Continuing on this long journey through the divisions lands us in the AFC West. Contrary to what Sportscenter continually shows, there are actually 4 teams in this division, and no, one of them is not the Tim Tebow’s.
Kansas City Chiefs–This team had all sorts of potential after winning the division last year, but they experienced injuries to Eric Berry and Jamaal Charles early on, and that was all she wrote for them. Todd Haley was fired during the season and Romeo Crennel was hired as his replacement. After seeing what Crennel did (or didn’t do) in Cleveland, I do not have high expectations for this team, at least he has more talent to work with this time around. I would expect the offense to stay completely the same, and just pray that they stay healthy. They have talent at every position, and have a young offensive line (with the exception of Casey Weigmann) that should be able to protect Matt Cassel and open holes for Charles. The major issues for this time lies in their run defense, which was 26th in the NFL (espn.com stats). Since Crennel is a defensive minded head coach, look for him to address their defensive needs. Once again as a team that runs the 3-4 defense, they need a space eating nose tackle. Without a big nose tackle in the middle they will continue to get run over. To further shore up the middle of the defense, they need to acquire a second middle linebacker that will help take some of the pressure off Derrick Johnson. Finally, they should look to replace John McGraw, who is good but not great, and his contract is up at the end of the season. Getting another young safety to play along side Eric Berry, Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr means this already dominant pass defense will cause more problems for opponents in the future.
San Diego Chargers–How Norv Turner didn’t get fired this offseason is beyond me, this is a team that has been on the cusp of getting to a Super Bowl for a while now and just cannot get it done. This team’s offense was not the problem, and I would not expect them to address anything on that side of the ball except for maybe drafting a tight end, so if Antonio Gates gets hurt again, they will have a better option than Randy McMichael to replace him. Once they get Gates and Vincent Jackson back under contract, they will be done addressing the offense. They need major help in the secondary. Eric Weddle and Quintin Jammer are solid, but they have next to no support. They need to add a strong safety and another corner if they want to have any success stopping the pass. Furthermore, they are in dire need of another linebacker. Depending on what options are available to them, they could draft either an outside or a middle linebacker. In my opinion, they will just take the best available linebacker, and find a place for him in their 3-4 defense.
Oakland Raiders–They’re a joke of a franchise and there is no other way to put it. They obviously hate draft picks since they only have a 5th and a 6th rounder in this year’s draft, and they need to pray for some compensatory selections (Draft picks). I would fully expect their offense to stay completely the same, and this is mostly because their lack of ability to change it. Carson Palmer is going to be their quarterback next year by default, just because they gave up a lot to get him. I think they need to invest in another offensive guard since Cooper Carlisle is 34 years old, but it will depend on how the draft shakes out and what free agents are available. They will look to address defensive end, and defensive tackle, because outside of Richard Seymour, their defensive line is pathetic. They also need a true number one corner for the secondary. They gave Stanford Routt major money for no apparent reason, and just as inexplicably, let Nnamdi Asomugha walk. With a true number one corner, and some new defensive linemen, they can fix a defense that ranked 27th against the run and pass this past year (espn.com stats).
The Tim Tebows Denver Broncos–I am not a Tebow fan, whatsoever. It has nothing to do with him personally, quite frankly, its ESPN’s fault for having things like “Sportscenter Tebow” which is a whole day dedicated to a quarterback with a 46.5 completion percentage. It’s okay though, “he wins.” I respect the fact that he wins, but give me a break. It would honestly be like ESPN having a whole day dedicated to the loser of the BCS National Championship game. Anyways, moving on, John Elway says that Tim Tebow will be their starter next year, so you can forget about the Broncos taking a quarterback (San Fran Gate). And AWESOME news for all Broncos fans, next year you play the AFC North, the NFC South, the Houston Texans and the New England Patriots (Schedule). That’s seven playoff teams for you keeping score at home and a revitalized Panthers franchise, it’s okay though, Tim Tebow is apparently Jesus. Good luck with this situation though, I predict 9 losses minimum. For needs, I think the Broncos should get another running back to pair with Willis McGahee. McGahee had one of his best years in recent memory, but there are still durability issues, and it is starting to become clear that Knowshon Moreno does not have the capability to stay healthy in the NFL. The Broncos defense was their strength this year, and I think that since Elway is refusing to address their 31st ranked passing offense by drafting a quarterback, that they will strengthen their defense (espn.com stats). Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman are 33 years old, so they absolutely must address cornerback at some point during the draft. They will not be able to play forever, and need to get some fresh blood into the locker room. I also think that they could use another middle linebacker, which would give them a great young core on defense.