AFC West: Javon Walker.

As expected, Oakland No. 1 receiver Chaz Schilens underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. The Raiders put no timetable on his recovery, but similar surgeries often take 3-4 weeks to recover, so Schilens may have a hard time getting ready for the Sept. 12 season opener at Tennessee. Schilens has been dealing with a foot injury for more than a year.

In the same article, it was reported that center Samson Satele may be out for some time with an ankle problem and rookie Alex Daniels was moved back to the defensive line after spending some time at fullback.
  • You know it’s bad when Javon Walker takes a crack at you. While meeting with media members in Minnesota, the new Viking was the latest to take a jab at former Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell. “Like I said, it all boils down to being in the right situation and the right quarterback,” Walker said. “Last year, I was in Oakland. Everybody knows that situation.” Granted, Russell was horrible. But Walker was no better. He had had 15 catches, all in 2008, in two seasons in Oakland.

Early AFC West news and notes

August, 23, 2010
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The San Diego Chargers have signed guard Lee Grimes. He is an undrafted rookie from Texas A&M. He was recently cut by Tampa Bay.

Former Denver and Oakland receiver Javon Walker is close to signing with Minnesota. The Raiders cut Walker this offseason after two unproductive, but expensive, seasons.

San Diego receiver Malcom Floyd discusses his new challenge as Vincent Jackson’s likely replacement as the No. 1 receiver in this radio interview.

Former Denver general manager Ted Sundquist wants to give former Denver wash-out running back Maurice Clarett a tryout for his UFL team. Clarett was a third-round pick in Denver in 2005. He was cut before even playing in a preseason game.

The Chargers asserted their broadcast rights this weekend to make sure the Raiders’ preseason game could not be shown live in the Los Angeles market. I’m sure that makes Oakland fans even more fond of San Diego.

Stan Kroenke’s bid to buy the St. Louis Rams may go to a vote this week.Don't expect the Broncos to cause a stink, even though Kroenke owns the NBA and NHL franchise in Denver. Kroenke and the Broncos have a good working relationship, plus he is expected to give ownership of his two Denver teams to family members.

Evening AFC West news and notes

August, 20, 2010
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Denver coach Josh McDaniels wants Tim Tebow to try to become thestarter as soon as possible despite the team's recent 2011 contract extension for starter Kyle Orton. Meanwhile, the Orton deal closes out a productive restricted free-agency year for Denver.

Former Denver and Oakland wash-out receiver Javon Walker is trying out for the Vikings. If the past three seasons are any indication (and they should be), Walker is finished.

San Diego defensive coordinator Ron Rivera said the Chargers will continue to be blitz happy against the Cowboys on Saturday night. They might as well be. The Chargers have questions in the pass rush that must be answered.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that San Diego defensive lineman Travis Johnson was fined $5,000 for a late hit against the Bears last week.

The Chargers have sold enough tickets to avoid a local television blackout for Saturday’s preseason game against Dallas.

Denver signed Worrell Williams, the younger brother of Broncos standout linebacker D.J. Williams. Linebacker Devin Bishop was cut to make room for Williams.

Look for Oakland to possibly try out veteran free agent receiver Brandon Jones. The former San Francisco 49ers wideout worked out for Minnesota on Friday. The Raiders have had many minor injuries at the position during training camp and lack a veteran presence at receiver.

Pros and cons of 2010 Raiders

June, 4, 2010
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Rolando McClain and Jason CampbellUS PresswireRolando McClain and Jason Campbell are two offseason acquisitions that give the Raiders optimism heading into the 2010 season.
The Oakland Raiders have continued their annual attempt to emerge from the doldrums.

Is this finally the year that it will work?

The following is a look at some possible solutions and continued issues for Oakland as it enters the season with the odor of an NFL-record seven straight years with at least 11 losses. Oakland is a stunning 29-83 during that time.

Reasons for hope

Quarterback play: Oakland surely will be better at the most important position on the field. The Raiders, who considered several quarterback options throughout the offseason, added Jason Campbell in a trade with Washington on draft weekend.

