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 Denver's View of AFC West

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PostSubject: Denver's View of AFC West   Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:29 pm

A preseason glance at the Broncos' AFC West brethren
Posted: 08/06/2012 01:00:00 AM MDT
Updated: 08/06/2012 10:09:23 AM MDT
By Jeff Legwold
The Denver Post

The Broncos are fully embroiled in training camp, with all things Dove Valley grabbing headlines. But their AFC brethren have rolled up their sleeves as well.

And after talking to scouts and personnel executives around the NFL, here is a quick look at how things are going elsewhere in the division:

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

The lowdown: This team continues to draw some national interest because of its potential. But its plans for better days also continue to ride on what kind of decisions are made in the offensive line.

The questions facing quarterback Matt Cassel as he enters his fourth season with the Chiefs only get bigger if the Chiefs can't find some depth in front of him. Personnel executives still believe they're thin at tackle behind quality starters Branden Albert and Eric Winston.

Winston could prove to be one of the best free-agency pick-ups in the league, especially given he has started 16 games in each of his last five seasons.

But there is also the matter of center, where Rodney Hudson started one game there as a rookie. Hudson is converted guard; he was a four-year starter at left guard at Florida State, with one career start at left tackle with the Seminoles.

However, he had been at least somewhat prepared for a do-it-all career, having practiced at center, guard and tackle in his career in Tallahassee. He's a technically sound player who was not penalized as a freshman and had just two penalties as a senior.

But that's a big jump from part time to full time at center, and the drop-off is dramatic on the depth chart. To that end, the Chiefs worked veteran guard Ryan Lilja at center for a smattering of snaps this past week. So as the preseason games approach, the Chiefs will have to look to firm up things behind Albert at left tackle and Hudson.

Good to know: While much of the outside optimism about the Chiefs has swirled around running back Jamaal Charles' return to the offense, to go with the Year 2 improvement of wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, Kansas City's defense is counting on continuity to lift the team back into the postseason chase.

Four players — Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Glenn Dorsey and Brandon Flowers — have started at least 59 games for the team, with Hali and Johnson having topped 90.

They need all that experience to work for them. The Chiefs surrendered at least 20 points in six of their nine losses last season and gave up at least 30 points in four losses. They were 2-6 in games when they allowed at least 20 points in 2011.

A good read: ESPN.com's Wright Thompson on Willie Roaf's road to the Hall of Fame.

OAKLAND RAIDERS

The lowdown: Former Broncos defensive coordinator and first-year Raiders head coach Dennis Allen continues to say wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is making progress toward consistency.

Many of the late Al Davis' last draft picks were questioned, but few picks in recent years took as much criticism as his ' selection of Heyward-Bey with the seventh pick of the 2009 draft.

Heyward-Bey's career, which consists of just one season with more than 26 receptions in his first three years to go with just six career touchdown receptions, has not yet measured up to the pick. He has yet to start 16 games in a season as well, having started 15 in both 2010 and 2011 to go with 11 starts in his rookie year.

His first two years in the league consisted of a growing collection of dropped passes, but he flashed far more reliable technique last season — he didn't let the ball get into his body so often. Allen needs Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford or somebody else to be a clear No. 1 option for quarterback Carson Palmer.

Davis dearly loved the downfield passing game, but the team hasn't had a 1,000-yard wideout since 2002 when Jerry Rice led the team with 1,211 yards.

Good to know: An awful lot of NFL people are interested to see how the Raiders conduct business over the long term in the post-Davis era. And while general manager Reggie McKenzie has tried to modernize and streamline several parts of the organization's football operations while remaining true to Davis' legacy, there are signs of some subtle changes overall too.

Example: public training camp practices. The Raiders held three practices at a Napa, Calif., middle school this past week.

It is believed the team had not had a public training camp workout, beyond some invited VIPs in attendance in more than 15 years.

A good read: The Oakland Tribune's Jerry McDonald on some of the changes by the team's new regime.

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

The lowdown: Of the NFL assistant coaches who were lucky enough to get promoted this past offseason, few have a bigger job in front of them than Fairview High School graduate John Pagano.

