AFC West: 2013 Week 5 NFL Buzz

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Observed in the locker room after the San Diego Chargers' 27-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders.

No excuses: San Diego coach Mike McCoy dismissed injuries or scheduling as an excuse for his team’s poor performance on the road, saying the Chargers need to come prepared to play each week.

“The parity is so good in this league that you’ve got to play your best every week,” McCoy said. “It comes down to you can’t turn the ball over five times and win many football games.”

Fourth-down woes: Trailing 14-0 with just over 10 minutes left in the first half, McCoy called for his team to go for it on fourth-and-1 from Oakland’s 1-yard line. The Chargers spread the field and ran Danny Woodhead up the middle, who failed to move the pile across the goal line. San Diego went into halftime down 17-0.

“I just thought it was a good opportunity for us,” McCoy said about the play. “They had all of the momentum in the game at that point of time. I think we had a good idea in the game. We had a run/pass check in there. Unfortunately they went blitz zero on us, and they made a play. I’d do it again tomorrow.”

Quarterback Philip Rivers said his team scored on a similar play against Tennessee on the goal line two weeks ago. Rivers said the Raiders disguised the blitz well.

“It was close,” Rivers said. “That’s one of those, too, where I’m not so sure he didn’t [get in]. He was close to getting in, but there’s a big pile there so you’re never going to see it.”

No answer for Pryor: San Diego made containing Terrelle Pryor a priority heading into Sunday’s contest. Yet they still allowed Oakland’s quarterback to consistently scramble outside the pocket and make big plays down the field, either with his arm or with his legs.

“He didn’t make many mistakes,” Chargers safety Eric Weddle said. “There were a few times where I could have baited him, and he never forced it in there. He’s shown that he’s gotten better in those situations. But when you turn the ball over five times and give up two easy scores like we did, you’re not going to win many games.”

Locker Room Buzz: Oakland Raiders

October, 7, 2013
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Observed in the locker room after the Oakland Raiders' 27-17 win over the San Diego Chargers.

The Message: Standing like some sentry to Silver and Blackdom was a white dry-erase board with a slew of hand-written thoughts. Among them: “WHY?” “1-3, our record. Does this define us?” “How hungry are you?” and “Bring the wood.” Nowhere to be seen, though, was the blue baseball bat Marcel Reece brought onto the field before the game.

A new crowd: After his first career interception, D.J. Hayden was a popular man in the locker room for media types. For his nearby teammates? Not so much. Not when the throng pushed into Brandian Ross’ space. “Breakfast on D.J.,” Ross said, several times, before getting frustrated and stalking off, saying, “Man, why you bringing this heat over here?”

Of handoffs and hamstrings: Rashad Jennings, who was lost to a hamstring strain a week after becoming the starting running back in the wake of Darren McFadden’s strained hammy, dressed slowly and walked out gingerly.

Stylin’ and profilin’: Sio Moore yelled out to the nattily attired Charles Woodson, commenting on his expensive threads. Woodson’s response? “When you have 13 [defensive TDs], this is how you dress.”

Locker Room Buzz: Denver Broncos

October, 6, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Observed in the locker room after the Denver Broncos 51-48 win against the Dallas Cowboys:

Don’t tell: Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said, in order to get everyone else on offense to sell it as a business-as-usual run play, he didn’t tell anyone, either in the huddle or on the sideline, that he planned to run the naked bootleg for a 1-yard touchdown just before halftime. He made the decision as soon the Dallas defender covering tight end Julius Thomas went in motion with the tight end. “If you do it every five years, it’s a good tendency-breaker,’’ Manning said.

Battered: The Broncos had a substantial injury report and will have plenty of players to be evaluated Monday. Defensive end Robert Ayers (left shoulder), linebacker Wesley Woodyard (neck) -- the Broncos said it was a shoulder injury during the game -- cornerback Chris Harris (concussion), and running back Ronnie Hillman (left ankle), all eventually did not return to the game. Hillman was walking with just a slight limp following the game and was set to return to Denver with his ankle taped.

Get used to it: Broncos safety Rahim Moore has been Manning’s teammate for less the two seasons, but says it would take a lot to surprise him about the future Hall of Famer. “He’s a special player, a special player who makes special plays … He’s done it over and over again.’’

Hit the road: There were plenty of Broncos, coaches included, who noticed just how many Broncos fans had wheeled and dealed themselves into the crowd of 92,758 for the game. Coach John Fox said; “It was surprising, I had our whole team convinced it was us against the whole stadium, and I wasn’t telling the truth.’’

Locker Room Buzz: Kansas City Chiefs

October, 6, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Observed in the locker room after the Kansas City Chiefs' 26-17 win over the Tennessee Titans:

One of the last unbeatens: At the time their game concluded, the Chiefs were one of just two 5-0 teams, the New Orleans Saints being the other. The day could end that way depending on how the Broncos fare against the Cowboys. That didn’t escape their attention. “I don’t want to stop,’’ running back Jamaal Charles said. “I want to keep going. I’ve never been 5-0 in my NFL career.’’

Succop’s big day: Ryan Succop made all four of his field goal attempts, including a 48-yarder on a wet field for the game’s final points. Succop is 9-of-9 this season inside of 50 yards and 1-of-3 beyond.

Injuries: Starting wide receiver Donnie Avery, who had two catches of more than 40 yards, had difficulty raising his arm afterward. He was injured late in the first half and returned for a handful of plays in the third quarter. X-rays were negative and the Chiefs called the injury a bruised shoulder.