These are some of the whispers we've been hearing from around the AFC West:
• An observer in Oakland says RB Darren McFadden is running with a sense of purpose that he had not seen in the third-year back in prior seasons. McFadden is beating arm tackles that used to bring him down and is doing a better job of picking up yards after contact.
• After the deadline came and went on Sept. 22 for Chargers WR Vincent Jackson to be traded and have his suspension reduced from six games to four, Jackson's camp was placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of GM A.J. Smith. The Vikings reportedly had a one-year, $6 million deal in place with the wideout, but Smith's trade demands allegedly were too high to seal a deal. Agent Neil Schwartz said he also had worked out contracts with two other teams. Jackson could still be traded before the Oct. 19 league deadline, but now it's more likely that he will sit out the entire season.
• Following the Chiefs' 2-0 start, we hear that one of head coach Todd Haley's main concerns is his team staying as determined and focused as it was in the season's opening weeks. Haley said his players have worked very hard and had a sense of urgency during practices and team meetings thus far, an attitude that has noticeably carried over to game action. The coach hopes they don't get complacent and can sustain that attitude moving forward.
• News of WR Kenny McKinley's death broke as a group of Broncos players gathered in remembrance of another fallen teammate, Darrent Williams, at a Monday fundraising event hosted by CB Champ Bailey and former Broncos S John Lynch. Although the second-year player frequently missed camp time with injuries, the Denver players and coaches said they will always remember the receiver for his smile. McKinley's locker remains intact, for now, and was recently graced by a cross, formed by two pieces of white athletic tape. Above it reads a Bible quote left by McKinley, as well as pictures of the wide receiver with his son.