The Raiders then cut JaMarcus Russell. The No. 1 overall draft pick in 2007 will go down as one of the greatest busts in NFL history.

Russell was 7-18 as the Raiders’ starter and regressed in 2009. The Raiders were rarely competitive with him on the field and were much spunkier with journeyman Bruce Gradkowski at the helm.

Campbell is far from a great player. He quarterbacked a 4-12 team last year and was cast aside this offseason by new Redskins coach and noted quarterback guru Mike Shanahan. But in Oakland, the hard-working Campbell should be an upgrade. He has a good arm and he fits Oakland’s vertical scheme. He is also a solid game manager. Campbell may not win games by himself, but he won’t lose many either.

With a decent running game, an excellent tight end in Zach Miller and promising young receivers Chaz Schilens, Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey, Campbell should have a positive impact on the offense.

“Campbell is not fancy, but he’ll make Oakland better,” said Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. “The Raiders will be competent at the position and you couldn’t say that in the past.”

A young stud at linebacker: The Raiders were pretty quiet in the offseason until the draft. Other than Campbell, Oakland’s only major acquisition of 2010 who could make an immediate impact was middle linebacker Rolando McClain. The Raiders took McClain with the No. 8 overall pick.

The Raiders have earned a reputation for whiffing in the first round in recent years. I don’t think this will be an issue with McClain. Expect him to be an instant impact player. He was a key to Alabama’s national championship team and was known as one of the most instinctive and brightest players in college football. He called defensive audibles himself, a rarity in the college game.

The Raiders’ run defense needs plenty of help, and McClain should be a huge addition. He will be a big upgrade over Kirk Morrison, who was traded to Jacksonville two days after McClain was drafted.

(Read full post)

Here is a roundup of news items from around the AFC West:
  • Former Denver Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall said all the right things when meeting with the Miami media on Thursday. I’ve heard Marshall say the right things many times in the past, often after another misstep.
  • Marshall’s former teammates in Denver, Brandon Stokley, discussed Marshall’s departure and how it will impact the Broncos in a radio interview.
  • Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable praised second-year receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. Cable told Bay Area reporters that the No. 7 overall pick last year has made great strides this offseason. It’ll be interesting to see if during training camp Heyward-Bey can remedy his problem of not being able to hold onto the ball.
  • It is being reported Tennessee is shopping running back LenDale White. If the Chargers don’t address their running backs needs in the draft (there’s no way they shouldn’t, though) perhaps they will consider White.
  • Former Oakland receiver Javon Walker has a planned tryout with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • San Diego right tackle Jeromey Clary signed his restricted free agency tender Thursday.
Texas receiver Jordan Shipley is expected to be among the rookies who make a pre-draft visit to Denver. Shipley is a productive player, who could be intriguing to Denver in the mid rounds.

LaDainian Tomlinson, Thomas Jones and Brandon MarshallUS Presswire/Icon SMI/US PresswireLaDainian Tomlinson is out in San Diego, Thomas Jones has a new home in Kansas City and Brandon Marshall's future in Denver remains uncertain.
We’re a week into free agency. Here is a look at the key aspects of the offseason for each team in the division so far and what’s ahead:

Denver

Big news: Brandon Marshall. The Broncos set the stage for Marshall’s departure by putting the first-round tender on him. It didn’t take long for Marshall to attract interest. Seattle set up a visit to bring in Marshall on the first day of free agency. The Marshall situation could drag on, especially if other teams show interest. But the fact that Marshall was in another team’s building over the weekend is big news.

Surprise: The new-look defensive line. Last year, in his first as Denver’s coach, Josh McDaniels remade the Broncos’ defensive line. He is doing it again in his second year. The Broncos have signed defensive linemen Justin Bannan, Jarvis Green and Jamal Williams. All three of these players are expected to play major roles.

Best decision: Giving Elvis Dumervil the high tender. Dumervil, 26, represents the future for Denver. He led the NFL with 17 sacks last season. Had Denver not put the high tender of a first- and third-round pick on Dumervil, he would be popular in free agency. With the high tender, Dumervil probably is staying put.

