Wednesday, December 15, 2010
How I See It: AFC West Stock Watch
By Bill Williamson
Brodie Croyle, who had not played since December of 2009, completed 7 of 13 passes for 40 yards in Sunday's start.
1. Brodie Croyle’s future: Croyle had a chance to make himself some money on Sunday at San Diego. He failed to take advantage of it. The prospective free agent was awful as a replacement for Matt Cassel in a 31-0 loss to the Chargers. Croyle -- now 0-10 as an NFL starter -- completed 7 of 17 passes for 40 yards. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Croyle did not complete any of his eight pass attempts that traveled 10 or more yards. That type of performance will not attract interest from other teams in the offseason. It also has to make you wonder if the Chiefs will be interested in bringing him back.
2. Eric Studesville’s future in Denver: Studesville probably had to be perfect as Denver’s interim coach to have any chance of keeping the job next season. The Broncos’ 43-13 loss to the lowly Cardinals on Sunday will not help Studesville’s cause to keep the job beyond the next three weeks.
3. Oakland’s ability to finish: The Raiders have to be kicking themselves after a 38-31 loss at Jacksonville. Oakland led 17-7 at halftime and watched the Jaguars score 31 points in the second half, including 21 points in the third quarter. It resulted in a loss that severely damaged Oakland’s playoff hopes.
1. San Diego’s run defense: Now, that’s the way to fix a problem. In Week 13, San Diego’s top-ranked run defense was throttled by Oakland. The Raiders had 251 yards rushing in a 15-point San Diego loss. A week later, the Chargers held the Chiefs to 48 yards rushing and 67 yards of total offense in a shutout win. The Chiefs have the No. 1-ranked run offense in the NFL, but it was neutralized against the recharged San Diego defense.
2. Ryan Mathews, Chargers running back: After not playing for a month because of a nagging ankle injury, the No. 12 overall pick in the April draft performed well against the Chiefs. Mathews had 65 yards and starter Mike Tolbert had 66. Mathews ran hard and showed his great strength on a touchdown run in which he kept himself from falling to the turf. Mathews has a lot of skills and, after a tough stretch, has proven he can help San Diego balance its offense.
3. Jason Campbell, Raiders quarterback: Campbell made some critical mistakes in judgment at the end of the game, but overall, he had his best performance as a Raider in the loss to Jacksonville. This is a critical stretch for Campbell. If he can finish strong, Oakland probably will be comfortable enough with his play to keep him as its starter next season. If he falters, the Raiders will at the very least bring in some competition. Campbell seems to have benefited by not having to look over his shoulder for Bruce Gradkowski now that the backup is on injured reserve. If Campbell plays like he did against the Jaguars in the next few weeks, he probably will secure his immediate future with the Raiders.