AFC West mailbag

Midweek mail call:

Jeremy Climer from Louisville wants to know if I think Philip Rivers will have a reputation for not winning when it counts a la Peyton Manning earlier in his career if he doesn’t lead the Chargers to a Super Bowl.

Bill Williamson: Sure, I think every quarterback is judged on his ability to win a Super Bowl. A Super Bowl ring separates the great quarterbacks from the good quarterbacks. Rivers, in his fifth season as a starter, has had a great career, but he won’t be given full credit until he can win a Super Bowl.

Jerry from Houston wants to know what I think about Alphonso Smith's production in Detroit.

BW: It’s pretty wild and it has to be maddening to Denver. Smith has three interceptions for the Lions, including one he returned for a touchdown against the Rams on Sunday. Denver gave up on Smith and shipped him to Detroit on cut day for backup tight end Dan Gronkowski. In 2009, Denver traded its No. 1 pick in 2010 (which turned out to be the No. 14 pick) to take Smith at No. 37. He was replaced in Denver several times and the Broncos would have cut him had he not been traded. He showed nothing in Denver. Obviously, the Broncos have to be frustrated.

Mike from San Francisco wants to know what I think of Mike Mitchell's play in Oakland’s win over San Diego.

BW: The backup safety played well in the wild Oakland win. He was lauded by Oakland coach Tom Cable. Mitchell seemed very active and was solid in coverage, which is something he has had problems with. The surprise second-round pick in 2009 has a ways to go, but he looks to be making some strides for the Raiders.