Merriman responds to Smith's comments

Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson

It’s no surprise San Diego linebacker Shawne Merriman made a light rebuttal to general manager AJ Smith’s comments that the team is “soft.”

Merriman is outspoken and there is a perception that he and Smith aren’t always on the same page. His comment won’t change that perception. Merriman said he only cares about what his teammates think. If Smith’s words spur his team, nobody will be more pleased than Smith. I get the feeling Smith made the comment to get the attention of his players. It seems like it worked.

Also in the AFC West:

  • It’s no surprise that running back Correll Buckhalter didn’t practice Wednesday. He has a high-ankle sprain and he may end up missing one to two weeks. Denver safety Brian Dawkins didn’t practice because of knee and shoulder injuries. It would be a surprise if he didn’t play against New England on Sunday.

  • The Chargers tried out two punters and two long-snappers just in case there is an emergency down the road.

  • Brandon Marshal talks about his relationship with Denver coach Josh McDaniels in a radio interview.

  • The Chiefs are getting creative in their search for players.

  • The Raiders re-signed running back Gary Russell.

  • Will it be a jinx? The Broncos are on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week.