AFC West mail call

September, 24, 2008
9/24/08
12:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Mid-week mail call:

Billy from Corona, Ca: With denver coming out and putting up a lot of points and fast you would think it would make the oppositions offence more one dimensional trying to play catch up and much easier for our defence to make some big plays and force turnovers. Why is this not happening? Is it players or learning the new system or what?

BW: In a way, it is happening. Teams have to throw to catch up with Denver and they are throwing at ease. San Diego and New Orleans combined for 798 yards passing. The Broncos have to learn to stop the pass and perhaps their big leads will be safe.


St. Paul: Will Brandon Marshall be suspended again this season, with his latest assault charge last week?

BW: The league is looking at the situation and if he is convicted, he could be disciplined further. However, the case was part of Marshall's original suspension so there is a chance he will not get any more disciplinary action sanctioned against him.


Rob from St. Paul: In regards to Sean Payton complaining to the league office about the no call on the off-sides on the critical 3rd down play...Isn't there 2 or 3 plays that every coach in the league could complain about each week? It seems like sour grapes to me.

BW: Payton has a point. Jamie Winborn was offside on the play in question. Still, it had no impact on the outcome of the play, which Payton admitted. He is a coach frustrated with a loss and his reaction is understandable. Plus, the league needs to be made aware of officials' mistakes. But let's not compare this situation to the blown call the week before that went against San Diego. The impact was not even close.


Will from SD: Through three games, Rivers is top five in passing yards and leads the NFL with 9 touchdown passes, and only two interceptions and no fumbles. It seems clear that Rivers has progressed significantly, and while the Chargers have gotten off to a slow start, Rivers hasn't. Does Rivers have a shot at the MVP if he keeps these numbers up and leads the Chargers into the playoffs?

BW: Philip Rivers is a flat-out stallion. Yes, he will be in the MVP conversation if he keeps this up. His play has been effortless. Rivers will always be successful because he is so bright and he is such a leader. His teammates will play hard for him. But if he continues to make the strides in his overall game, the sky is the limit. He is really fun to watch.


Chris from Atlanta: Was it just me or did having McNiel (M&M) back at left tackle make a huge difference tonight? He appeared to lock down the left side which had not been the case the 1st 2 games.

BW: You are right. Marcus McNeill's presence really helped at left tackle. He is a Pro Bowl player who was missed. Once the Chargers get center Nick Hardwick back in a few weeks, this offensive line should be running at a high level.


Las Vegas: What do you think about trading for Chad Henne or for Colt Brennan to be a quarterback of the future for the Chiefs?

BW: The Chiefs' fishing expedition about Brady Quinn with Cleveland last week shows that this team believes it may have to look outside the organization for quarterback help. So any current, young backup could be a possibility for Kansas City.


Josh from KC: Do you believe you have the greatest job ever? I mean, you just travel around and go to NFL games and write them. It seems pretty awesome.

BW: Yes, Josh, it is pretty awesome. My fortune has not been lost on me. I am thankful to be able to do this job every day.


Michael Sitts from Syracuse, NY: Hi, Bill! Thanks for all the blog content. This is actually a serious question and not the plaintive quivering of a bewildered fan... Is there any mechanism by which the NFL can interfere with the management of a team (obviously, I'm referring to the Raiders here...)? From the jaw-dropping contracts in the off-season of bidding against oneself, to the yearly re-enactments of the most painful and embarrassing coaching searches in memory, the Oakland franchise is like a drunk staggering through a minefield. There is some precedent in professional sports, most notably the NBA stepping in to help sort out the Cleveland Cavaliers' mess under Ted Septien in the 80's. I very much doubt there is, but the disarray in Oakland is taking on historic implications. thanks! Michael

BW: It's a legitimate question, Michael. However, it will never happen. But remember, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell got involved in the Brett Favre mess this summer. Why couldn't he go into Oakland and step in there? It's sort of the same thing, isn't it?


Lawrence from San Jose: Hey Bill, should I be encouraged or discouraged by the Raiders effort on Sunday? for the first 3 1/2 quarters the defense and Janikowski were solid and the offense wasn't making mistakes. Yet, the offense wasn't able to punch it into the endzone in three redzone trips, and the defense gave up 17 fourth quarter points. Both Kiffin and Ryan appeared to be playing to not lose the game rather than win it. Your thoughts?

BW: Any time a big lead is blown in the fourth quarter, it is certainly a discouraging week. However, the Raiders played hard on the road for the second straight week despite all of the turmoil. That is encouraging. The Raiders aren't folding and that is impressive.

Thanks and keep them coming.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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