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Wednesday, October 22, 2008
AFC West mail call

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

James from Atlanta: Hey Bill, I appreciate all your hard work and miss your coverage for the Denver Post. Anyway, now that Mike Nolan is available, any chance that Shanahan fires Slowik and takes a chance on Nolan. Our defense can't get any worse than it already is.

BW: Thanks for the kind words, James. You know this question was asked when the Raiders fired Lane Kiffin a few weeks ago. Fans wanted to know if Kiffin could end up in Denver, helping the offense. Nolan would make sense because he is a defensive mind, a good one at that, and the Broncos could use some help in that department. I know Shanahan and Nolan are friendly and have a good past together. I'm not sure if it is feasible. But I have to tell you, James, it makes sense to me. Maybe this happens next season if Slowik's defense doesn't succeed.


Cameron from San Francisco: Hey Bill, just watching the first half of Monday night here, and its painful to watch the Bronco's safety's miss tackles in the first half. Especially with John Lynch not only available but sitting in a Denver suburb? How come the Broncos haven't brought him back with all the problems they are having on D? Tackling, and giving opposing teams something to think about over the middle, not to mention veteran leadership on a fairly young D?

BW: There would have to be some repaired relationships first. Lynch and the Broncos didn't part on horrible terms, but there were some ruffled feathers and Lynch asked to go elsewhere during training camp. So, at this point, it would be a mild surprise if he returned.


Honolulu: Bill, having seen the Chargers in person and observed them play what would you say is the real reason the team is underachieving? My speculation is with all the star power on the team role players are few & far between, Norv Turner is the classic "nice guy" coach who doesn't have the respect and control of the team. Also, either Tomlinson is genuinely hurt or his odometer has too many miles on it as he is already 29. I appreciate your blog and hope you can give some insight into what's "wrong" with SD. Thanks and aloha. Dave Mustaine

BW: I'm baffled on this one. Maybe the Chargers just aren't that good but I still find that hard to believe because their roster is so stacked. But they have problems on both sides of the ball. If the Chargers don't turn it around, Turner may have some major explaining to do. Thanks for the kind words.


Dustin from Kansas City: Hey Bill, this doesn't involve and team in particular, but I was wondering: I've noticed the NFL fining a lot of players this year, mostly for hard hits and such [like Hines Ward]. Where does that money go? What does the NFL do with fine money? Charity? Advertising? Do you happen to know? Thanks!

BW: Dustin, it all goes to charity. So it is for a good cause.


Steven C. from Boston: Hi Bill, how come all of a sudden the raiders were so motivated on sunday against the jets, do you think Cable is making that big of a difference?

BW: Cable didn't make a difference in New Orleans. I just think it is so week to week in this league.


Lawrence from San Jose: Bill, why has Michael Bush fallen so out of favor in Oakland? I thought the Raiders were going to use a three headed monster in the run game. However, it's been a lot of Justin Fargas with a little McFadden sprinkled in once or twice a quarter. Fargas just carried the ball 28 times in the win over the Jets and I don't understand why Fargas would get that many carries with Bush and McFadden on the team. Also, the report that the Raiders almost traded Bush to the Chargers is confusing to me as well. What's up with Bush?

BW: Something is up with Bush. He didn't play against the Jets and it wasn't like Fargas and McFadden were tearing the Jets apart. Bush has either fallen out of favor or the Raiders' coaching staff hasn't figured out a way to use all three running backs. But I'm with you, Lawrence, the Raiders need to find a way to use Bush.


John from STL: Hi Bill, Just finishing up listening to the Chiefs' debacle against the Titans (mercifully I live in St. Louis and don't have to... er... can't watch the Chiefs this year on TV). I know the team is rebuilding and understand the need for youth. But Chiefs fans (as are the few veterans on the team) are being asked to grin and bear an awful lot. My question, are the extremely poor performances so far this year really a result of just a super young roster? Or does coaching and schemes have to account for some of this mess?

BW: The most alarming thing going on in Kansas City is that the Chiefs have not been competitive. They are taking a step backward and this team just can't stay in games and that is starting to make observers question the coaching staff, which is too bad because there are some good coaches there. But this team must play better in the second half of the season or there may be many changes.


Gabe from Las Vegas: Coming into this season I was surely convinced that Michael Huff would live up to his hype as being the 7th overall pick. I haven't got to see many of the Raiders games and would like to know what went wrong with Huff switching from strong to free.

BW: Huff did play a lot Sunday against the Jets even though he is no longer starting. The problem is, he has just not been a very good NFL player. It happens all the time. Huff just hasn't been able to translate his game to the NFL.