AFC West Notes: Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders


After re-signing with the Broncos following a disappointing free agency period, DT Shelby Harris believes that Denver is ready to put the league on notice with their defensive play.

“We have that veteran leadership, and we are gelling with the coaching staff. My saying is that we are going 16-0 until you prove me wrong. I think Broncos Country should be really excited because we added some pieces on offense that we really needed,” Harris told Troy Renck of Denver7. “I think on defense we have the addition of Jurrell Casey with a bunch of players we already had. I think we are going to shock the league.”


After identifying the defense as an area that was holding them back, the Chiefs hired Steve Spagnuolo last year as their new defensive coordinator. Though it took some time, eventually Spagnuolo’s defense gelled and helped propel Kansas City to a Super Bowl championship. Entering his second year, Spagnuolo is hopeful for even more improvement. 

“More than anything, myself and the coaches learning what our guys could and couldn’t do was huge,” Spagnuolo said via the Athletic’s Nate Taylor. “Knowing the abilities of those guys already, it might keep us from having to experiment. We’ve sat here with the scheme and said, ‘OK, let’s keep this because our guys are really good at it and maybe we get rid of that and add something else in.’ The hope is that you grow in the system and you can expand.”


New Raiders CB Prince Amukamara said his experience with GM Mike Mayock, HC Jon Gruden, and DC Paul Guenther was “very positive” and they feel he’ll be an essential part of their defense. 

“Everything was very positive, [the decision to sign me] was more based on a certain set of skills that I have and how I can help with what’s going on,” Amukamara said, via Kyle Martin of the team’s official site. “[Mayock, Gruden, and Guenther] thought I could be a very essential part, and I think also what’s always been praised about me — not to toot my own horn — but me being a veteran and a true pro. Just the way I’m able to lead.”

As for him being a scheme-fit in Guenther’s defense, Amukamara mentioned that the coordinator is aggressive with press coverage and feels he is one of the best man-to-man corners in the league. 

“With Paul’s defense, I followed him when he was at Cincinnati and you can see the guys are aggressive, and he likes for his guys to press and I think that’s where I flourish,” said Amukamara. “I’m one of, if not the best, corners in press, man-to-man coverage in the league and I have the tape to show that, which is why I’m saying that so boldly.”

Amukamara thinks Guenther’s defense will help enable him as a playmaker. 

“[Guenther] seems like he’s the kind of guy that likes to attack, he doesn’t sit back and wait for the game to come to him. You like that as a defensive player because you know you have a guy who’s going to send pressure and who’s going to take it, and put you in a position to make those plays.

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