Pagano, who had been the Chargers' linebackers coach since 2005, has received his chance to make things right for the San Diego defense that has seen a downturn in the production of Pro Bowl players as well as third-down defense. A team that also finished among the league's top five in sacks three times since the start of the 2006 season — they led the league in 2006 with 61 — dropped to 23rd this past season.

But Pagano is just the kind of guy his peers like to see get this kind of shot — a longtime, productive assistant who's been around the game his entire life given his dad, Sam, was a longtime prep coach, including 26 years as Fairview's head coach, where he won two largest-class state championships.

In short, John Pagano has paid his dues.

Of course, Pagano's job didn't get any easier when the Broncos signed Peyton Manning at quarterback or that Carson Palmer has had a full offseason in the Raiders offense this time around or that Charles return to the backfield in Kansas City has folks there talking playoffs.

But Pagano, whose brother, Chuck Pagano, was hired as Colts head coach this offseason, has waited his turn, has made the most of his time - "I keep everything in notebooks I might use someday," is how he put it - and will get his first public showing Thursday when the Chargers face the Packers in their preseason opener.

Good to know: The Chargers signed Eddie Royal to a three-year, $13.5 million deal hoping he could at least soften the blow of Vincent Jackson's departure in free agency. But Royal, who former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan had always said could be a key part of an offense because of his ability to get off bump coverage as well as his impact in the return game, has had difficulty staying on the field.

Royal had hip surgery after the 2010 season and missed four games in 2001 - three with a groin injury, one with a concussion.

Royal has already missed time in Chargers camp because of a groin injury. which doesn't bode well for his production.

He has played in 16 games in a season just once in his career and his starts have declined each year, either by injury or rotation at the position, from 15 in his rookie year in 2008 to 12 in 2009 to 10 in 2010 to eight last season.

A good read: A look at where new Chargers running back Ronnie Brown believes he fits in the team's offense from the North County Times.

Read more: A preseason glance at the Broncos' AFC West brethren - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci...#ixzz22nGXnJQo

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PostSubject: Re: Denver's View of AFC West   Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:14 pm

Denver is in for a rude awakening. Thats all I know.

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PostSubject: Re: Denver's View of AFC West   Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:35 pm

Seemed like our only knocks were QB and OT depth.

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PostSubject: Re: Denver's View of AFC West   Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:35 pm

But in a more negative way.

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PostSubject: Re: Denver's View of AFC West   Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:44 pm

Touchdown Bowe wrote:
Denver is in for a rude awakening. Thats all I know.

Fuck Manning and Denver! I hope the Poe Monster, Hali, Houston, and Berry, eat his ass from the get go!
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PostSubject: Re: Denver's View of AFC West   Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:53 am

Mannings always been stacked with talent around his spoiled ass. He only has 2 decent recievers to work with in Denver. Tamba is going to destroy Ryan Clady and devour Manning.

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PostSubject: Re: Denver's View of AFC West   Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:44 am

Hali, Houston, Poe, and Bailey are going to destroy them.

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PostSubject: Re: Denver's View of AFC West   Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:24 pm

RustShack wrote:
Hali, Houston, Poe, and Bailey are going to destroy them.

Dont forget T. Jackson. look for 35-40 sacks and 120 -150 tackles out of the 1st ballot hall of famer.
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PostSubject: Re: Denver's View of AFC West   Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:25 pm

Well maybe not this year. sometimes it takes 10-12 years for Dlineman to adjust to the NFL game
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PostSubject: Re: Denver's View of AFC West   Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:44 pm

It sounds like our subpackage with Poe and Bailey on the line has been great for getting to the QB so far in camp. Both of them + Hali and Houston are really putting pressure on.

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PostSubject: Re: Denver's View of AFC West   Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:45 pm

I think Bailey becomes the man this year. makes it easier to admit one of their high picks just sucked after this year.
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PostSubject: Re: Denver's View of AFC West   Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:57 pm

Bailey isn't really a true 3-4 DE, like Gillberry.. hes more of a specialist.

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