AFC West Notes: Broncos, Chargers, Raiders

     

Broncos

Broncos TE Jake Butt is trying to return from his third torn ACL in his playing career. Few NFL players have done so successfully, though former Panthers LB Thomas Davis had the best years of his career after he returned from his third ACL tear. Butt is still working back, and told the Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, “mentally, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through in my life.”

“Structurally everything in that knee is sound, everything tests fine. There’s no concern,” Butt said via Jhabvala. “But I guess I’m experiencing what most people experience coming back from an ACL. That’s what’s frustrating; I don’t consider myself most people”

  • Per Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post, Broncos HC Vic Fangio wasn’t happy about the fight between Broncos WRs Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders: “Obviously it’s not good. Can’t happen. Shouldn’t happen. You have to be able to react to these things and handle them the right way.”

Chargers

Chargers QB Philip Rivers says he isn’t sure if he’ll have a new deal before 2019, the last year of his current contract, starts. However, the 37-year-old Rivers says he’s perfectly fine playing out this year and figuring out in February what the future holds. 

“I know I can’t keep saying a handful [more years] forever,” Rivers said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “I think it’s just kind of a year at a time. I do love to still play. I don’t have a set number. I don’t know if it’s four, or it’s three. But I’m just in the present this year. And I think that’s just best suited for me and our family than saying, ‘alright, I’m going to try and go until X.’ I really don’t have that number. I think when I know, I’ll know.”

Part of what keeps Rivers going is his belief that the Chargers are firmly in the middle of a potential Super Bowl window. The Chargers made the playoffs each of his first four seasons before hitting a drought. 2018 was the first year they’d made the playoffs since 2013, and now Rivers is determined to make the most of what could be his last chance. 

“There was a four-year stretch there where we were as good as anyone in the league, probably should’ve won two, and we didn’t,” Rivers said. “And I think we’re back in that same similar window, from a roster standpoint.”

Raiders

Raiders first-round RB Josh Jacobs says the biggest surprise for him as he transitions to the NFL is how easy it’s been coming from Alabama. Jacobs says preseason practice for the Crimson Tide were more physical than the NFL so far, and the veterans on the team have told him he’s coming along quickly and looks natural.  

“It’s smooth,” Jacobs said via the Athletic’s Vic Tafur. “I thought it was going to way rougher than it is. I knew a lot coming in, mentally and physically. It’s just been smooth on my body.”

It’s good news for the Raiders, as they have big plans for their first-round running back. Jacobs could play a major role as a feature back for Oakland in only his first season. 

“I have always said he’s got all the things you’re looking for,” Raiders HC Jon Gruden said. “He can catch, he can block, he’s tough, he has breakaway speed. He’s gotta put it all together, and when he does I think he has a chance to be a feature back and a good one. He is on the right track.”

  • Gruden didn’t have any further updates on WR Antonio Brown‘s foot injury, though it’s not expected to keep him out too long: “I am not going to get into it. He’s getting evaluated and we hope to have him back soon.”

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