AFC Notes: Broncos, Chargers, Raiders


By the end of the 2020 season, it had become pretty clear the Panthers were done with QB Teddy Bridgewater after just one year as the starter. New Broncos GM George Paton was part of the Vikings front office that drafted Bridgewater in the first round and that familiarity greased the wheels on a trade when Carolina was ready to make the move. 

“Yeah my agent, he was adamant about (a trade somewhere),” Bridgewater said via KUSA’s Mike Klis. “We had talked. We knew some transaction was going to take place this offseason and there were some familiar faces here in Denver from my time in Minnesota with George, with (Broncos OC) Pat Shurmur. So we had a good feel for the vibe that was here. We played it one day at a time and when it finally happened we all looked at each other like, ‘We told you.’ I’m happy to be here and looking forward to what’s in store for me.”

Bridgewater is set to compete with former second-rounder Drew Lock for the Broncos’ starting job. Lock has the better physical skillset and the allure of potential as a younger quarterback. But Bridgewater’s experience and leadership capabilities could help set him apart. 

“It developed in high school and it’s been a part of me throughout my journey,” Bridgewater said. “You might notice I also talk to the defensive players because those are the guys I’m playing chess with. If I can learn any tendencies from those guys about myself it’s going to make me a better player. And then if I can give them some information about what I see from them it’s going to make them a better player.

“In the end it’s all about making the team better. I love interacting with the guys and – even if it’s not about football. Joking with the guys on the sidelines, it’s getting to know a guy. Sometimes that’s all it takes to bring out the best in a player.”


Chargers’ veteran CB Chris Harris says he feels much more comfortable in the new defense that HC Brandon Staley is installing in Los Angeles this season.

“This year, I feel very comfortable [being in a system I’m familiar with],” Harris said, via “I’m able to be that extra quarterback back there for these guys because they’re still learning the system, so it’s good to have me back there to be able to speed up their thinking and to help them out.”


Raiders’ HC Jon Gruden is ready to see WR Henry Ruggs take the next step as a player in 2021 and wants to see the former first-round pick known as more than just a speedy threat.

“Ruggs didn’t have an offseason program last year like a lot of these rookies,” Gruden said, via “He got hurt in the first game against Carolina, got the Coronavirus last year, missed some more time. He’s a big reason why Darren Waller had a big year because of the threat of Ruggs. We don’t want Ruggs to just be a threat. We’d like him to be on the receiving end of a lot of those threats. So, we’re trying to get him more and more involved in the pass offense, and so far, so good.”

  • Raiders QB Derek Carr said he’s reached out to DE Carl Nassib in support after the defensive end recently came out as gay: “I have often said I love my teammates. I mean it. We always say we are a family in that Raider locker room, and we mean that too. I want to win a championship here with Carl and the rest of our teammates.” (Vincent Bonsignore)

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