Topics this week include what could've been with Drew Brees and the Chargers, the London coaching curse, Terrelle Pryor's emergence in Cleveland, and more.
Could Broncos use Siemian as trade bait?
Denver is playing like a world champion in large part because quarterback Trevor Siemian is playing like Peyton Manning.
Just compare Siemian's first three games this season to Manning's first three games last season.
Through three games in 2016, Siemian has thrown for five touchdowns, three interceptions and 756 yards.
Through three games last season, Manning threw for five touchdowns, three interceptions and 755 yards.
The big statistical difference between Siemian and Manning is a mere one passing yard.
As if that weren't enough, Siemian also has leapfrogged former Broncos and current Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler, whom he played and studied behind last season.
But Siemian also is having other unintended beneficial consequences for Denver. The better he plays, the longer he allows the Broncos to sit rookie first-round pick Paxton Lynch. Denver already thought Lynch was good enough to start this season, sooner rather than later, but there is no need now for the Broncos to rush him along, not when Siemian is playing at a Manning-like level.
Plus, if Siemian continues to make plays and impress the league -- and the next chance comes Sunday in Tampa against the Buccaneers -- it's fair to wonder if he could become trade bait, with another team in need of a starter making an attractive-enough offer to pry him loose from Denver. As it stands now, the Broncos have a starting quarterback who has impressed them, a quarterback waiting in the wings to impress them, and the answers on how to best go about replacing one of the greatest players in NFL history.
-- Adam Schefter
What if Drew Brees had re-signed with Chargers?
Former San Diego Chargers great RB LaDainian Tomlinson is fond of both of his ex-quarterbacks, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers, but he can't shake one belief.
"If Drew had been our quarterback [in 2006], we would have won the Super Bowl," said Tomlinson, a lock for the Hall of Fame "There were a lot of circumstances that were in play -- obviously, Drew's injury right at the end of the  season and the front office wasn't willing to make the [financial] commitment to keep him."
To be fair, there were questions about Brees' future after a devastating shoulder injury in the final game of the 2005 season. General manager A.J. Smith said the team wanted to re-sign Brees, a pending free agent, but conveyed that "business is business." Brees signed with the Saints that offseason and hasn't missed a start because of the injury since.
Tomlinson said his thoughts will resurface this week when Brees and the Saints travel Sunday to San Diego to play Rivers and the Chargers.
Tomlinson's conviction is not shaken even when it's pointed out he was the league's MVP as the Chargers had their best season (14-2) in 2006 during Rivers' first year as a starter. They lost a dramatic 27-24 AFC divisional home playoff game to the Patriots.
"Philip hadn't played enough [just 64 snaps while Brees was the starter] to get it done at that time," Tomlinson said.
Rivers arrived in 2004 because the Chargers finished with the NFL's worst record (4-12) during the '03 season when Brees had overtaken Doug Flutie as the starter. Tomlinson remembers a discussion that coach Marty Schottenheimer had with team leaders about the franchise's inclination to use the draft's No. 1 pick on another quarterback: Eli Manning, Philip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger.
"I remember Marty talked to the core team leaders about who we might want as a quarterback because the front office wasn't convinced at that time Drew was a franchise guy," Tomlinson said. "I wanted to stick with Drew and build a better team around us. If they were going to draft a QB, I remember I wanted Ben. And when Philip ended being the guy, I saw why they liked him. ... But Drew was just coming into his own and he had very unique leadership abilities that we all saw on that team."
Tomlinson became more firm in those beliefs during that 2004 offseason after Rivers had a prolonged contract negotiation that cost him a good portion of his rookie training camp and preseason and relegated him to backup duty for two years behind Brees.
"Drew was never going to relinquish that job -- it became his team," said Tomlinson, an NFL Network analyst. "I mean, they both may end up in the Hall of Fame but at that time, I'll say it again: If Drew had been our quarterback, we would have won the Super Bowl [in 2006]. A lot of guys on the team felt that way about Drew. It was so unfortunate."
For the record, the Colts won the Super Bowl in the 2006 season with Peyton Manning. The Steelers won the Super Bowl in the 2005 season with Roethlisberger, who soon won a second ring. Eli Manning won the first of two Super Bowls in the 2007 season with the Giants. Brees won a Super Bowl with the Saints.
The gifted, competitive Rivers has been shut out, perhaps victim of another circumstance in which Schottenheimer was fired after the 14-2 season that also haunts Tomlinson.
"We lost our discipline when Marty left," Tomlinson said. "That didn't help anyone, including Philip."
-- Chris Mortensen
Watch out Gus Bradley, there's history to losing in London
For almost anyone who has done it before, a trip to London is a great adventure. For NFL coaches, it has been an ominous sign.
