AFC Notes: Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders

Chargers

New Chargers HC Brandon Staley has an ambitious plan for QB Justin Herbert, the reigning offensive rookie of the year. In an effort to accelerate Herbert’s mental growth and the implementation of a new offense, Staley has crafted scripts of 65-75 plays during OTAs, far more than usual. While it won’t happen overnight, Staley wants Herbert to get to a point where his mental command of the game rivals Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers who are effectively coaches playing quarterback. 

“What makes those two guys specifically unique is that you’re eliminating one of the variables in the equation,” Staley said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “When they don’t need the coach, when they are the coach, that’s a much more dangerous person to have to defend, because you’re not waiting for the coach to help them. They know how to help themselves. And that’s what I think we’re trying to achieve.”

Chiefs

Chiefs’ second-year RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire says he is locked in on becoming a larger part of the Chiefs’ passing game during training camp.

“Working on my hands and catching,” Edwards-Helaire said, via Matt McMullen of Chiefs.com. “I wouldn’t say it was a problem last year, but just understanding our offense – we move the ball around and we spread the field – so why not work on something that I feel like I can improve on? That was one of my steps as far as improvement goes.”

“Everything is based on the things that we install. Talking to [Head] Coach [Andy] Reid and [quarterback] Patrick [Mahomes], there are things we’re implementing to get the ball to the running back and just get the ball spread out more,” Edwards-Helaire said. “That was one of the [reasons] why I chose to work on my hands and to just be more of a threat. It was seen that I can run the ball between the tackles and outside [last season]. So, just being able to also get out – and not just routes out of the backfield, but also spread out in the slot and as an outside wideout – [is a goal of mine].”

Chiefs’ HC Andy Reid said that during his first season, the team wanted Edwards-Helaire to adjust to the NFL. Now that he has a season of experience under his belt, things can expand for him as a pass-catcher.

“We didn’t have a huge, expanded role for him in the passing game [last year]. We were just getting him in the swing of [playing in the NFL],” Reid said. “We’ve tried to give him a little bit more this offseason, and he’s handled it well. I look forward to getting him up to training camp where he can continue to keep growing.”

Raiders

Raiders HC Jon Gruden was non-committal when asked if he considers this year’s roster his best with the organization but believes they are younger, faster, and have more depth. 

“Well, I’ll have to see when we get to camp,” Gruden, via Kevin Patra of Around the NFL. “Obviously, we like it on paper. We made some changes that’re, you know, in some people’s eyes, uh, questionable. But we’re younger, I think we’re faster. I think we do have more depth. It’s hard to update that question right now without seeing everything in pads at full strength.”

Regarding the Raiders’ first-round OT Alex Leatherwood, Gruden said they were glad he fell to No. 17 and expects him to start at right tackle. 

“Well, he’s very smart. Very athletic. He’s long. He’s a talented player,” said Gruden. “And that’s why we took him. We had him ranked high on our board and we’re glad he fell to us. We’re glad he was there for us. Smart guy, very athletic. And he has a lot of experience. So, we’re counting on him being our starting right tackle.”

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