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Sunday, July 24, 2011
AFC West mailbag

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Weekend mail call:

Dan from Virginia Beach, Va., wants to know why I chose San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers ahead of Oakland cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha for my AFC West olide, but goodie feature.

Bill Williamson: The post was designed to feature the best player, in my opinion, in the division who will be over the age of 30 at the start of the 2014 season. I wrote in the post that it was an easy decision and I stand by that. Rivers, 29, is the best player in the division and I think he will still dominate for the next five years. I like Asomugha lot as well. But he is the second best player in the division. Plus, there is a chance Asomugha could leave the division in the next few days, so those are other reasons why I went with Rivers.

Daniel from Nashville wants to know if Kansas City head coach Todd Haley will call the plays this season.

BW: Haley hasn’t announced anything, but the expectations are that he will play the calls or, at least, he’ll be very involved. Haley is downplaying the importance of one person calling the plays as the Chiefs transition away from the one-year Charlie Weis era. He called the plays as offensive coordinator. Offensive line coach Bill Muir has been promoted to offensive coordinator, but he doesn’t have much play-calling experience. So, while, Haley may lean on Muir and fellow assistants Jim Zorn and Maurice Carthon, I expect him to be heavily involved in the play calling this season.

Tommy Barker from Encinitas, Calif., wants to know if linebacker Donald Butler could make an impact in San Diego.

BW: The Chargers hope he can make it back from the Achilles injury he suffered early in training camp last year. He was a third-round pick last season. The Chargers like Butler and he has chance to be in the mix at inside linebacker at some point. But this will be his rookie season. So, the Chargers would like to see him stay healthy and make an impact on special teams right away.

Jason Lara from Pasadena wants to know if I think Al Davis’ decision to abstain from the NFL’s vote to ratify the new CBA was a strategy to sway players on his side.

BW: I think some players got a kick out of the fact that Davis didn’t vote. But the truth is, he has long abstained from league votes. It stems from his long battles with the league. Now, if Davis voted not to ratify and he was the only one to do it, it could have made more of a statement to the players. But he abstained to continue his statement to the NFL that he will not simply fall in line with what the league instructs. Al Davis was, is and will always be a maverick.