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Wednesday, September 22, 2010
AFC West mailbag

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Mid-week mail call:

Bryce from Tucson, Ariz., wants to know if I think the AFC West is underrated.

Bill Williamson: Interesting question, Bryce. It’s awfully early. But after two weeks, I’d say there is a chance this division could be better than expected. There are only two divisions in the NFL where every team is at least 1-1: the AFC South and the AFC West. So, it’s been a nice start. Considering this division plays the weak NFC West, the victories could add up.

Mark from Reading, Pa., wants to know if I think the Raiders will go after Michael Vick next year.

BW: We have a long way to go. First, let’s see what happens this season between Bruce Gradkowski and Jason Campbell. There is sure to be plenty of drama in Oakland this year without us worrying about next year. But if neither Gradkowski nor Campbell appears like the long-term answer after the season, Oakland will be on the hunt for a quarterback again.

Tony from San Jose wants to know what I think of Oakland rookie offensive lineman Jared Veldheer.

BW: He is definitely an interesting player and has been put on the fast track. The 6-foot-8 Veldheer was forced on the field at center in the season opener before giving way to original starter Samson Satele. Veldheer was made the starter despite the fact that he came from a Division II school and had limited experience at center. It was clear Oakland just wanted to get him on the field. That became clear again in Week 2 when he rotated with Mario Henderson at left tackle. Oakland is doing some unusual things to get Veldheer playing time. It may be a bit strange now, but it should pay off down the road because this is a talented player who is getting valuable experience.