AFC West: Chris Dielman

Posted by's Bill Williamson

We are continuing our periodic AFC West position rankings.

Today, it's the offensive line. This is a group of the best, in my opinion, in the division.

1. Ryan Clady, Denver, T: The second-year left tackle is a bright light. Denver may be in a time of transition, but it has a wonderful anchor in the near-flawless Clady.

2. Nick Hardwick, San Diego, C: Hardwick, in a lot of ways, makes the San Diego offense click. The offense suffered when was hurt. He is smart, tough player.

3. Ryan Harris, Denver, T: Harris is an underrated player. He wasn't as good as Clady in his first season starting at right tackle in 2008, but he was close. Harris and Clady are dream bookend tackles.

4. Casey Wiegmann, Denver, C: Wiegmann is talking about retirement if he doesn't get a new contract. It would be a shame, because he is still playing at a high level.

5. Kris Dielman, San Diego G: Dielman is playing at a Pro Bowl level. He is a big, nasty guard who teams well with Hardwick.

6. Marcus McNeill, San Diego, T: This is an important year for McNeill. He was dealing with injuries last season and he had a rough season. Still, McNeill is talented and is still considered a bright spot for the Chargers.

7. Branden Albert, Kansas City, T: Albert is a comerstone. He showed good signs as a rookie. If he can control his weight, he should be very good in 2009.

8. Brian Waters, Kansas City, G: Waters still has something left in the tank. Still, it doesn't appear he wants it to be in Kansas City.

9. Robert Gallery, Oakland, G: Gallery has been a fine guard for the Raiders after he was moved from tackle. Gallery is considered somewhat of a bust because he was the No. 2 overall draft pick five years ago, but he's an effective guard for Oakland.

10. Cooper Carlisle, Oakland, G: Carlisle is a terrific zone-blocking player and Oakland was thrilled to re-sign him this offseason.

11. Chris Kuper, Denver, G: Kuper is a good, young player. He is stout and fits Denver's system well.

12. Khalif Barnes, Oakland, T: Barnes was a disappointment in Jacksonville. But he has skills and he's fits the Raiders' system well. He has a chance to resurrect his career.

AFC West Pro Bowl primer

February, 3, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Practice for Sunday's Pro Bowl in Honolulu begins Tuesday. Here is a look at the AFC West players in the game and what to expect.


Jay Cutler, quarterback

What to expect: Cutler will likely get into the game after starter Peyton Manning early in the second quarter or so. Cutler should play at least a quarter. The Pro Bowl is all about throwing offenses so Cutler will get a chance to air it out in his first Pro Bowl.

Brandon Marshall, wide receiver

What to expect: Marshall, playing in his first Pro Bowl, is a starting receiver for the AFC. Marshall told reporters last week that he had a special touchdown celebration planned. Without giving details Marshall said it was going to be special if he reaches the end zone. Again, with the passing fancy that all Pro Bowls adopt, Marshall will get his chances to reach the end zone.

Casey Wiegmann, center

What to expect: Wiegmann, an injury replacement, will be the backup center. But he will play some and will likely work with Cutler some since the two are so comfortable together.

Kansas City

Tony Gonzalez, tight end

What to expect: A Pro Bowl staple, Gonzalez will be another receiver for the throwing guns. Gonzalez is starting and had one for his best seasons in 2008. Expect Gonzalez to get his share of catches.

Brian Waters, guard

What to expect: Waters is a reserve and he should get his share of action.


Nnamdi Asomugha, cornerback

What to expect: Asomugha, who is starting in the game, rarely was attacked during the regular season. Asomugha will get his action Sunday. The NFC quarterbacks and receivers will go after everyone. That's just the way it is in the Pro Bowl. It will be fun to see what happens.

Shane Lechler, punter

What to expect: Lechler is a Pro Bowl staple himself. However, this may be his final performance as a member of the Raiders. He is a free agent. If the team puts the franchise tag on Asomugha again, as expected, Lechler will likely play elsewhere in 2009.

San Diego

Chris Dielman, guard

What to expect: Dielman, the only Charger in the game, is a starting guard and will play extensively.

Note: Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (knee) and tight end Antonio Gates (ankle) withdrew from the game because of injuries.

Raiders-Chargers halftime notes

December, 4, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Here is a halftime update on the action in San Diego where the Chargers lead the Raiders, 27-7:

What are the odds of the Broncos sitting in Denver watching game and wondering how they were beaten by three touchdowns at home by Oakland just 11 days ago?

The Raiders are having their worst performance of the season, perhaps worse than opening day against Denver or a few weeks ago against Atlanta. This team looks terrible -- just terrible.
Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell was taken to the locker room on a cart before the half. That is never a good sign. Tight end Zach Miller, tackle Robert Gallery and defensive tackle Tommy Kelly were also banged up.

The Chargers are taking their frustrations out on Oakland. San Diego, which is playing its best game in a bad season, tried to score a touchdown in the final second of the first half and settled for a field goal.

The only offense Oakland has is coming from the return game. Justin Miller took a kickoff back for a score. Johnnie Lee Higgins had punt returns for touchdowns in back-to-back games recently.

Vincent Jackson did the impossible in the first quarter. The San Diego receiver smoked Oakland star cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha badly on a deep ball. Teams rarely go after Asomugha, but Philip Rivers did and it paid off. Asomugha was beat so bad he had to interfere with Jackson, who still caught the ball. Jackson is continuing his trend of having big performances in prime-time games.

The Raiders have not scored a touchdown in the first quarter all season.

The Raiders also continue to struggle with discipline issues. Two personal fouls hurt the team in the first quarter.

The Chargers' offensive line looks much better than it did Sunday against Atlanta. Guard Kris Dielman is back and is playing well. He didn't play against the Falcons because he had the flu.

San Diego safety Eric Weddle is having a nice game. He is always around the ball.

Wonder if the Raiders are looking any better in 3-D? Probably not.