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Wednesday, January 7, 2009
AFC West mailbag

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Seth from Houston, TX: Bill, With Sproles having the game he had against the Colts the popular perception is to get him resigned at all costs. I think this is a mistake. I believe Sproles is too small to carry the load for 16 games and would break down very quickly. I believe we need to pickup LT's replacement in this years draft and if we can keep Sproles as well, great, but not if it hurts the team to do it. What are your thoughts? I also believe LT will be back next year but he is going to need to split time so he can stay durable throughout the year.

BW: We very well may see how he can handle the load Sunday at Pittsburgh. There is a strong chance star San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson won't play Sunday. Sproles may have to carry the rock more than 20 times again. Let's see if he can handle the wear and tear of being a primary back for two straight weeks. Many people in the San Diego organization believe he has the strength to carry the ball 20-25 times a game. If Sproles isn't overly expensive, I think San Diego will try to re-sign him. He is invaluable as a return man and he has a role in this offense.


Mike from Rochester, NY: It always seems that the Chiefs are last in everything lately. With Carl Peterson out with two weeks left in the season, I would have thought a new GM would be in place by now. What gives?

BW: The Chiefs are taking their time. But they are in talks with New England's Scott Pioli. He is clearly their top choice.


Greg from Va: Will Rex Ryan get a chance to interview for broncos I think he would be a good fit for that nfl city would he have a real chance of getting that job or is broncos going for a offensive coach for head coach?

BW: He isn't on the initial seven-man list. Perhaps if Denver is still looking after the Ravens' season is over he'd get a look. Denver could surely use the defensive boost.


Kellen from San Diego: Bill - Obviously the last two games for the chargers have taken a lot of pressure off of Norv Turner. Do you think Turner has locked up his job for next year with the last two wins? Hypothetically, say the bolts lose in the divisional round to Tennessee/Pittsburgh - should he be considered a failure as a coach this season? As much as I have been disappointed with Norv, you can't exactly argue with how he has done in December the last two years. Lastly, who do you think SD matches up better with between Tenn/Pitt?

BW: I would certainly say Turner saved his job. Look, the Chargers being 4-8 in November doesn't matter. He has led a five-game winning streak and that's what matters most. Turner has to stay. He earned it in a tough spot.


Michael Harrison from Fort Collins: Bill, aside from all the Shanahan firing and coach/gm search, what are your thoughts on the Broncos search for a new kicker? Prater started out ok but became awful as the season went on. Do they sign a veteran, pick one in the late rounds, or sign a undrafted free agent?....Please don't tell me they're going to keep Prater as their place kicker!!!!!!

BW: If special teams coach Scott O'Brien isn't retained, and the odds are he won't be, Prater will likely face stiff competition. Prater was O'Brien's project. He struggled in the second half of the season and the new coaching staff will surely want to see other options.


Nate from Oakland: Whats the chance of Asmugha not being franchised by the raiders?

BW: I doubt it. The word is Oakland will likely franchise him one more time.