AFC West: Laurence Maroney

There is still a long way to go before a new labor agreement is reached. But there appears to be progress between the owners and players.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that the expectation is that any player with 4-6 years of experience with an expiring contract would become an unrestricted free agent. There are some interesting names in the AFC West that would be affected. ESPN Stats & Information prepared a free-agent primer. Listed below are key AFC West players who would be affected if Schefter’s expectation plays out:

QUARTERBACKS

6 or more seasons: Billy Volek

4 to 5 seasons: Brodie Croyle, Bruce Gradkowski

RUNNING BACKS

6 or more seasons: Darren Sproles

4 to 5 seasons: Laurence Maroney

WIDE RECEIVERS

4 to 5 seasons: Malcom Floyd

TIGHT ENDS

6 or more seasons: Randy McMichael

4 to 5 seasons: Zach Miller

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

6 or more seasons: G Robert Gallery, T Langston Walker, C Casey Wiegmann

4 to 5 seasons: T Jeromey Clary, C Samson Satele

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

6 or more seasons: Jamal Williams

LINEBACKERS

6 or more seasons: Kevin Burnett, Mike Vrabel

CORNERBACKS

6 or more seasons: Nnamdi Asomugha

SAFETIES

4 to 5 seasons: Michael Huff, Eric Weddle

San Diego’s Vincent Jackson, Kansas City’s Tamba Hali and Oakland’s Kamerion Wimbley were given the franchise tag. Schefter expects the franchise tag to be part of a new deal. Wimbley has already signed his tender, while Jackson and Hali haven’t.

Draft Watch: AFC West

April, 7, 2011
4/07/11
12:00
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NFC Draft Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Each Thursday leading up to the NFL draft (April 28-30), the ESPN.com NFL blog network will take a division-by-division look at key aspects of the draft. Today’s topic: history in that spot.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos’ top pick is No. 2 overall. Here are the previous seven players taken in that spot, with their NFL team in parentheses:

2010: DT Ndamukong Suh (Lions)

2009: T Jason Smith (Rams)

2008: DE Chris Long (Rams)

2007: WR Calvin Johnson (Lions)

2006: RB Reggie Bush (Saints)

2005: RB Ronnie Brown (Dolphins)

2004: OL Robert Gallery (Raiders)

ANALYSIS: This is the Broncos’ first top-five pick since 1991, when they took linebacker Mike Croel at No. 4. The Broncos would love to have the success Detroit had last year with the pick. Suh looks like a unit changer, and Denver needs a similarly dominant defender. Detroit is the only team to have great success at No. 2 in the past seven years. Along with Suh, Johnson is a fabulous player. There are some good players on this list, though, with no flat-out duds. The Rams hope to see progress in Smith and Long, who made strides in 2010.

San Diego Chargers

The Chargers’ top pick is No. 18 overall. Here are the previous seven players taken in that spot, with their NFL team in parentheses:

2010: C Maurkice Pouncey (Steelers)

2009: LB Robert Ayers (Broncos)

2008: QB Joe Flacco (Ravens)

2007: CB Leon Hall (Bengals)

2006: LB Bobby Carpenter (Cowboys)

2005: LB Erasmus James (Vikings)

2004: DE Will Smith (Saints)

ANALYSIS: This is an interesting group. It shows that teams can find franchise players at No. 18 but also that they can make a major mistake with the pick. Flacco was a tremendous value for Baltimore in 2008. Pouncey looks as if he’ll be at center in Pittsburgh for the next decade. Smith has also had a terrific career and was a solid pick at No. 18. James was a terrible pick; Carpenter wasn’t worth it; and the jury is still out on Ayers. The Chargers know they have to pick smart. They took linebacker Larry English at No. 16 in 2009 and are waiting for a payoff. It’s interesting that there are four defensive ends/linebackers on this list. That’s exactly the position the Chargers will be looking for with the No. 18 pick.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs’ top pick is No. 21 overall. Here are the previous seven players taken in that spot, with their NFL team in parentheses:

2010: TE Jermaine Gresham (Bengals)

2009: C Alex Mack (Browns)

2008: T Sam Baker (Falcons)

2007: S Reggie Nelson (Jaguars)

2006: RB Laurence Maroney (Patriots)

2005: WR Matt Jones (Jaguars)

2004: DT Vince Wilfork (Patriots)

ANALYSIS: The Chiefs are not used to drafting this low. Kansas City has picked in the top five the past three years. However, Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli is plenty familiar with having the No. 21 pick. He was with New England when it had the choice in 2004 and 2006. Pioli has seen teams score with this pick and seen teams whiff with it. Wilfork was a tremendous choice, but taking Maroney was a blunder. However, the pick has paid solid dividends in recent years. This doesn’t appear to be a bad spot to be in.

