Following are the whispers we've been hearing from around the AFC West:
• Broncos LB Robert Ayers, who broke his foot in a Week Five loss to the Ravens, may not be out as long as previously expected. According to a source close to the team, the organization expects its 2009 first-round draft pick back much sooner than the reported 2-3 months. While Denver erred on the side of caution when LB Elvis Dumervil (pectoral) was set to miss an extended period of time, we hear the Broncos never considered placing Ayers on injured reserve and hope to have him back within the next few weeks.
• Although the Chargers say that there is no drop-off from SS Steve Gregory, who was handed a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances, to replacement Paul Oliver, we're told that Oliver is not as good in deep coverage as the man he's subbing for. Eligible to play in Week Nine, Gregory is expected to regain his starting job upon his return.
• Raiders head coach Tom Cable admitted to being frustrated with how long it's taking WR Chaz Schilens, who hasn't played yet this season, to recover from knee and foot injuries, but it's clear that the team values him. Oakland has held on to the third-year receiver even though he's missed 15 of the past 23 games because of injuries.
• Always looking to tinker with their roster to make improvements, the Chiefs signed veteran LB Mark Simoneau on Oct. 27. Although the 33-year-old has missed the last two seasons due to injury, he has kept in shape and is reportedly now healthy. He also has experience with some of the coaches on Kansas City's staff. While K.C. appears set at inside linebacker, Simoneau has stood out on special teams in the past and is expected to contribute in that area.