AFC Notes: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs


Three weeks in and the Broncos offense under QB Russell Wilson has been bucked off the horse more often than they’ve hit their stride. Broncos HC Nathaniel Hackett — under a fair amount of criticism himself for his Denver debut — said what we’re seeing is just a natural learning curve for Wilson. 

“When you look at it, Russell has been in one place for his whole career,” Hackett said via the Athletic’s Nick Kosmider. “And then he comes here and he’s got a new coaching staff, new city, new fans, new press, new system, new people that he’s going out there and playing with. It’s not as easy as just going out there with anybody and playing ball. We’re all working through all kinds of things. I’m working through things with him, making sure I’m calling the right plays for him, that the players are running the right routes. There’s been some good and some bad, and we just have to make sure we have more good than bad moving forward.”

Wilson’s legs have been a huge part of his success for most of his career, but he’s been more limited as an improviser in 2022. Perhaps it’s age catching up to him, perhaps it’s the scheme, or perhaps it’s a little of both. Hackett said that’s not something they’re trying to limit with Wilson. He pulled a little bit of improvisational magic out in Monday night’s win against the 49ers and Hackett said they’ll need that going forward. 

“You never want guys to be robots,” Hackett said. “You want them to go out there and play within the system. Defense is doing a great job doing that. The offense, sometimes I think they want to press. They want a play to happen. I think you have to continually play within the system and understand (plays) are gonna happen. Looking at that last drive, there were some things that weren’t there. Trust that you know it’s not there and then make a play. But that’s part of the system. You want those guys to feel comfortable in doing that. There were a couple great scramble drills, a couple times Russell took off and made big plays, and that’s what we’re looking for.”


  • Chargers CB J.C. Jackson is dealing with “inflammation” of his surgically-repaired ankle, which is why he was held out of the team’s game Sunday. (Daniel Popper)
  • Chargers HC Brandon Staley expects WR Keenan Allen to return to practice this week. (Popper)


Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and OC Eric Bieniemy were spotted getting into an animated disagreement at the end of the first half in Week 3 against the Colts after Kansas City elected to just run the clock out and get to halftime after an incomplete pass and a penalty. After the game, Mahomes downplayed it as a heat of the moment thing. 

“I wanted to go (and) try to score. That’s just who I am,” Mahomes said via the Athletic’s Nate Taylor. “We were in a tough situation. It was a second-and-20, and probably the smart decision was to just go to halftime. I pretty much just said, ‘Let me have a chance at it.’ (Bieniemy) was just like, ‘Let’s get back in our locker room and we’ll get something going for the next half.’”

  • The NFL will continue monitoring Hurricane Ian, with the game between the Chiefs and Buccaneers remaining scheduled as planned on Sunday night in Tampa for now, per CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones. However, a change could come as late as Friday depending on the storm. 
  • ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reports the NFL is unlikely to relocate the game to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami despite the Dolphins having an away game in Week 4. The league won’t want to take any resources away from the state of Florida if things get bad enough that the game needs to be moved. 
  • Darlington says a neutral location in the Midwest is more likely, specifically Minnesota as the Vikings are in London this week and their home stadium is available. 

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