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders’ top pick is No. 48 overall. Here are the previous seven players taken in that spot, with their NFL team in parentheses:

2010: QB Jimmy Clausen (Panthers)

2009: S Darcel McBath (Broncos)

2008: TE Fred Davis (Redskins)

2007: LB Justin Durant (Jagaurs)

2006: DB Cedric Griffin (Vikings)

2005: LB Odell Thurman (Bengals)

2004: LB Dontarrious Thomas (Vikings)

ANALYSIS: It’s interesting that a quarterback was taken at this spot in 2010. Clausen was the third quarterback taken last year. If a quarterback such as Washington’s Jake Locker or Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett takes a similar tumble, we could see a quarterback taken at No. 48 again. This pick has been hit-or-miss, so it could be worth taking a gamble. Oakland picked at No. 47 two years ago and is still waiting for safety Mike Mitchell to develop. Last year, Oakland took defensive lineman Lamarr Houston at No. 44, and he had a terrific rookie season. In 2007, Oakland took standout tight end Zach Miller at No. 38. The Raiders know they can find talent in the second round.
One of the reasons why the Kansas City Chiefs have rebounded is they have a strong mix of good veteran leadership and young talent.

Second-year safety Eric Berry told a Kansas City radio station that the veterans on the team have arranged a meeting Monday for the players to discuss workout plans and such during the lockout.

"The only thing I've been getting from Brian Waters, (Jon) McGraw and those guys is that they're trying to set up things within the Chiefs," Berry told the radio station. "Just trying to get us together, get the players together and discuss some things. We're supposed to be having a meeting on the fourth. We're just trying to get some things ironed out and get a little schedule together I guess."

This shows that the players in Kansas City are focused on the long-term and believe in the big picture despite the lockout. Teams that take this approach will likely have an easy transition once the lockout ends.

In other AFC West-related nuggets:

Charges against Denver's Elvis Dumervil in a stadium parking-lot flap were dropped.

Denver running back Laurence Maroney was charged with misdemeanor drug charges. It's unlikely Maroney will return to Denver.

The Raiders and Chiefs are working out South Carolina defensive back Chris Culliver.
The new Denver Broncos’ brass continued to say good-bye to expensive aging players.

A day after tight end Daniel Graham was cut, the team waived defensive lineman Justin Bannan and Jamal Williams. Both players were signed last year by former coach Josh McDaniels.

It is not surprising since the Broncos are moving from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense. Denver did indicate last month that Bannan could be kept, but it is clear Denver is looking for wholesale changes on the defensive front.

Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers -- linebackers in the 3-4 -- will be rush ends, but otherwise there will be major changes on the front four. Marcus Thomas, who was given a restricted free agency tender this week, could return at defensive tackle. Denver is expected to seriously consider defensive linemen Da'Quan Bowers, Marcell Dareus and Nick Fairley with the No. 2 pick in the draft.

Thursday’s moves shows that the Broncos are not interested in players who are poor fits for the new defense. Denver will concentrate on defense in the draft and in free agency since the Broncos were last in total defense and points allowed in 2010.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Williams, a former San Diego great, decides to retire at the age of 34.

The next tough decision may be safety Brian Dawkins. He is 37 and his play slipped in an injury-plagued 2010 season. Plus, he is very expensive. I wouldn’t be shocked if he was the next to go, although new Denver coach John Fox does respect him.

Meanwhile, running back Laurence Maroney wasn’t tendered by the Broncos. He is a free agent and is not expected to be back. Denver gave up a fourth-round pick for him last season and he had little impact on the team.
The Chargers confirmed that injured tight end Antonio Gates will not play in the Pro Bowl. He needed to be medically cleared by Tuesday to play in the Pro Bowl Jan. 30. Gates was voted in as a Pro Bowl starter.

He wasn’t expected to play. Gates was put on the injured reserve with a foot injury in December. Oakland tight end Zach Miller is expected to be promoted to the Pro Bowl team. It has been reported out of Oakland that Miller is the AFC's first alternate at the position. It would be Miller’s first trip to the Pro Bowl. He has played four NFL seasons and he potentially could be a free agent. Miller would be an attractive player on the open market.

