Here are some whispers we've been hearing from around the AFC West:
• After sitting out the opening five games of the season and having issues in his first game back against the Rams, we're told Chargers OLT Marcus McNeill has been nearly flawless since then. He has resumed his role as a dominant blind-side protector for QB Philip Rivers, and that has allowed the signalcaller to stay very clean lately. Rivers has been sacked just four times in his last three outings, a far cry from how often he was getting knocked around early in the year.
• The absence of WR Dexter McCluster in recent weeks has robbed the Chiefs of one of their more dynamic weapons and forced them to alter their offensive game plan. With an ankle injury sidelining the rookie the past three games, Jamaal Charles has seen his role increase in the passing game, catching 14 passes for 188 yards and a TD in that span. Ultimately, K.C. would prefer to use McCluster in that spot to prevent Charles from additional wear and tear.
• Rookie Bruce Campbell pushed Cooper Carlisle for the Raiders' starting job at right guard before the season, but Carlisle held him off. We hear Oakland hasn't considered giving Campbell a chance in the regular season, even though Carlisle hasn't been great. The Raiders aren't convinced Campbell, a fourth-round pick, is ready for a larger role.
• While LB D.J. Williams' DUI arrest resulted in him being stripped of his title of captain of the defense, we hear not much else has changed. The on-the-field effects were very limited. Williams will continue to wear the communications helmet and relay plays to the Broncos "D." The players don't seem to be responding any differently to the seventh-year veteran, whose leadership skills had already been in question, according to a daily team observer. While his only punishment from the team was to miss the opening series of the Week 10 game against Kansas City, the organization expects him to eventually be suspended by the league, considering that it is his second offense.