Around the AFC West
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
I just arrived in San Diego for Sunday's game between the Chargers and the Chiefs. I wanted to catch up what's going on around the AFC West:
- Tommie Smith and John Carlos salute Brandon Marshall.
My take: Imagine the attention this would have gotten had Marshall actually shown his prop after his game-winning touchdown in the final minute at Cleveland on Thursday. Marshall pulled what appeared to be a glove out of his pants after scoring. Denver receiver Brandon Stokley ran over and persuaded Marshall not to show it.
The Broncos might have been flagged for a potentially killer 15-yard penalty had Marshall shown the glove. Marshall said it was a black and white glove to show racial unity in light of the election of Barack Obama as president. Some have called this a controversy, but Marshall never showed the glove and was never penalized. And what's so controversial about racial unity?
The biggest issue here is that Marshall was on a football field representing his team. Personal messages can't come in front of the team, especially with the game in the balance. There is a time and place for everything. Marshall appeared to have terrific intentions but Stokley saved him from hurting the team.
- Najeh Davenport was cut by the Steelers.
My take: Denver has to consider signing him. The Broncos have lost three tailbacks in four games, most recently rookie Ryan Torain. They were down to rookie fullback Peyton Hillis. Davenport wouldn't be a cure-all, but he's an experienced veteran and at this point that qualifies as a solid running back option for Denver.
- Tony Gonzalez could be a problem for the Chargers on Sunday:
My take: He needs to be for the Chiefs to pull off this upset. Gonzalez has been terrific in the past few weeks. He has developed a nice chemistry with young Chiefs quarterback Tyler Thigpen. Gonzalez is a leader of this team. He is the team's best chance to win.
- The Raiders have the highest payroll in the NFL this season at $152.4 million.
My take: It's a further illustration of how bad this situation is. The Raiders are trying, and they still can't get it right. That's the thing here -- Al Davis tried. He spent the money to end a five-season malaise. He just picked the wrong guys.
- Jyles Tucker is healthy and is ready to provide a pass rush.
My take: The Chargers need him as the Ron Rivera era begins. San Diego hasn't had a sack in nine quarters. Tucker, the replacement for the injured Shawne Merriman, had three sacks in September before getting injured and missing three games. Rivera, who replaces Ted Cottrell, vows to be more aggressive. It starts with Tucker on Sunday against the Chiefs.