In other AFC news on a busy Wednesday afternoon, the Denver Post is reporting former Atlanta and Seattle head coach Jim L. Mora left an interview Tuesday without becoming the team’s defensive coordinator. He is still considered the favorite to land the job.

Oakland owner Al Davis is not afraid of taking shots at former coaches. He found the opportunity to point out former Oakland coach Norv Turner is “fighting for his life" in San Diego during his news conference to announce the hiring of Hue Jackson as his head coach. The truth is, Turner’s job security in San Diego is just as strong as Jackson’s in Oakland. Every Oakland coach is always fighting for coaching life in Oakland. Meanwhile, offensive coordinator candidate Al Saunders is expected to interview in Oakland as soon as today.

I was not surprised to hear that Denver owner Pat Bowlen sent a letter to season ticket holders, telling fans the Broncos plan to turn around their program. The Broncos know how much they’ve fallen in the eyes of their fans and are doing everything they can to fix it. That’s part of the reason why Josh McDaniels was fired during the season and why legendary quarterback John Elway is back with the team.

After having three blackouts this season and not winning the AFC West title for the first time since 2005, the Chargers decreased the price of nearly 10 percent of the tickets next season and kept the same prices for the rest of the seats for the fourth straight season. Nice decision, Chargers. I’m sure fans appreciate it.

In a radio interview, Denver running back Laurence Maroney explains he was arrested but not charged on drug and weapons charges in St. Louis on Monday.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting that former Denver coach Josh McDaniels’ talks with the St. Louis Rams are breaking down.

McDaniels, who was fired in December after 28 games as Denver's coach, was considered the leading candidate as the next offensive coordinator for the Rams. He interviewed with the Rams on Saturday and had interviewed with Minnesota a week earlier.

The Rams’ job was considered the most attractive opportunity for McDaniels because St. Louis is a team on the rise and features young star quarterback Sam Bradford.

If McDaniels doesn’t end up in St. Louis, his options may be limited if the Vikings don’t turn to him. There are offensive coordinator openings in Kansas City, Oakland and Cleveland. I don’t see McDaniels landing in Kansas City, despite his connections with quarterback Matt Cassel and general manager Scott Pioli, and I’d be surprised if he went to Oakland.

Meanwhile, one of the former New England Patriots who McDaniels brought to Denver, running back Laurence Maroney,was arrested in St. Louis on drug and weapon charges. I wouldn’t be surprised if Maroney was an ex-Bronco sometime soon.

He was a non-factor after McDaniels sent a fourth-round pick to the Patriots for him after the first game of the 2010 season. Maroney had little chance of staying in Denver under the new staff even before his arrest.

Update: Seattle just ousted offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates. That could mean the Seahawks could consider McDaniels. The availability of Bates could also interest the Chiefs. Bates, a former Denver top assistant, has a reputation for working very well with quarterbacks.

UPDATE II: ESPN’S Adam Schefter reported that the Seahawks are talking to McDaniels.
DENVER -- Kansas City rookie receiver/returner/running back Dexter McCluster is inactive for the third straight game because of an ankle injury.

The Chiefs are also without safeties Jon McGraw (knee) and Kendrick Lewis (hamstring). Donald Washington may be set to start with Eric Berry at safety. The Chiefs have not made that announcement yet. Linebacker Corey Mays is inactive for the first time this season.

Kansas City has signed safety Ricky Price from the practice squad. Linebacker Charlie Anderson was cut to make room for him.

For Denver, running back Laurence Maroney is inactive. Lance Ball, who can play special teams, is active. Denver traded a fourth-round draft pick for Maroney earlier this season. As expected, linebacker Robert Ayers and cornerback Andre' Goodman are inactive because of injuries.
The Denver Broncos are desperate to find balance on their offense. It may have to wait another week.

Denver coach Josh McDaniels announced Friday that starting tailback Knowshon Moreno will miss his third straight game with a hamstring injury. Moreno missed all of August with another hamstring injury. He played in the first two games of the season and had 11 yards on 39 carries.

Moreno’s numbers weren't fantastic, but Denver has had no ground game without him. The Bronocos had 19 yards on 20 attempts last week. The Broncos are ranked last in the NFL in on the ground as it is averaging 2.2 yards per carry and 55 yards per game as backups Correll Buckhalter and Laurence Maroney have been ineffective.

