Friday, May 10, 2013
Eight in the Box: Key offseasons
By Bill Williamson
» NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South
A look at a key player from each AFC West team who needs to show something in offseason sessions:
Denver Broncos: Rahim Moore, safety: Moore will be closely watched to see if he can bury the memory of his colossal gaffe against Baltimore in double overtime in the 2013 AFC playoffs. Moore inexplicably allowed Baltimore receiver Jacoby Jones get behind him as the Ravens tied the game on a 70-yard desperation bomb in the final seconds of regulation. The Broncos thought Moore, a second-round pick in 2011, made great strides in his second season. They still believe in him. The team has been supportive of him this offseason, and Moore is saying all the right things. Still, he has to show his teammates and coaches in practices that the mistake is truly behind him.
Kansas City Chiefs: Jon Baldwin, receiver: Baldwin simply needs to get better. He was a first-round pick in 2011. Baldwin is superbly athletic and he has big-play ability. Yet he has made little impact in the regular season. He was terrific in training camp last season. This year, he needs to show new coach Andy Reid that he can perform in his system and that he is ready to become a consistent player. If Baldwin can make an impact, it will give a huge boost to the Chiefs’ offense.
Oakland Raiders: Matt Flynn, quarterback: Flynn has a chance to make the Raiders his team. Flynn has started two games in the NFL, and he will be 28 next month. He was expected to be the starter in Seattle last year, but he lost the starting job to Russell Wilson in training camp. The Raiders have Terrelle Pryor and drafted Tyler Wilson in the fourth round. Flynn will be given every opportunity to keep the starting job, but he must gain the trust of his coaching staff and teammates. That means Flynn must practice well and take command of the offense as soon as possible.
San Diego Chiefs: Ryan Mathews, running back: Mathews is the starting tailback. But he has to gain the trust of the new coaching staff and the belief of his teammates, who have seen him deal with injuries since he was the No. 12 overall pick in the 2010 draft. Mathews is a talented player and he has had success, but injuries have slowed him. He needs to show this offseason that he is strong, confident and ready to stay healthy. If Mathews has another season filled with injuries, the Chargers will probably look for a new lead back next year.