Around the AFC West: Cutler is healthy

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson


My Take: Denver dodged a bullet when Cutler's finger hit the helmet of a New England player on the first play of the Patriots' runaway win. Sure, Cutler's injury contributed to the loss. But it could have been much worse. Many quarterbacks have lost major playing time to a cracked finger courtesy of a helmet. Denver is already teetering -- it can't afford to lose Cutler for even a game. His health is paramount.

Kansas City

  • Tamba Hali is back at left defensive end.

My take: Hali is a good player and the Chiefs need to play him where he feels comfortable. But Hali isn't a sack machine and it's clear the Chiefs need a better pass rush presence; they have an NFL-low four sacks. Yes, the Chiefs miss Jared Allen.


My take: Again, this is just the beginning. This process is going to be long and juicy. Expect to hear more fireworks before the dispute is settled.

  • DeAngelo Hall will face his old team this weekend.

My take: Hall isn't an elite player, but he believes he is one. Expect him to play that way against Atlanta. Hall loves being in the spotlight and this will be a perfect time for him to shine.

San Diego

My take: Bingo. When the Chargers fired defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell and replaced him with inside linebackers coach Ron Rivera on Tuesday, I made the point that it was up to the San Diego defensive players to make the ultimate change. This unit is too talented to continue to disappointment. It is good to know the Chargers' players realize that.

Meanwhile, I wanted to give update on a couple of Denver housekeeping issues.

One, the team is expected to promote Darrell Hackney from the practice squad before Sunday's game. As of now, Denver has no backup quarterback on the 53-man roster. Backup Patrick Ramsey was put on the injured reserve last week. Hackney has been told he will be promoted and there is no way Denver will go into the game against Miami with no backup behind Cutler. Expect Denver to make a move to accommodate Hackney in the coming days.

Also, it was interesting that Denver added to the roster Monday and not last week when the team was on the bye. It was a smart move. The team was dismissed last Wednesday for the weekend and not adding to the roster was a money-saving decision.