Worst decision: Not being flexible on Marshall’s compensation. It has been reported that the Broncos will keep Marshall if they don’t get a first-round pick in return for him. Perhaps this is posturing. But unless other teams start pursuing him, I don’t see Seattle giving up a first-round pick. Yet, the Seahawks could offer other creative compensation. Ultimately, the Broncos want to part ways with Marshall, but this high price tag could prevent that from happening.

What’s needed: Continue to get bigger. The Broncos added size to the defensive front. Now, they have to do so on the offensive line. Denver is moving away from the zone-blocking scheme to a more traditional power-blocking attack. The Broncos need a left guard and a center.

Kansas City

Big news: Thomas Jones signing. Next to the trade for quarterback Matt Cassel last year, this is the biggest move of the Scot Pioli era to date. The addition of Jones shows Kansas City is willing to spend and it wants to get better. The veteran running back will help this offense.

Surprise: How aggressive the Chiefs planned to be. Last year, the Chiefs were criticized for not being active. This year has been a different story. They were planning to pursue San Diego’s Darren Sproles had he hit the open market, and they tried to trade for receiver Anquan Boldin. Before signing Jones, Kansas City also was considering fellow running backs Justin Fargas and Willie Parker. It is clear the Chiefs are determined to get better.

Best decision: Re-signing Chris Chambers. Adding Jones and keeping Chambers will help Kansas City’s offense evolve in the first year under new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. Chambers was Cassel’s favorite target when he was claimed off waivers by San Diego in November. A full season of playing with Chambers should help Cassel.

Worst decision: Not trading for Boldin. A receiving crew of Chambers, Boldin and Dwayne Bowe would have been formidable. The Chiefs have two second-round picks next month. It might have been worth it to trade one to get Boldin and really open up the offense.

What’s needed: Keep spending. The Chiefs are on the right track. But they need more talent throughout the team. They need to add more pieces, perhaps on the offensive line and in the defensive back eight.

Oakland

Big news: No big spending. For the second year in a row, the Raiders are watching free agency as bystanders. Two years ago, the Raiders spent wildly. It didn’t work, and most of their 2008 free-agency class has been cut. The Raiders are sitting on the sideline in this uncapped year. You would think Al Davis would make a splash or two, but he has been very quiet.

Surprise: The release of Greg Ellis. The defensive end was cut after one season with the team. Ellis had seven sacks last year, but he dealt with injuries. Still, he may have a year or two left. Yet, the Raiders decided to go with youth at the position. Perhaps that is a good sign of things to come. Of course, they gave another 30-year-old defensive end, Richard Seymour, the franchise tag after giving up a 2011 first-round pick for him. You never know the thought process in Oakland.

Best decision: The release of Javon Walker. This move was a long time coming. Walker was one of the worst free-agent decisions in NFL history. Oakland gave him a six-year, $55 million deal with $16 million in guaranteed money in 2008. He had 15 catches in two seasons in Oakland. He never helped.

Worst decision: Giving Stanford Routt the high tender. The backup cornerback was given the high tender of a first- and third-round pick. Routt is not a starter and is a marginal backup. Even if Oakland put the first-round tender on Routt, he wouldn’t have attracted interested. The move simply cost the Raiders money and served no purpose.

What’s needed: The Raiders have to spend some. It’s admirable that Oakland has learned its lesson from its horrible spending spree of two years ago. But the Raiders need help. This isn’t a playoff- quality roster. The team needs help in several areas. The Raiders don’t have to spend huge, but they do need some new players.

San Diego

Big news: The team is losing numbers. The Chargers cut former stars LaDainian Tomlinson and Jamal Williams. Then they traded cornerback Antonio Cromartie and lost free agents Kassim Osgood and Brandon Manumaleuna. The Chargers have not added any players of note. San Diego prides itself on its depth and none of these players are irreplaceable, but the Chargers could miss some of them.

