AFC West: 2012 NFL preseason Week 2

A look at the Chargers’ 28-20 home victory over Dallas on Saturday night:

First, some bad, bad news:

Second-year receiver Vincent Brown suffered a broken left ankle. U-T San Diego reports that he will have surgery and will miss at least eight weeks. I wouldn’t be surprised if the injury takes even more time to heal. What a shame.

Brown looked great this summer and was going to be the Chargers’ No. 3 receiver. This injury means Eddie Royal, who has been hurt during camp, must step up to help this receiving crew.

OK, I know you will ask: Does Brown's injury mean the Chargers could be in on Plaxico Burress or Chad Johnson? Well, it would be unlike San Diego general manager A.J. Smith to add either player, but there is a hole at the position.

This is truly a bad loss for San Diego, which is without starting running back Ryan Mathews for a month or so after he suffered a shoulder injury last week. The Chargers have been ravaged by injuries the past three years and the 2012 season hasn’t started any differently.

The Chargers worked on building depth this offseason; it is paying off in the preseason. The Chargers’ backups led a comeback Saturday night and have looked good in both preseason games.

That is all well and fine, but San Diego’s first-team offense was sloppy again. All 15 of Philip Rivers’ passes were caught Saturday night. But two of them were caught by Cowboys.

Rivers has thrown three interceptions in two preseason games. He was picked off 20 times last season. Rivers has looked really good in the preseason, but interceptions just can’t happen -- he must improve in this area.

Rookie defenders Melvin Ingram and Kendall Reyes continued to make an impact. These guys are going to be fun to watch.

Backup cornerback Shareece Wright had an interception with a long return. He has looked good this summer.
A look at Denver's 30-10 home loss against Seattle on Saturday night:

For Peyton Manning, statistics really don’t matter this summer.

It’s all about getting ready for the regular season and shaking off the rust.

Sure, the quarterback threw two interceptions Saturday against the Seahawks. He has three interceptions in about three quarters this summer.

I’m sure Manning will take throwing three interceptions in a game that doesn't matter after enduring multiple neck surgeries last year.

As a whole, Manning looked sharp and showed good arm strength as he played the entire first half and completed 16 of 23 passes for 177 yards. He even took his first hit since his injury. He quickly got up.

Manning will likely play well into the third quarter next week against San Francisco in what should be his final preseason tune-up. Again, Manning is making great progress as he continues to pass tests on his way back from his devastating injury.

Through the first half Saturday, the Broncos defense had held opponents to 2 of 19 on third-down conversations. That’s a trend you want to see.

Defensive lineman Derek Wolfe, a second-round draft pick, had another strong performance.

Running back Lance Ball continued to make a push for a roster spot.

Rookie Brock Osweiler replaced Manning. His first two series were three-and-outs, but it is a sign that Denver could be looking to Osweiler over Caleb Hanie as Manning's backup.

Safety David Bruton was a beast on special teams, which will help make a roster claim.

Observation deck: Chiefs-Rams

August, 18, 2012
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A look at the Chiefs’ 31-17 loss at St. Louis on Saturday night:

This performance wasn’t as smooth as the preseason opener for the Chiefs.

The biggest issue was that the first-team defense allowed two touchdowns in the first quarter.

Offensively, starting quarterback Matt Cassel put together his second strong preseason performance, completing 13 of 18 passes for 142 yards.

Here’s the deal, folks: Preseason games don’t matter much, but Cassel is looking good and that’s paramount for the Chiefs. Cassel engineered his second long scoring drive of the preseason. A good Cassel in the regular season will mean a good season for the Chiefs.

The Kansas City Star reported that starting safety Kendrick Lewis had his arm in the sling and suffered a shoulder injury on the same arm that shelved him for a time last season. Lewis is an up-and-comer. It would hurt if he misses time.

Kansas City had four turnovers in the game, including three lost fumbles.

Brady Quinn was more effective than Ricky Stanzi, who replaced Cassel. Quinn likely took another step toward securing the backup job.
Here are three things to watch for in the San Diego Chargers' preseason game against visiting Dallas on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET:

1. More accuracy for Philip Rivers: It wasn’t the end of the world that Philip Rivers threw a red zone interception last week against Green Bay. Rivers looked good prior to the pick. But he threw 20 interceptions last season, so it is an area he needs to work on.

