AFC West: Joseph Addai

Catching up on the day

July, 25, 2012
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - I have spent the past few hours interviewing Denver personnel as the Broncos report to training camp. I will be back with coverage later Wednesday. In the meantime, here are some happenings that affect or could affect the AFC West:

Green Bay cut safety Charlie Peprah. Would former Green Bay executive and new Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie be interested now that he has some salary-cap room to play with? Perhaps, but I don’t see Peprah being a starter in Oakland, and he might get the chance to start elsewhere if he can get healthy. He would be a solid backup for the Raiders, though.

The Patriots cut running back Joseph Addai, who played with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis. Perhaps the Broncos will look at him, but they had ample time to sign him before he went to the Patriots and they did not bite.

In an Insider piece Insider, Aaron Schatz thinks Oakland second-year cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke may be deserving of more playing time. If he has a strong preseason, I could see Van Dyke making a strong push to start.

The Broncos cut two undrafted rookies for medical reasons.

The Chargers signed undrafted rookie tackle Cordell Bell. They cut undrafted rookie receiver Paul Cox.

AFC West draft thoughts

April, 28, 2012
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The Kansas City Chiefs are obviously happy with Matt Cassel as their quarterback. They inspected several of the top quarterbacks, but in the end, Kansas City did not add one in the draft.

Instead, like they did in free agency, the Chiefs built around Cassel. Thus, Cassel has at least one more year in Kansas City to prove he can be a difference-maker.

With the 250th pick, the Chargers stole Michigan State running back Edwin Baker. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper thought Baker was the eighth best running back in the draft. He has some fumbling issues, but he has real ability and he can grow into a good player.

San Diego got a potential future starter in Michigan center David Molk. He is very strong and he is battler. He could be Nick Hardwick’s eventual successor. The Chiefs got nice value in Michigan receiver Junior Hemingway. He was the Sugar Bowl MVP and he is a strong possession receiver. He was way under-valued.

Chiefs’ fourth-round pick, Fresno State receiver Devon Wylie, has often drawn comparisons to New England’s Wes Welker. The man who picked Wylie, Scott Pioli, of course, was in New England with Welker.

Wylie and Oakland fourth-round pick, San Diego State linebacker Miles Burris went to high school together in Granite Bay, California, near Sacramento.

Denver could use their fourth-round pick, center Philip Blake, at guard as well.

I wonder if the Chargers will still look for a veteran running back with Baker on board. The Chargers, and perhaps Oakland, are looking for a veteran free agent running back since they didn’t add one in the draft. There are some solid veterans available who can fill a backup role. Among the veterans available are Ryan Grant, Cedric Benson, Joseph Addai and Tim Hightower.

The Raiders did not draft any cornerbacks despite studying several extensively. The Raiders’ two starting cornerbacks are Ronald Barrtell and Shawntae Spencer. They are both 30 and are both signed to one-year deals.

Denver sixth-round pick, Kentucky linebacker, Danny Trevathan, compiled 287 tackles in the past two seasons. Watch him make an impact on special teams as a rookie.

New Denver quarterback Brock Osweiler worked out with Tim Tebow earlier this offseason when Tebow was still a Bronco.

Denver third-round pick, running back Ronnie Hillman, won’t turn 21 until September.

Oakland seventh-round pick, linebacker Nathan Stupar, is the nephew of former Oakland quarterback Jeff Hostetler.
It’s been three days since Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos and speculation began that he would be joined by multiple former Indianapolis teammates.

The opportunities are shrinking. Manning’s longtime center Jeff Saturday, who visited Denver on Wednesday, has signed with Green Bay, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

While the team is still working on Colts’ tight end Jacob Tamme, the Broncos did sign tight end Joel Dreessen on Friday. Dreessen is a good second tight end who had 28 catches last season.

If Tamme does sign that would likely mean Colts’ veteran Dallas Clark will not come to Denver. If Tamme signs elsewhere (Seattle is hotly pursuing him), perhaps Clark will be in the picture. Denver also wants to develop second-year tight end Julius Thomas.

Other former Manning teammates Denver could consider include running back Joseph Addai and receiver Brandon Stokley.

I don’t think the fact that Saturday is not coming to Denver is a huge loss. Sure, It would have helped Manning’s transition to the offense, but third-year center J.D. Walton is a solid player who did well last season. Manning and Walton will find a rhythm and Walton didn’t deserve to be replaced by a 37-year-old simply based on a previous comfort level.

In other news:

Yes, the Broncos’ trade of Tim Tebow to the Jets has been delayed by protocol. But, don’t be fooled. Tebow will be a Jet.

New England signed Denver free-agent fullback Spencer Larsen. Denver didn’t have much interest in bringing him back.

Kansas City right tackle Barry Richardson has visited the St. Louis Rams. He has been replaced by Eric Winston, who is a major upgrade from Richardson.
Here are some highlights from our AFC West chat, which was held Thursday:

Denver

Jared from DC: Denver looking for RBs only in Draft? See Any WRs for Denver coming there?

Bill Williamson: Likely look at RBs in the draft. I think the added WRS will be vets. Just signed Andre Caldwell. Stokley may be next.

