown, the 11th-longest such drought. On Oct. 16, 2011, wide receiver Jacoby Ford had a 101-yard score against the Cleveland Browns.

Raiders running back Jalen Richard is coming off a game in which he had two muffs and one other fumble as a punt returner. The fumble occurred at the end of a 19-yard return. He’s expected to continue in the role Sunday.

“I feel it’s going to break,” Richard said. “I haven’t scored a touchdown yet. I don’t know how long it’s been since we’ve had a special teams touchdown for the Raiders. I feel like either me or CP, we’re going to break before the end of the year.”

Sunday would be a fine time for it.

Notable

— Wide receiver Amari Cooper (ankle) has yet to practice this week, but he was seen walking Thursday without a discernible limp. The Raiders will hold one last practice Friday before traveling to Kansas City. They will declare Cooper’s game status immediately following the on-field session.

— Defensive lineman Jihad Ward (toe) was added to the injury report. He and Cooper were among five players not to practice. Running back Marshawn Lynch (rest), linebacker Cory James (knee) and center-guard Jon Feliciano (concussion) were the others.

— Cornerback David Amerson has been a limited participant in practice all week. He’s missed the past five games to what a source characterized as a midfoot sprain.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

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