How I See It: AFC West Stock Watch

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Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson



1. JaMarcus Russell’s job security: Well, the Raiders finally did it. But apparently not for the long term. Still, once a team pulls the plug on a quarterback, it makes it that much easier the next time.

That’s where Russell stands after he was yanked in the second quarter of the Raiders’ 38-0 loss to the visiting Jets on Sunday. He was pulled after committing three turnovers. The Raiders let it be known they are tiring of Russell’s lack of improvement and even though he’ll start Sunday at San Diego, he could be pulled again at any time.


2. Matt Cassel’s accuracy: Cassel's streak of 153 pass attempts without throwing an interception ended Sunday. Cassel threw three interceptions in a span of eight passes.

He will need to work on that issue during the Chiefs’ bye week. However, it very easily could have been an instance where Cassel got temporarily frustrated. Several San Diego defenders I spoke to after the game said he just seemed to get flustered. I don’t think Cassel suddenly became a turnover machine.

3. Oakland’s run defense: While Russell was riding the pine, the Oakland defense was proving he is not the only issue on the team.

The Jets compiled 316 yards on the ground. That is ridiculous. No team is going to win allowing that much yardage on the ground. The Jets just played keep away as they held the ball for nearly 36 minutes.


1. San Diego’s offensive balance: The Chargers weren’t just a pass-only offense Sunday in a 37-7 win at Kansas City. The Chargers had 135 yards on the ground.

That is a good sign. San Diego entered the game tied for the worst run offense in the NFL. If this balance can continue, the Chargers could be in good shape.

2. San Diego’s pass rush: The Chargers had four sacks Sunday after struggling to put up a solid pass rush nearly all season. The Chargers ignited their pass rush by using their safety on blitzes throughout the game. It was the type of aggressive move that could spark this aspect of the game for the Chargers.

3. Denver’s standing as an unbeaten: As the 6-0 Broncos enjoyed their bye Sunday, they saw Minnesota lose at Pittsburgh. Denver is now one of three unbeaten teams, along with New Orleans and Indianapolis. The Broncos, who play at Baltimore on Sunday, remain the story of the NFL as they head to November with a shocking perfect record.