AFC West Notes: Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders

     

Broncos

New Broncos RB Melvin Gordon didn’t anticipate Denver being his new home after leaving the Chargers in free agency. But after the Broncos made him a priority addition, he’s thrilled to be joining a scheme that he believes is a strong fit for his skill set. 

“They run a lot of inside zones, and that’s what I did a lot at Wisconsin,” Gordon said via NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. “It’s going to really help me get back in the feel of what I do best. I’m an inside-zone runner.”

Gordon went on to say that it would be refreshing to not have to adjust as much as he did when he joined the Chargers. After being drafted in the first round, Gordon didn’t crack 1,000 yards rushing until his third season and didn’t top 3.9 yards per carry until 2018. Part of the reason behind that, per Gordon, was having to adjust to the Chargers’ system. 

“It really didn’t play out to my strengths, especially the first couple years there,” Gordon said. “I kind of just had to adjust and make it work. It kind of wasn’t a system built for me. But I feel like Denver kinda runs my style of football, and I think it’s a great fit.”

Chiefs

Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy said first-round RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire has “some special traits” and should improve with some guidance from his teammates. 

I think the kid’s got some special traits, but I also believe our players are going to help him to grow to become even more of a special contributor when it’s all said and done with,” Bieniemy said, via the team’s official site

Bieniemy keyed on Edwards-Helaire’s “willingness to block” and that will help him earn playing time as a rookie. 

Well, we’ve had this discussion with him,” Bieniemy said. “You know what? Sometimes you see college kids put some good stuff on top. Sometimes you see them put some poor stuff on tape. The thing that we do know is that he does have the willingness to block. He understands that’s a huge asset that’s going to help him moving forward to get him on the field and contribute to what we do on our side of the ball. But one thing I will say: He does have the attitude and the mindset to get it done, so I’m not concerned with that.

  • Albert Breer mentions Chiefs QBs coach Mike Kafka as an assistant coach who stands to benefit from the recent revision of the Rooney Rule, which no-longer prevents teams from blocking assistant coaches from signing with new organizations.
  • Chiefs ST coordinator Dave Toub sounds like he’s planning not to have WR Mecole Hardman available as a returner, presumably because he’s looking at a larger role on offense: “I’m not sure about Hardman. I don’t want to lose him. I think he’s just scratched the surface as a returner.” (James Palmer)

Raiders

Raiders third-round RB Lynn Bowden Jr. drew the Las Vegas’ attention with his multi-faceted skillset the past few seasons, as he excelled both as a receiver and a wildcat quarterback for Kentucky. Then Bowden blew the team away during his board session at the NFL Combine, throwing Raiders HC Jon Gruden‘s infamously complex scheme back at him flawlessly. While Bowden will start learning the running back position first, that session gave the Raiders confidence he’ll be showing off his versatility at the NFL level sooner rather than later. 

“Ultimately, he’ll probably be what we call a ‘joker,’ which is what I love in Jon’s offense,” Raiders GM Mike Mayock said via ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. “It’s somebody who can do multiple jobs. But day one, he’s going to come in and be a running back. In the SEC two years ago, he caught 60-70 passes as a slot [receiver]. Last year, as you guys know, he was quarterback/wildcat … we think he’s one of the most athletic, tougher guys in this year’s draft. We’re going to train him to be running back. If he’s able to do that job, we’ll be able [to] do some other things with him — move him around, let him catch the football.”

  • According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Raiders CB Prince Amukamara signed a one-year, $1.05 million deal with a $50,000 signing bonus, $87,500 Week 1 roster bonus and counts $887,500 against the cap under the veteran salary benefit. 

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