AFC West mailbag

Posted by ESPN.com's` Bill Williamson

Weekend mail call:

Big J from Sacramento by way of KC: Bill, love the chats, keep up the good work. With Culpepper now wanting to retunr to the nfl right after my Chiefs called, does this mean he wants to play but not for KC? Or does it mean maybe KC is still in the race at a later date? I'd love to see him as our qb for the next few years while we develop a youngin!
BW: Thanks for the kinds words, sir. I think Culpepper is considering Kansas City. I think he would consider the Chiefs if they offered a long-term deal, maybe for three years. He'd rather play for a winner but who wouldn't? I can see where Culpepper is intrigued by the opportunity to be the bridge between the present and the future for Kansas City,
Joey from Richmond ca: let me try this one more time.Since champ Bailey is out for a while.I was just woundering since he is 30 and hasn't played great the last couple of years.Is he done.ANd if so is he a hof.
BW: There is no way Champ Bailey is done. No way. He'll be back later this season and he'll be fine. He was having a very solid season at the time of his injury. As far as the hall of fame goes, Champ often says he believes he needs to win a Super Bowl ring before he gets in. But this is a guy who has been to eight straight Pro Bowls and he is considered the best at his position, which is a premier position. I say Champ plays another six-seven years and in 11 or 12 years, he gets a bust in Canton.
Nick from Denver: Bill, Throughout the season there has been a constant back-and-forth between Broncos and Chargers fans concerning Cutler v. Rivers. Last week showed that as each quarterback goes, so goes his team. Rivers committed a few turnovers that cost the Chargers, while Cutler's finger injury hindered his performance (albeit he also made some poor decisions). That said, I think the real discussion concerning these young guns should be based on their impact on their respective teams. Who do you think is more important? Cutler to the Broncos or Rivers to the Chargers?
BW: Great question, Nick. Great question. I think, at this point, Cutler is a tad more important to his team than Rivers. Really, that's no complimenet or knock on either player. I think the Chargers are a better overall team than Denver and the Broncos need Cutler to play better than the Chargers need Rivers to play. The Broncos really had no chance against New England after Cutler got banged up on the first play. Again, killer question.
Brad Cramer from El Dorado, KS: We all knew the Chiefs weren't going to be a good team this year with then totally overhauling the roster. But watching the Chiefs, it seems that the young players aren't showing much, if any, improvement. Opponents seem to be totally overwhelming the defense and the offense, which wasn't great to start the season, has totally regressed, although injuries have a lot to do with that. Is Herman Edwards on the hot seat? If so, how hot is that seat? Can we expect an overhaul of the coaching staff after the season?
BW: I think that seat could get scorching hot as the season progresses if the Chiefs show no improvement. I think ownership likes Edwards and they want to keep him. But the Chiefs have to start showing something. This team has been blasted by a total of 68-10 in its last two games. This team is taking steps back. If that continues, it will reflect poorly on the coaching staff.
Ryan from Coupeville: Bill, As a lifelong Broncos fan, I have to wonder if it is time to start looking foward to next season? With our only defensive threat out for a month or so, and or offense looking worse than Oakland or Kansas City. Is there any hope, and don't sugar coat it. It just seems like we are worse than last year, our defense has not improved if not gotten worse than last year. Our offense has gone from great to miserable, we have no running game, our special teams is about worst in the league (just like every year). And other than the first game of the year we really should be 1-6 this year. Our amazing streak of luck has seem to run out, and although I will never give up on my beloved Broncos, it's easier to let go a little in the middle of the season, than have my heart broken when we lose the last two games of the season to miss the playoffs again.
BW: Well, there's a lot to respond to there, Ryan. First, I think the offense is better than last year but the defense is just as susceptible to the big play as it was last year. But I think every team other than Kansas City has a chance to win the division because San Diego has been so inconsistent. Now, if the 3-4 Chargers can get on a roll, all bets are off. But until then, this division is wide open. Now, do I think the Broncos are in good shape? No, not at all. The loss of Champ Bailey is going to kill them. But if the Denver offense can stop making turnovers, then this team still has a chance. So long answer to a long question, Ryan, don't buy playoff tickets yet but don't give up, either.