Kansas City

Kevin from Kansas City, Mo.: With the added strength at OL and all our starters coming back off injury, can the Chiefs or any other AFC West team compete with Peyton and the Broncos over the next five years? Or should we all just take 5 and come back when the West isn't won? UGH can't stand PM why did he have to choose the AFC West?

BW: You are fine. I think Manning will be very good for three years. But the Chiefs are going to be good as well. I really like what your team did in free agency. Manning is the big fish, but Kansas City has done well.

Oakland

Chuck from New York City: With Bush now in Chicago, do you envision the Raiders signing another backup RB in addition to the injury-prone Jones or trying to get another through the draft?

BW: Oakland, Denver and San Diego all need a backup. Here are some of the best players available: Cedric Benson, Brandon Jacobs, Ryan Grant, Joseph Addai, Justin Forsett, Jackie Battle and Kevin Smith. The market has been slow so some of these players could come cheaply. I think Jacobs would be a nice replacement for Bush if the price is right.

San Diego

Andrew De Fazio from Canada: Who do you think the Chargers will draft with the 18th overall pick? or will they trade up?

BW: They will probably stay put. They will have a lot of choices. However, if they far in love with someone like Melvin Ingram or Courtney Upshaw, they may need to move up.
It was almost 12 hours ago when I first reported that San Diego Chargers running back Mike Tolbert has signed a four-year deal with the Carolina Panthers. I ended the short post by saying I would have more on the story later.

I should have indicated it would be much, much later. I guess I got sidetracked by another little story that developed in the AFC West.

Anyway, without further ado, here are some thoughts on Tolbert’s departure:

I don’t like it.

Last month, I wrote the Chargers couldn’t afford to lose another running back. Last year, they saw Darren Sproles go to New Orleans and he was missed. So will Tolbert.

He is a stud in short yardage, he has nice hands, he is a fine blocker, and he is great on special teams. Winning teams have players like Tolbert.

Ryan Mathews will need a new complement. Two names to keep an eye on are Kansas City’s Jackie Battle and Oakland’s Michael Bush. Bush is getting interest from the Bengals, Bears and Seahawks. Perhaps the Chargers will join the party. Other running backs available include Cedric Benson, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Brandon Jacobs, Ryan Grant and Joseph Addai.

The Chargers will see a lot of familiar faces when they play the NFC South in 2012. They will see Tolbert and Sproles as they will see recently departed star receiver Vincent Jackson in Tampa Bay and will face former backup running back Michael Turner when they play the Falcons.

The Chargers' last real priority in-house free agent is defensive tackle Antonio Garay.
Few people are more qualified to speak on the subject of Peyton Manning than Bill Polian.

He drafted Manning in Indianapolis in 1998 and was the Indianapolis Colts' vice chairman until earlier this year. Polian is now an ESPN analyst, and I caught up with him to discuss Manning’s pending signing in Denver. Here are some of the subjects he hit:

On the fit: “I think it’s a good fit. It’s a football-only ownership, a great town. The Broncos have a good defense with two good pass-rushers in Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. They run the ball well with a good offensive line, and I like their receivers. They could use an upgrade at running back and receiver, but that is easy to do.”

On the Broncos’ chances of winning the division in 2012: “It’s a winnable division, and Peyton does make them better. Peyton makes them a viable contender.”

On the importance of Denver coach John Fox: “I think that is an understated aspect of this fit. John is a sound, very solid football coach. He will have a sound running game and he has the making of a really good defense. John is a very vital cog in this wheel.”

On whether he thinks some former Colts could join Manning in Denver: “[Tight end Jacob] Tamme is a real good fit, and Dallas Clark could be as well. I like Joseph Addai as a fit there, too, but he is not an every-down player anymore, but he doesn’t have to be there. Maybe Jeff Saturday would interest them, but I do already like their line.”

Denver to become Indy West?

March, 19, 2012
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As expected, Peyton Manning will likely not be coming to the Denver Broncos empty handed.

NFL Network reports center Jeff Saturday is coming to Denver for a visit and veteran receiver Brandon Stokley may sign. They both played with Manning in Indianapolis. The other former Colts who could sign in Denver are running back Joseph Addai and tight ends Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme.

If Saturday signs, that would mean Denver would either trade J.D. Walton or make him a backup. Walton is a good, young player, but Manning and Saturday have had a long relationship and have great chemistry. Stokley is a former Denver receiver who would probably be a No. 4 receiver with the Broncos. Manning stayed at Stokley’s house when he visited Denver earlier this month.

In other AFC West news:

The contract between Denver tight end Daniel Fells and New England is done. He signed a three-year deal.

The Boston Herald reported that that former San Diego defensive lineman Luis Castillo visited with the New England Patriots. He has already visited Kansas City,

Tennessee is visiting with pass-rusher Kamerion Wimbley. He was cut by the Raiders on Friday.

Former Oakland guard Robert Gallery will not be coming back to the team. He reportedly has signed with New England. Oakland cut Gallery last summer and he was with the Seahawks last season.

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