AFC West: Drew Carter
Mid-week mail call:
David from San Diego wants to know what position Denver second-year player Spencer Larsen will play in 2009.
BW: In an interview with the Broncos' website on Tuesday, Larsen said he is preparing to play both fullback and linebacker this season as he did last season. He played both offense and defense last season. He started a game in Atlanta in November on both sides of the ball. Larsen is a tough player, who can make plays on both sides of the ball. I could see the new Denver coaching staff deciding to put Larsen exclusively at either fullback or at linebacker at some point. But until then, Larsen will be put in a position to help the team on both sides of the ball.
James from Upper Marlboro, MD wants to know if who'll be the Chiefs' top receivers this season.
BW: A lot will be expected from Dwayne Bowe, of course. After that, the Chiefs will be looking or players to emerge. The team hopes free-agent signee Bobby Engram can stay healthy and make an impact. He is a good fit for Todd Haley's offense, so he will be given a chance. Holdover Mark Bradley, who played well after signing with the team during last season, could also be a possibility. I wouldn't be surprised if the Chiefs continue to look for receiving help as the season approaches.
Greg wants to know the status of Drew Carter in Oakland.
BW: Carter is a free agent. The Raiders had high hopes for Carter but his history of knee injuries resurfaces last summer and he was lost for the year. Carter tailed off in training camp after starting off hot. He was considered a perfect fit for Oakland because of his great speed. Now, though, he remains unsigned. I'd think if Oakland wanted him back, it would have signed him already. Perhaps if Carter can show he is healthy down the road, Oakland could revisit the idea.
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
With the NFL trading deadline six days away, let's have some fun. Let's look at what position each team in the AFC West could use.
NFL trade deadline deals are not plentiful, so don't expect much. I'm not going to mention specific players' just positions. Feel free to comment and let us know your desires.
Denver: Defensive end
Why? The Broncos can make a long playoff run if they get their defense together. Other than on opening day at Oakland and Sunday against Tampa Bay, Denver has had trouble on defense, giving up big yardage on both the ground and in the air. It seems Denver's greatest need area is on the defensive line. The team could use another pass rusher. The Broncos pressured the quarterback well against the Buccaneers as they registered three of their nine sacks on the season. Still, Denver could use a consistent pass rusher.
Kansas City: Quarterback
Why? Unless Brodie Croyle can show he can stay healthy and be the Chiefs' quarterback of the future, the Chiefs are going to be searching for a quarterback in the offseason. They made an inquiring call about Cleveland's Brady Quinn earlier this season. It's going to be one of the first positions the Chiefs try to upgrade in the offseason. If they fall in love with a young backup on another roster, perhaps they should try to secure him now.
Oakland: Wide receiver
Why? The Raiders are one of the thinnest teams in the NFL at this position. Javon Walker hasn't gotten it together, Drew Carter is out for the year and Ronald Curry is not a No. 1 receiver. There may be some big-name receivers available, but should the Raiders, who are 1-3, wait until the draft and take a young receiver to pair with the last two first-round picks (JaMarcus Russell and Darren McFadden) or should they take a chance now? Now or later, this is a need position.
San Diego: Linebacker
Why? The Chargers need a pass rusher. They miss Shawne Merriman, who is out for the season with a knee injury. San Diego's defense expects a lot of pressure from the linebackers. Shaun Phillips and Jyles Tucker are doing a good job, but the Chargers need more. They are giving up too many yards in the air. Another pass rusher at linebacker wouldn't hurt.
Posted by ESPN.com' s Bill Williamson
The Oakland Raiders need to find another veteran receiver. It is as simple as that.
We've been monitoring the team's unsettled position at receiver all summer but Oakland's need for a receiver hit a zenith Saturday night when free agent pickup Drew Carter suffered a season-ending knee injury. Carter, signed from Carolina in the offseason, was battling with Ronald Curry to be Oakland's No. 2 receiver. The Raiders are now desperately thin at the position.
A few days ago we discussed the question of whether Oakland should pursue a trade with Arizona for unhappy receiver Anquan Boldin, With Carter out, the Raiders could use Boldin even more. But it's a very complicated matter. Arizona doesn't want to deal Boldin right now and it could cost Oakland a ton. So, a Boldin trade although it makes senses for Oakland, is still unlikely.
But the Raiders need to get someone. Ralph Vitolo, the agent for Joe Horn, said he expects to talk to the Raiders about Horn, who was cut by Atlanta last week upon his request. Vitolo said he could see Horn signing somewhere this week.
Here is a list of some of the other receivers currently available: Eric Parker (who is still recovering from a toe injury), Eric Moulds, Terry Glenn (who could be headed to Miami), Koren Robinson, Keenan McCardell and Eddie Kennison. Oakland will also likely scour the waiver wire next weekend when teams have to cut down the 53-man roster in an attempt to improve the receiving crew.
Javon Walker's up-and-down early career in Oakland could be on the slight upswing after he performed well against Arizona. Walker had four catches for 60 yards. Raiders coach Lane Kiffin said Walker played with confidence Saturday night, something Kiffin said Walker hasn't always done this summer. Kiffin said prior to the game that it was a big game for Walker.
After his solid performance, he is likely entrenched as Oakland's No. 1 receiver. Of course, the Raiders really don't have another choice at this point.
The Raiders are also down about the season-ending injury suffered by fullback Oren O'Neal. He is a rugged, good blocker and was a big part of the Raiders' outstanding run attack last season. Oakland still has Justin Griffith at fullback, but O'Neal's loss will be felt.
RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- There are some interesting notes in Jerry McDonald's Raiders' blog in the Contra Costa Times. It looks like the Raiders have hit the dog days of camp as every team does.
Rookie tailback Darren McFadden had his worst day of camp. Receiver Drew Carter has lost his early camp groove. High-priced No. 1 receiver Javon Walker is working twice a day, but he's still not in the form Oakland wants and expects him to be.
These are not killer issues for the Raiders but they are things to keep an eye on, especially with Carter and Walker. The receiver-hungry Raiders need these two players to come through. Don't be alarmed about McFadden. Every rookie has a bad day once in a while.
NOTE: On my way to a Brodie Croyle presser. Be back later.
It really should not be a surprise that Javon Walker nearly retired.
The guy has dealt with turmoil in the past year and a half. It cannot be easy for him. Add the pressure and angst of a trick knee, and the toll had to be heavy on Walker.
I covered Walker for the past two years and I know that he is immensely proud when it comes to his abilities as an NFL wide receiver. He believes in himself. So it must have been hard for him to struggle in training camp for a week.
Perhaps Al Davis' encouragement and belief in Walker was enough to talk him back into playing will help Walker along.
However, realistically, the Raiders may need to make contingency plans if Walker is unable to find his form of 2004 with Green Bay and 2006 with Denver. The Raiders believe Ronald Curry is in the best shape of his career and are pleased with free-agent addition Drew Carter. Still, there are a few veterans on the market and if Walker can't turn the corner, Oakland may have to explore those possibilities.