AFC Notes: Justin Herbert, Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders


New Chargers HC Brandon Staley shed some light on the developing relationship between him and QB Justin Herbert, which will be crucial in determining what kind of success the team can have in the coming years. Even though Staley cut his teeth on the defensive side of the ball, he says that experience is actually huge for giving Herbert a well-rounded perspective as he develops. 

“A big part of it is that I know our offense. I know how we call things, I know why we call them that way, from a formation standpoint to a protection standpoint to a route concept standpoint, so I can speak his language on a day-to-day basis,” Staley said via the Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue. “And then, I feel like a big contribution from me is to help him identify defenses and how people play and what their rules are… And offer him that second part of his education where, yeah, he’s learning it from Joe (Lombardi) and Shane (Day). But I’m the checks and balances that offers him that other perspective — and a fresh perspective.”

Staley also talked more about how they won’t shy away from the high expectations placed on Herbert as a result of his fantastic rookie season. 

“I think that with Justin, it’s: ‘Do you prepare the path for the player or the player for the path?’ And I want to prepare the player for the path, not the path for the player,” he said. “I don’t want to make it easy for Justin; I want to make it right for him. And so on the front end, I’ll say, ‘Hey, man, we’re going to challenge you. We’re going to push you.’ Because ultimately, I know that for us to be as good as we can be, (he) has to be the one running the show for us.”


Chiefs TE Travis Kelce is still not over the loss to Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl and is ready for Kansas City to rebound this season.

“That was pretty embarrassing man, taking that last loss down there in Tampa, man,” Kelce told NFL Total Access. “If you’re not motivated after taking a shellacking like that, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. I want to go win one more than I ever wanted to get one in the first place and that’s everybody in that building, man. That’s why I love Kansas City, we’ve got great guys, top to bottom. Front office, Clark Hunt, the head of it all, the owner of the Chiefs, he’s done a great job of getting the right people in the right place, even more so this year with the new additions that we have. It’s just exciting times and everybody’s motivated to just get better and go out there and try to win a Super Bowl, man.”


  • The Athletic’s Tashan Reed and Vic Tafur think Raiders DT Quinton Jefferson has the early edge to start at three-technique ahead of DL Solomon Thomas, both of whom were added in free agency this offseason. 
  • After that, the two think DTs Darius Philon and Kendal Vickers will round out the Raiders’ depth chart at defensive tackle. 
  • Because the Raiders guaranteed DE Carl Nassib $9.25 million in 2021, Tafur and Reed write he will have a role in the rotation this offseason even after disappointing on the field in his first season in Las Vegas. 
  • The two add they expect third-round DE Malcolm Koonce to essentially have a redshirt season as he develops his body for the NFL after making the leap from Buffalo. 

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