How I See It: AFC West Stock Watch

September, 15, 2010
9/15/10
12:00
PM ET
NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

FALLING

Oakland’s offensive line: We didn’t have very high expectations for this unit going into the season. Expectations have dropped dramatically after Week 1. The line was atrocious in a 38-13 loss at Tennessee. The unit gave new Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell very little time and Campbell was sacked four times. He lost a fumble on one of the sacks. From the second quarter on, all Campbell was doing was checking down and finding receivers for very short pass plays. Oakland could never get the deep passing game going. The Raiders will continue to struggle on offense until the offensive line improves its protection.

San Diego’s offense: The Chargers’ offense was expected to be much more in sync than it was in it 14-point performance. Many of San Diego’s problems were caused by terrible weather, but that is no excuse. A lot of people will pin this poor effort on the holdouts, receiver Vincent Jackson and left tackle Marcus McNeill. There are numbers to support that Rivers missed Jackson. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Rivers completed five of 15 pass attempts for just 60 yards in three-receiver sets. Jackson's absence did affect San Diego when the primary target, tight end Antonio Gates, was being double-teamed. It’s something San Diego must adjust to playing with because Jackson isn’t coming back any time soon.

Denver’s pass defense: The Broncos were third in the NFL against the pass last year. However, they allowed Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard to throw three touchdowns in a 24-17 Jaguars’ win on Sunday. Overall, the pass unit wasn’t bad against Jacksonville. But the three touchdown passes were a killer. With a date with Peyton Manning and Indianapolis looming in Week 3, Denver has to fix this issue.

RISING

The Kansas City Chiefs: Yep, the whole dang team is rising. You have to give Kansas City credit. After winning a combined 10 games in the past three seasons, Kansas City looked revived in a 21-14 win over four-time defending AFC West champion San Diego.

The Chiefs played hard on both sides of the ball, made big plays and were much improved on defense. This is suddenly a team to watch.

[+] EnlargeDarren McFadden
Greg McWilliams/Icon SMIOn Sunday against the Titans, running back Darren McFadden was the weapon the Raiders were hoping for when they drafted him in 2008.
Darren McFadden, Oakland running back: He was one of the few bright spots for Oakland in its blowout loss at Tennessee. McFadden ran hard and looked like the player Oakland drafted him to be with the No. 4 overall pick in 2008. McFadden consistently broke tackles and showed great burst. He had 95 yards rushing and 55 yards receiving. He showed he can be a weapon for Oakland.

Glenn Dorsey, defensive lineman, Kansas City: Dorsey was taken one pick after McFadden in 2008. Like McFadden, Dorsey was mostly disappointing in his first two NFL seasons. However, like McFadden, Dorsey was terrific in Week 1. It was his best NFL game. In the summer, Dorsey said he was finally comfortable playing in a 3-4 defense after adjusting last season. Dorsey sure looked comfortable Monday night. He was all over the field. Dorsey had six tackles and one-half of a sack. He also put heat on quarterback Philip Rivers on San Diego's final play of the game, a poor pass from Rivers on fourth-and-goal from the 6 with 39 seconds to go.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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