Surprise: The Chargers gave the high tender to running back Darren Sproles. San Diego was expected to let the change-of-pace running back/return star test the market, but Sproles was tendered at the deadline. Good thing for San Diego, because Sproles probably would have been signed within 48 hours on the open market.

Best decision: Trading Antonio Cromartie. The team grew tired of the cornerback, who struggled at times on the field and had some off-field issues. Cromartie was sent to the Jets for a 2011 third-round pick that could turn into a second-round pick, depending on playing time. It was a good value for a player San Diego couldn’t wait to part ways with.

Worst decision: Not re-signing Jamal Williams. Only because it allowed Denver to sign him. Williams probably doesn’t have much left. But if he does, the Chargers will regret seeing Williams play well for a rival.

What’s needed: A running back. The Chargers are taking a calculated risk. They are not impressed with the free-agent class, so they are waiting for the draft. It is a deep draft. The Chargers clearly feel they can get a primary back then. Still, it is a tad scary waiting for an unknown rookie to be the primary back.
As anticipated, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Oakland has cut defensive tackle Gerard Warren.

Warren was due a bonus of nearly $6 million. There was no way Oakland was going to keep Warren. He joins Javon Walker, Greg Ellis and Justin Fargas as players Oakland has cut for financial reasons this offseason. Oakland has not added anyone of note this offseason. However, it did spend huge money to keep kicker Sebastian Janikowski and defensive end Richard Seymour from entering free agency.

The Raiders continue to pay for their disastrous spending spree of 2008. Oakland spent wildly that offseason with virtually no payoff. Now, the team is trying to shed contracts.

Warren was decent, but he wasn’t a game-changer in Oakland. He was acquired from Denver in 2007. Watch for the Raiders to target the defensive line in the draft.

Raiders dump bad decisions

March, 8, 2010
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Like they did last year, the Raiders are trying to right past financial wrongs.

The Raiders just cut receiver Javon Walker and defensive end Greg Ellis. Neither release was a surprise. Both players are aging and expensive.

But it is a reminder of past mistakes, especially in Walker’s case.

Walker will go down as one of the biggest free agents mistakes in the history of the league. Denver cut Walker after the 2007 season because he has major health issues with his knees and totally lost his ability to separate from defenders. Many league observers thought Walker could get a one-year, $1 million deal at best.

Stunning the league, Oakland jumped on Walker, giving him a six-year, $55 million deal with $16 million in guaranteed money. What a bad decision that was.

Walker’s injury issues continued in Oakland. He never made an impact. Walker, 31, played in a total of 11 games for the Raiders in two seasons. He had 15 catches in 2008 and none in 2009.

The Raiders still owe him more than $2 million. This signing was a disaster. There was no chance Oakland would bring him back for 2010, but his release still stings, because it is a reminder of how little he gave the Raiders.

Ellis is simply a case of Oakland trying to make something happen with a player who was too beat up. Ellis, 34, battled injury problems last season. He managed to get seven sacks, but is probably too hurt to continue playing.

His release probably doesn’t bother Ellis too much. The former Cowboy repeatedly questioned his Oakland teammates’ desire and approach during the team’s 5-11 2009 season.
ESPN.com is reporting Florida State’s legendary coach Bobby Bowden will retire, ending a 34-year reign there.

Bowden’s Florida State teams have filled NFL rosters for years. This year is not different. The following is a look at the current players in the AFC West who were influenced by Bowden at Florida State:

Oakland

T Mario Henderson

K Sebastian Janikowski

WR Javon Walker

San Diego

CB Antonio Cromartie

DL Travis Johnson

Denver

CB Tony Carter (practice squad)

Evening AFC West news and notes

November, 13, 2009
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San Diego linebacker Shawne Merriman is questionable to play Sunday against Philadelphia with a foot injury. He did not practice Thursday and Friday. Fellow linebacker Shaun Phillips practiced fully Friday for the first time this week after suggering an ankle injury. Phillips and Merriman have combined for eight sacks in the past two games. Center Nick Hardwick is out for the eighth straight game with an ankle injury.

