Tuesday, September 29, 2009
How I See It: AFC West Stock Watch
By Bill Williamson
» NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South
Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson
Larry Johnson, Chiefs running back: Johnson has not been effective this season. The new regime in Kansas City was hoping Johnson has some tread left on his tires. But Johnson, who turns 30 later this season, has not been able to make an impact.
He had 38 yards on 19 carries in a blowout loss at Philadelphia. If he continues not to have an impact, watch for Jamaal Charles to get more looks in Kansas City.
JaMarcus Russell, Raiders quarterback: Few players’ stock is dropping quicker than Russell these days. He has been horrific for Oakland this season. He is getting worse each week.
He hit a new low against the Broncos in Week 3 when he threw two first-quarter interceptions in Oakland territory and ended up with a rating of 22.6. Patience is wearing thin in Oakland over the painfully slow progression (or it is regression?) of the No. 1 overall pick in 2007.
Darren McFadden, Raiders running back: He is another Oakland skill position player who was a top pick and isn’t producing. McFadden still has a chance to be saved in Oakland, but it would be nice if he shows something soon.
He had 45 yards against Denver and he had three fumbles, one of which was recovered by Denver. McFadden shows flashes and he is explosive, but he rarely takes over games like he should.
Denver’s running game: The Broncos gained 215 yards on the ground in a 20-point win at Oakland on Sunday. Correll Buckhalter had 108 yards and rookie Knowshon Moreno added 90 yards.
Mike Shanahan may be gone, but the Broncos are still dominating on the ground. The success on the ground takes pressure off quarterback Kyle Orton and gives Denver a chance to control the clock and play off its suddenly dominant defense. You win on the ground in the NFL and that has been the Broncos’ recipe as they sit at 3-0.
Norv Turner, Chargers coach: Turner deserves his due. He led his club to a pivotal win over Miami. The Chargers have been decimated by injuries and if they had lost to the Dolphins, they’d be 1-2 heading into Pittsburgh in Week 4.
The first two years of the Turner era had been spoiled by slow starts. Turner is doing his best to avoid another disappointing start. He entered the Miami game 3-8 in his past 11 games against non-AFC West competition. Turner answered the bell with a solid win.
Brandon Marshall, Broncos wide receiver: After a combustible dispute with the Broncos that included a trade request and a team-sanctioned suspension, Marshall finally became part of the game plan in Denver in Week 3. He had five catches for 67 yards against the Raiders, including a touchdown catch. He even ran a reverse play.
Perhaps this is a sign of things to come for Marshall. He is a special talent and he is much more than a rotational player. It will only help Denver if Marshall stays a big part of the offense.