AFC West Notes: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs



While it’s still early, Broncos GM John Elway has nothing but positive things to say about new HC Vic Fangio. At the age of 60, Fangio got his first shot as an NFL head coach with Denver this year, and so far so good. 

“He’s been everything that I thought he would be,” Elway said via Pro Football Talk. “I like his style and the way he goes about it with no music and the focus that he has brought back to the practice field, the tempo and the reps. I’m excited about where we are, but obviously we’ve still got to win football games. I feel good about where we are.”

Elway noted the similarities between Fangio and legendary Broncos HC Mike Shanahan, who reportedly was in consideration to return to Denver in 2018. While Shanahan’s specialty is offense and Fangio made his reputation in the NFL for his work on the defensive side of the football, Elway says both approach the job similarly. 

“I think that comes from his experience, his background and where he is from,” Elway said. “I think that the discipline and the attention to detail is there, and I think that is the difference maker. Mike brought that and Vic is the same way when it comes down to the defensive side and what he expects. Yeah, there is a lot of similarities for Mike and Vic. The other thing is, they are both — Mike was great on the offense and Vic is great on the defensive side. That’s mainly what I was looking for in a new head coach, and fortunately we found Vic.”

Broncos second-round QB Drew Lock reportedly impressed Denver enough that he was connected to them repeatedly with their No. 10 overall pick in the first round throughout the predraft process. The Broncos ended up being able to wait until the second round to select Lock, and he’s shown why this preseason as he transitions from the spread offense he ran in college to Denver’s traditional pro-style scheme. 

“He continues to get better,” Broncos GM John Elway said via Pro Football Talk. “He’s been overloaded. Anytime you have young guy like that, he’s going to have his good days, and he is going to have his bad days. Obviously, we’re excited, still, about the talent that he has and what he has showed. He is flashed a lot, but it’s a big jump for him, especially with what we are doing offensively and the verbiage that goes along with it. It’s going to take him some time, but he’s done a nice job.”


  • According to NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo, the Chargers expect S Derwin James to be sidelined anywhere from three to five months following surgery on his fractured foot. 
  • Garafolo says the three-month timeline, which is on the optimistic side, would have James returning in potentially late November or early December in time for a playoff push. 


Chiefs HC Andy Reid says the team continues to be impressed by sixth-round RB Darwin Thompson. The rookie had another solid game Saturday, rushing four times for 30 yards, but it was his skills in pass protection which made Reid take notice. 

“He’s able to see the blitz, which is a big thing for the young guys,” Reid said via ESPN’s Adam Teicher. “He’s got good vision in the run game and then he’s got a pretty good understanding of the pass game. He’s really a focused kid. He’s kind of no-nonsense, wants to do it right, real focused, studies a lot. I like the way he’s made up that way.”

  • Reid said if it had been a regular-season game, S Tyrann Mathieu could have remained in the game following his shoulder injury, per Brooke Pryor of the Kansas City Star. 
  • Chiefs WR Marcus Kemp had the “most significant” injury from Saturday’s preseason game, per Reid, who called it a knee sprain until after the MRI. (BJ Kissel)
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