2. Third-down defense: San Diego’s defense was terrific last week. But the first unit did allow Green Bay to convert on third down on its first two attempts. It needs to continue to work in that area. The Chargers were last in the NFL on third-down defense last season.

3. Running back health: Starter Ryan Mathews went down with a broken clavicle and he will miss three to five more weeks. The Chargers can’t afford to lose any more tailbacks in the preseason.
A look at the Raiders’ 31-27 loss at Arizona:

Oakland’s first-team defense continues to look to be ahead of the offense. That may not necessarily be a bad thing. The defensive side of the ball is the unit that needs to improve the most. Oakland has too much talent on offense to stall in the regular season. If the defense can made strides, it will signal overall progress as a team.

Quarterback Carson Palmer was shaky. He overthrew another pass that was intercepted. He did it in the first preseason game and he threw 16 picks last season. He needs to work on it.

Backup running back Mike Goodson had a rough night. He had five yards on six carries and he fumbled twice. The book on Goodson, acquired in a trade from Carolina earlier this year, was he fumbled too much. Goodson’s fumbling issues and the Raiders’ troubles in short-yardage situations in the preseason may make the Raiders re-think their need for more help at the position.

Goodson suffered a shoulder injury on a night the Raiders were banged up a bit.

Third receiver Jacoby Ford sprained his foot and was on crutches. Backup quarterback Matt Leinart has a finger injury on his non-throwing hand and Darrius Heyward-Bey has a sprained shoulder. Oakland coach Dennis Allen said he will know more about the injuries Saturday.

Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly looks great this preseason. He is all over the field and he nailed Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb for a safety. Also, Kelly made news when, after the game, he said Kolb was “scared” and “skittish.” Scouts have been saying that for a while and now Kelly has publicly made the claim.

Oakland was penalized just four times. This team appears to be making major strides in that area. Kudos to all involved. Oakland set an NFL record for penalties and penalty yardage last season. Allen seems to be improving the defense and making the team more disciplined. That has to be an encouraging sign.

The Raiders showed solid pass-rushing skills. They finished with four sacks.

Undrafted rookie Rod Streater had seven catches. He has 13 catches in two games. He’s a keeper.

Cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke had another poor showing in the preseason. He was great in camp, bad in games. Fellow second-year cornerback Chimdi Chekwa is playing better and he could be the young cornerback vying for a starting job.

I wouldn’t worry too much about the blocked punt Arizona had for a touchdown. Marquette King is not Shane Lechler. Things will change in the regular season.

Third-string quarterback Terrelle Pryor threw just three passes. We likely won’t see much of him until the final preseason game Aug. 30. Then he’ll likely be put in mothballs for the regular season, as far as game action goes.
The following are three things to watch for in the Denver Broncos’ preseason game against visiting Seattle on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET:

1. Continued success for Manning: Quarterback Peyton Manning looked good against Chicago last week. He threw with good accuracy and had a good pace to the offense. It will be interesting to see him work on passes to his right. It looked as if he has more success throwing to his left side and the middle of the field than the right side. Denver's preseason is all about Manning's recovery from a neck injury that cost him all of last season.

2. Continued excellence on defense: The Seahawks’ first-team offense will be on the field more than Chicago’s last week. Denver’s defense dominated the Bears throughout the game. Let’s see if it can continue to dominate.

3. Better connection between Demaryius Thomas and Manning: Thomas failed to catch a touchdown pass from Manning last week. Manning’s relationship with his receivers is a work in progress and these two need to continue to work on their timing.

Three things: Chiefs vs. Rams

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The following are three things to watch during Kansas City's game at St. Louis on Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET.

1. Brian Daboll’s momentum: It was a great start for the new offensive coordinator of the Chiefs. Kansas City’s first-team offense scored touchdowns on both of its series in the preseason opener against Arizona last week. The unit was clicking on all cylinders, and players gave much credit to Daboll. Let’s see it continue.

2. Jon Baldwin: The promising receiver didn’t have any catches last week. It’s not a big deal. Baldwin has been a training camp star, but it would be nice to see him make an impact in a preseason game.

3. Dontari Poe: The rookie received some praise from coach Romeo Crennel. Poe, the No. 11 overall pick, is going to be a work in progress, and needs to make some noise in the preseason.

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