AFC West: Carolian Panthers

Shane Lechler to visit Houston

March, 20, 2013
3/20/13
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Oakland punter Shane Lechler is one of the better remaining AFC West free agents.

His market is about to get going. The Houston Chronicle is reporting that Lechler, one of the greatest punters of all time, will visit the Houston Texans on Thursday. Lechler is from Texas and played at Texas A&M. Prior to the start of free agency, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Lechler wants to sign with the Texans.

The Raiders have many needs and limited resources, so if Lechler is offered a strong deal he may join the litany of Oakland free agents who have left the team this year.

Lechler is 36 and, by his standards, is coming off a subpar year.

If Lechler leaves, the Raiders would likely give Marquette King the first opportunity to take over. He was stashed on injured reserve last year. King has a strong leg, but he needs to show consistency if Lechler does leave.

UPDATE: The Charlotte Observer reports the Carolina Panthers signed Oakland free agent Mike Mitchell. He was a surprise second-round pick in 2009. Mitchell was more of a special teams player in Oakland and never developed as a safety.

 

AFC West stats to know

November, 8, 2012
11/08/12
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Let’s look at key Week 10 statistics for each AFC West team courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information:

Denver

Denver quarterback Peyton Manning has won 146 games as a starting quarterback. Dan Marino is third on the all-time list at 147. Manning’s boss, John Elway, is second at 148. Brett Favre is way down the line at 186. Manning plays against Carolina and quarterback Cam Newton on Sunday. Manning was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1998. Newton was the top pick in 2011. Via the Elias Sports Bureau, Manning is 27-9 against fellow top pick quarterbacks. It’s the best record in the NFL.

Kansas City

Running back Jamaal Charles is struggling in recent weeks. He has just 83 yards on 29 carries in the past three games for a 2.9 yard average. In the first five games, Charles -- who missed most of last season with a torn ACL in his knee -- had 551 yards on 104 rushes. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry.

Oakland

The Raiders have allowed 12 rushing touchdowns of at least 40 yards since the start of the 2010 season. They allowed three last week to Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin. The next worst three teams on the list in that category since the start of the 2010 season have surrendered 12 combined. Up next for Oakland: Baltimore tailback Ray Rice.

San Diego

Philip Rivers misses Vincent Jackson. He will see him in Tampa Bay on Sunday, but it won’t do Rivers any good. Jackson became a Buccaneer this season. Check out the difference in Rivers’ downfield throws with and without Jackson:

Moving on: Denver Broncos

November, 5, 2012
11/05/12
11:00
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Here are some areas the Denver Broncos need to focus on after a 31-23 win at the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday:

Recap: The Broncos improved to 5-3 and stayed in first place by themselves with the road win. Denver saw a 17-3 lead early in the third quarter become a 20-17 deficit early in the fourth quarter. Denver came roaring back with two fourth quarter scores to seal the win.

Biggest area to fix: Running game. Denver had just 68 yards on 26 carries. Peyton Manning is tremendous, but he needs help. Denver can’t afford to be one dimensional on offense.

Biggest area to build on: Manning was perfect on his underneath throws, according to ESPNs Stat & Information. He completed all 18 attempts thrown within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Only Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (Week 4 of this season) was perfect on underneath passes with at least 18 attempts in the past five seasons.

What to watch for: Denver coach John Fox brings his team to Carolina, where he was the head coach for nine seasons. Carolina fired him after the 2010 season and he was hired by the Broncos shortly later.

Broncos see orange in their future

February, 5, 2011
2/05/11
12:45
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Early Saturday AFC West notes:

Josh McDaniels may get his wish. He just won’t be in Denver to see it.

Last season, before he was fired, McDaniels said he would like to make the Broncos’ orange jerseys their primary home jerseys. He has company. The Denver Post is reporting that the Broncos will ask the league to change their primary home jersey from dark blue to orange beginning in 2012. Currently, orange is Denver’s secondary home jersey.

Steve Reed of the Gaston Gazette reports that the Panthers have not decided to place the franchise tag on running back DeAngelo Williams and they could place it on another player. If Williams hits the market, Denver could be interested. Former Panthers coach John Fox is now the coach in Denver. Fox is a believer in running the ball first and he and Williams have a good relationship.

San Diego owner Dean Spanos reiterated his desire to keep the team in San Diego.

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