Of the 14 previous NFL games played in London dating back to 2007, two head coaches have been fired right after their teams lost in London, and eight in total have been fired in the same season their teams played there.
A loss in London usually has meant a looooong flight home, and a quick departure once on the ground.
Two seasons ago, the Raiders fired coach Dennis Allen after the team returned from London.
Last season, the Dolphins fired coach Joe Philbin after the team returned from London, and the Lions did the same later in the season with general manager Martin Mayhew and team president Tom Lewand.
And now, the NFL is headed back to London this week, with the 0-3 Jacksonville Jaguars and coach Gus Bradley hosting the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday morning.
Bradley is one of the league's nicest and most respected men. But his team is winless and struggling. The Jaguars are good enough to turn it around, and Bradley is a good enough coach to right this team. But should Jacksonville lose Sunday and fall to 0-4, Bradley could be in as much trouble as Philbin was last year and Allen the year before.
Nobody wants Bradley to lose his job. But for now, he must go to London, which has been a bad omen for the head coaches who have gone before him.
-- Adam Schefter
Pryor's Bolt-like athleticism on full display
Cleveland Browns receiver Terrelle Pryor was the last draft pick made under the regime of the late, great Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis. Even though Pryor was a quarterback, Davis coveted speed and athleticism. In fact, if Olympic gold medalist sprinter Usain Bolt was ever truly tempted to play football, few would doubt that Davis would have provided an opportunity.
Ironically, Pryor's name was privately mentioned in the same sentence with Bolt by then-Raiders legendary strength and conditioning coach Al Miller back in 2013 after Pryor had a 93-yard touchdown run against the Steelers, the longest scoring run ever by an NFL quarterback.
"He had a lot of physical and running attributes similar to Usain Bolt when I watched him," said Miller, who is now enjoying retirement. "Obviously, I'm not saying he would beat Usain Bolt in a race but Pryor's gait and his stride length was unbelievable. He had another gear past that 30- or 40-yard mark. He was strong and rhythmical. He was pliable and had no joint or mobility issues. Fabulous athlete. I'm not surprised what he's doing. If he's embraced [receiver], then he's capable of some pretty remarkable things."
The Raiders used a future 2012 third-round pick in the 2011 supplemental draft on Pryor after the Ohio State quarterback was ruled ineligible for the 2011 college football season. Davis passed away less than two months later on Oct. 8.
As a quarterback, Pryor had accuracy issues, but he flashed his athleticism with the Raiders. He finally focused on his conversion to receiver for the Browns and he caught eight passes for 144 yards this past Sunday against the Dolphins. But with Cleveland's quarterback issues, Browns coach Hue Jackson also gave him some snaps at quarterback. Pryor passed for 35 yards and rushed for 25 yards while spelling rookie QB Cody Kessler.
-- Chris Mortensen
Cowboys' Gregory continues to rehab
Suspended Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory is out of rehab in Massachusetts, but he's still receiving and will continue to receive regular treatment in Dallas, according to a league source, so his rehab is not over.
But those who know Gregory insist he has been clean for more than four months and is doing as well as he has in recent memory. He has changed his attitude and priorities, added weight, worked out regularly and impressed the people around him, who believe he has turned a corner in his personal life.
They acknowledge that there still is work to do, and it always will be a battle, but with Gregory continuing to address his personal demons with the help he needs, they believe he can be a significant factor for the Cowboys once he is allowed to return to football.
-- Adam Schefter
Emptying out the notebook
The Packers can get used to being home; their next road game is not until Oct. 30 at Atlanta. So after being home Sunday for the Week 3 win against Detroit and having the bye this week, they get the Giants at home on Sunday night, the Cowboys in Green Bay the week after, and the Bears the week after. Mark down a full month of being at home for the Packers.
Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron scheduled a visit with Dr. Micky Collins at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, a leading facility for the diagnosis, evaluation and management of brain trauma. Cameron left Sunday's game against the Browns with his fourth known concussion.
Interesting side note to recent Hall of Fame nominee Clark Shaughnessy: His grandson is Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann. There aren't too many men who have been nominated or selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame who have a relative in the Grateful Dead.
Phil Simms, former Giants QB and Super Bowl MVP, said Broncos QB Trevor Siemian caught his eye just watching practice last season before he was doing a CBS broadcast. Simms: "I said, 'Wow, does he throw it with ease and accuracy, almost a perfect spiral every time.' He's not overpowering but he has plenty of arm. He throws it with anticipation into tight windows. When I heard he would be allowed to compete for the starter's job this offseason, I gave him every bit of a 50-50 chance to win that job."
These are the kind of things that can make a coach feel old: Back in 1993, when Bill Belichick coached the Cleveland Browns, John Derby was one of his linebackers in training camp. John Derby is the father of A.J. Derby, now a tight end for Belichick and the Patriots.
-- Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen