AFC West Notes: Broncos, Staff, Raiders

Entering the season on one of the hottest seats among the current crop of head coaches, Vic Fangio has overseen an up-and-down slate. After starting 3-0, the Broncos lost four straight. They have since rebounded with back-to-back wins, despite significant injury issues. This midseason stretch certainly has helped Fangio’s case for a fourth season in Denver, and Jeremy Fowler of notes that George Paton is fond of the John Elway-hired HC not necessarily looking to bring in his own leader. While the Broncos have endured several blowout losses during Fangio’s three-year tenure, it appears the defensive-minded leader has a decent chance of saving his job. Paton did say recently the team must play better offensively, potentially putting Pat Shurmur‘s job in question. The Broncos rank 18th offensively but averaged just 16 points per game during their four-game losing streak.

Here is more from Denver and the latest from around the AFC West:

  • The Rams came through with the best offer for Von Miller, but there was at least one more offer including a Day 2 pick. During the low-key Miller sweepstakes, the Rams believed another team offered the Broncos a Day 2 pick and was willing to absorb Miller’s salary, per Nick Kosmider and Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic (subscription required). This motivated the Rams to include a second Day 2 selection in their offer, and Paton essentially bought that pick by agreeing to pick up $9MM of Miller’s remaining salary. The Rams are only responsible for $700K of that total. The Cardinals and Cowboys were believed to be the other teams in on Miller.
  • In a turbulent stretch for the Raiders, more troubling signs were present ahead of Damon Arnette‘s exit. During the first-rounder’s rookie season, he crashed four rental cars within roughly a month-long span, Ian Rapoport of tweets. Arnette, whom the Raiders waived after he appeared in a video threatening someone with a gun, has seen a car accident result in a lawsuit. The Ohio State product is facing multiple lawsuits, one for a car accident that resulted in injuries. The Raiders moved on from both their 2020 first-round picks — Arnette and Henry Ruggs — in a week’s time.
  • Mike Shula will indeed call plays for the Broncos this week, the Broncos announced. Second-year offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur will not be with the team after testing positive for COVID-19. Shula last called plays when he served as the Panthers’ OC from 2013-17. He has spent the past four seasons working with Shurmur, holding the posts of Giants OC and Broncos QBs coach in that span.
  • Mark Davis said recently the Jon Gruden emails being leaked during the season created a major issue for the Raiders, who parted ways with the embattled head coach last month. Davis said the NFL may have known about these emails for months and that the Raiders being forced into an offseason coaching change would have obviously been easier, Tom Pelissero of tweets. Gruden has since sued the NFL and Roger Goodell.
  • Tight end Jace Sternberger worked out for the Broncos on Friday, Field Yates of tweets. A 2019 Packers third-round pick, Sternberger bounced from Green Bay to Seattle to Washington this year. He is now on the workout circuit, battling to stay on the NFL radar. The former Texas A&M standout has not played this season and has 12 career receptions.
  • Andy Reid made a pitch to Odell Beckham Jr., but the Chiefs could not convince the veteran wide receiver to sign on. Kansas City was one of at least seven teams to pursue Beckham, who signed with the Rams on Thursday.
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