“AFC-West-So It Begins”
It starts on the field today in Indianapolis, the NFL combine, and the challenge ahead, what do each of these teams do to improve or change from what they were before?
CHARGES….An awful lot of false information out there about how good the Chargers were last year. Yes they won 9-of-12 at the end of the season, but truth be told, most of that was against a very easy schedule. They were just (2-5) vs playoff teams.
Philip Rivers had a strong season. The offensive front pass blocked better than most expected. Melvin Gordon didn’t dominate but did well, run and catch. Keenan Allen had superb bounce back season. The defense got collectively better and better as the season went on, but then again, it was against the 3rd easiest schedule in the league.
They draft 17-48-75 in the first three rounds. The needs are a young nose tackle, a more physical inside linebacker, possibly a safety, and the ever present question, is there a quarterback they can draft to develop, a future Rivers?
There is not a history of of big free agent movement but they did get quality in Russell Okung and Tre Boston, and they do have some cap space. GM Tom Telesco and President of Football Operations are just (36-44) since they started calling the shots on player decisions.
Rivers is still looking for help. He, his team, have just 1-playoff win in 10-years.
BRONCOS….John Elway will have to work some magic to fix all that ails this team. Four quarterbacks on the roster, none of whom ready to win, in fact Elway may be the best quarterbacking the building. A bad offensive line, a lackluster run game, and not as good a pass game as you would expect.
They wasted a strong year on defense and have age and injury issues to deal with there.
The Broncos have cap space, and the 5th pick in the draft. Things would change quickly if they wind up with Redskins free agent QB-Kirk Cousins. They could use the 5th pick for a linesman, for a big time running back, or even trade down.
What they do with Cousins impacts everything else.
RAIDERS….Bring on the Jon Gruden era, take two, after a year of underachievement.
Which was the real offensive line, the one so dominant in 2016, or so horrid in 2017? They were terrible on defense most of the year, force feeding a lot of kids.. It took them half a year to find a run game. Now they are changing leadership and philosophy, and definitely culture.
Gruden says he is going to coach Derek Carr ‘hard’, so he can become a star and not the next Jeff George. They need to get more out of Marshawn Lynch, get more receivers, and get more productivity on defense.
They could be active in free agency, to plug in the right veterans to a very young roster.
This will be a fascinating off season.
CHIEFS….A truly wasted season, and now you almost get the sense they have decided to rebuild. They think life after Alex Smith, dealt to Washington, will be okay. There’s a lot of faith and a lot of pressure on the shoulders of the young QB-Pat Mahomes.
They have purged the defense, dealing the volatile Marcus Peters, releasing Derrick Johnson, Ron Parker and more.
The needs are at wide receiver, more help in the offensive front, and probably more pass rush help.
Andy Reid has done wonders i KC, but has not taken them deep into postseason, and now they have ripped up the blueprint and appear to be starting over.
They don’t have a first round pick either, so this process may be longer than they expect.
The AFC-West is up for grabs.