“In terms of the playoffs, I’m really excited,” Simmons said on Good Morning Football. “As you said, I just missed the Super Bowl with Denver; got drafted the year after, and then since then, the best record that I’ve been a part of was 9-7, just missing that playoff berth. Guys are hungry, and obviously, Russ is hungry. We got a hungry group, we’ve got a talented group, and that’s what I’m really looking forward to. I feel like if you have that — as long as we don’t beat ourselves — I like our chances to host playoff games and eventually hoist the Lombardi trophy at the end of the year.”
“I think the confidence level is at an all-time high,” Simmons continued. “Playing in the best division in football, being in the AFC West, is going to be challenging but it’s going to be fun, right? I think Russ kind of hit it on the head in his opening presser when he was officially announced as a Denver Bronco, saying, ‘I’m not scared of the competition and I want to go up against the best, and there’s no better division to go up against in the AFC West.’ Seeing (Justin) Herbert, (Derek) Carr, and (Patrick) Mahomes twice a year and obviously how talented that offense is, but just as a team. The defensive additions that all those teams have gotten and things like that. I’m just really looking forward to the competitive nature that those games are going to hold. I’m excited for, you know, obviously us, but the fans to watch those games as well. It’s going to be really cool. It’s going to be a lot of fireworks for those games.”
Chargers HC Brandon Staley instantly made a name for himself in his first year in charge in Los Angeles for his aggressiveness on fourth downs. It turned him into a lightning rod, both for praise from the analytics community and criticism when the Chargers missed the playoffs. He explained his approach, noting there’s obviously a mathematical component to his fourth-down decision-making. But it goes deeper than that.
“There has to be a fearlessness to play in this game, and what I wanted to establish was that,” Staley said via the Athletic’s Daniel Popper. “The history of this team when I got here, it was like someone’s going to get hurt, they’re going to blow a lead, something catastrophic is going to happen. There’s this ‘Chargering’ thing. There’s all of these external factors that I know in my life, they’re just all excuses. They’re just all excuses.
“And so, how do you change that? Well, you have to do things different, you have to have a different approach. … Our mindset’s going to be on us, it’s not going to be on the opponent. It’s going to be on us. So creating that fearless mindset of, we are going to be aggressive, we’re going to put the ball in our hands, we’re going to trust our guys to make plays. If we lose, we’re going to do it on our terms, not someone else’s terms.”
- Staley said Tuesday he was not concerned about S Derwin James‘ ongoing hold-in for a new contract, which got done on Wednesday: “I don’t worry about Derwin James because there is no one that has more pride in his performance and his ability to be in shape, mentally and physically, to do the job at the highest level than him.” (Tyler Dragon)
- NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman is being evaluated for a groin injury, but was able to walk off the field under his own power.
- Chiefs RB Jerick McKinnon has a strained hamstring, DT Chris Jones has a sore back, and LS James Winchester was absent for personal reasons, with each player missing practice on Wednesday. (Nate Taylor)
- Chiefs HC Andy Reid said earlier this week K Harrison Butker is dealing with a sore ankle, while TE Blake Bell has a hip flexor. (Taylor)
- Chiefs recently signed DT Danny Shelton said he also had interest from the Panthers, Raiders, and Jaguars as a free agent and his final decision came down to Kansas City or Jacksonville. (Pete Sweeney)