Oakland defensive end Greg Ellis is on questionable to play Sunday against the Chiefs after he had knee and shoulder surgery. Receiver Javon Walker, who reportedly asked to be released, has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Denver defensive lineman Ryan McBean is questionable to play at Washington with a knee injury. He didn’t play against Pittsburgh.

Oakland punter Shane Lechler is on pace to set a major NFL record.

Report: Walker wants out of Oakland

November, 13, 2009
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Walker

Walker

Oakland receiver Javon Walker has asked to be released, according to the Oakland Tribune.

Walker is frustrated that he has not been allowed to make an impact this season. He insists he is healthy and ready to make an impact.

The Raiders are thirsty for help from their receivers. According to ESPN Stats & Information, they have thrown to their receivers the second fewest amount of times in the NFL. They have started two rookie receivers all season. Still, Walker has been a nonfactor.

It remains to be seen whether the Raiders will grant Walker’s request. He isn’t playing much, so it doesn’t seem like it would affect the team one way or another.

Walker has been a major bust since he signed a huge contract prior to the 2008 season. He took a major pay cut to stay in Oakland this season.

Pregame notes from Oakland

October, 18, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson

OAKLAND -- Oakland receiver Chaz Schilens is inactive. He was a game-time decision. Schilens has been out with a broken foot.
  • Oakland receiver Javon Walker is active. He has played four snaps all season.
  • Gary Russell is starting for Oakland at fullback in place of the injured Luke Lawton.
  • Eagles rookie Jeremy Maclin is starting in front of Kevin Curtis, who is inactive.
  • Oakland coach Tom Cable was jogging around the field about three hours before game time.
  • It is a 63 degrees and cloudy in Oakland
  • The stadium is empty. About 45,000 fans are expected to attend the game in the 61,000-seat Coliseum.

AFC West news and notes

October, 17, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson

To help their battered offensive line, the Chiefs signed tackle Barry Richardson off their practice squad. Richardson was a Kansas City draft pick in 2008. The team cut linebacker Justin Rogers to make room for Richardson. Rogers was signed earlier this week.

The team needed Richardson because left tackle Branden Albert did not make the trip to Washington for Sunday’s game. Albert didn’t practice all week with an ankle injury.

Here’s a report that does not put much stock into Baltimore pursuing Kansas City receiver Dwayne Bowe for draft picks. The trade deadline is Tuesday.

San Diego linebacker Stephen Cooper is listed as questionable to play Monday night against Denver. He practiced on a limited basis Saturday with a knee injury. Meanwhile, San Diego linebacker Shawne Merriman expects to be much more effective against the Broncos than he has been earlier this season. Merriman is still recovering from a knee surgery he had 13 months ago.

Oakland coach Tom Cable said the Raiders are looking into possible trade opportunities for receiver Javon Walker, who said he wouldn’t be adverse to a deal. It’s highly unlikely the Raiders would get anything of substance in return for Walker, who has been injury prone and who has played just four snaps this season.

Oakland news and notes

October, 16, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson


• Oakland defensive assistant Randy Hanson is getting aggressive while he waits to see whether the Napa, Calif., district attorney’s office will file assault charges against Oakland coach Tom Cable.

Hanson said he is willing to take a lie detector test to show he is telling the truth. Hanson maintains Cable assaulted him at the Raiders’ training camp Aug. 5 and that he suffered a broken jaw in the incident.

The Napa police handed the case over to the DA's office nearly two weeks ago. A filing decision could come as soon as Monday. In a taped message on a media information phone line, Napa DA Gary Lieberstein advised media earlier this week to check back Monday.

• Oakland receiver Javon Walker says he is not adverse to a trade if the Raiders want to deal him. That’s fine. But it’s doubtful any team would want to make a move for the oft-injured Walker, who has played four snaps this season.

• Chaz Schilens told reporters Thursday that he may not be ready to play Sunday against Philadelphia. He has been out eight weeks with a broken foot.

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