However, the Kyle Orton-led passing offense is ranked No. 1 in the league. Expect the savvy Baltimore defense to load up to stop the pass and force Denver to run without Moreno in the lineup.
If the Denver Broncos are going to break through on the ground this week in Tennessee, they will have to do it without starting running back Knowshon Moreno.

Moreno’s disastrous early season is continuing. He will miss his second straight game because of a hamstring injury he suffered during practice last week. Moreno, the No. 12 overall draft pick in 2009, missed all of August with a hamstring injury.

Denver, which has been ravaged by injury at running back this year, will continue to go with Correll Buckhalter and Laurence Maroney in Moreno’s absence. Neither of those players could get the Denver running game going last week, and they were particularly poor in the red zone.

Denver is 30th in the NFL on the ground, averaging 67 rushing yards a game. Denver is averaging 2.5 yards per carry, which is a league low. Denver is ranked No. 1 in passing in the NFL. Yet, a lack of balance and inefficiency in the red zone have been a big reason why the Broncs are 1-2.

The injury continues a frustrating second season for Moreno. The Broncos expected big things from him this season after an uneven rookie season in which Moreno tailed off terribly in the final month. He had just 173 of his 947 yards in the final four games of last season, all defeats. Moreno has 111 yards on 39 carries in two games this season.

Denver no longer a rushing power

September, 29, 2010
9/29/10
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During the 14-year Mike Shanahan era in Denver, the Broncos' running game was the gold standard in the NFL.

Year after year, no matter who was the lead tailback, Denver was near the top of the NFL in rushing. Running always set up the pass in Denver. That has changed. Three games into the second season of the Josh McDaniels era, the once-vaunted Denver running game is a memory.

Denver averages 2.5 yards per rush attempt, the lowest per-carry average in the league. Denver’s run offense is ranked 30th, averaging just 67 yards a game. Denver’s passing offense is ranked No. 1. A big reason why Denver is 1-2 is because of the lack of balance on offense. McDaniels used Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme last season, but he moved to a more power-blocking scheme this season.

However, Denver has dealt with major injury issues at running back and on the offensive line since the beginning of camp. Starting tailback Knowshon Moreno missed last week’s loss at the Colts with a hamstring injury he suffered at practice last week. Moreno, the No. 12 overall pick in 2009, missed all of August with a hamstring injury. He did not practice Wednesday in Denver. It’s unclear if he will be ready to play at Tennessee on Sunday.

If Moreno can’t play, Correll Buckhalter and newly acquired Laurence Maroney will play against the Titans. Neither player could do much, especially in the red zone, against the Colts.

McDaniels told reporters in Denver on Wednesday that there are no quick fixes to improve a running attack.

“All we can do is work to try and improve it and try to get our players to work together as many times as we can,” McDaniels said. “We have had a lot of people move in and out of those spots -- whether it be upfront (or) in the backfield. I think continuity is something that we are always going to try and strive for, but I don’t want a short-term fix. I think, as you go through the season, you try to build so that you are playing your best football towards the end. Certainly, we have room to improve not only in the running game but in a lot of areas. I think we are focused on just going out there and working hard and trying to fix what we can fix.”

Until that happens, Denver can long longer be known as a premier running team.
Knowshon Moreno will not get a chance to make up for a poor performance in Week 2.

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Moreno
The team has ruled him out of Sunday’s game against Indianapolis. The Denver Post reports he was injured Thursday in practice. Moreno’s name wasn’t on Thursday’s injury update released by the team. Moreno had 51 yards on 24 carries last week. He missed all of August with a hamstring injury.

Correll Buckhalter and newly acquired Laurence Maroney will handle the rushing load for the Broncos against the Colts. Maroney will be making his Denver debut after being traded from New England on Sept. 14.

The Broncos have been ravaged by injuries since camp, especially at running back. Buckhalter dealt with a back injury during the preseason, Maroney came over to Denver while nursing a groin injury and LenDale White was lost for the season with a leg injury.

Denver’s run game has not been able to take off yet, yet quarterback Kyle Orton has been outstanding and Denver, which is 1-1 and has scored 45 points, is surviving on the passing game. Denver has the No. 5 passing offense and No. 27 running offense after two games.

The run game will have to take off at some point to give the unit balance.

In other injury news, right tackle Ryan Harris will miss his third straight game with an ankle injury after being hurt in the preseason finale. The team is hopeful cornerback Champ Bailey (foot) and Andre Goodman (thigh) can play against the high-flying Colts on Sunday.

Three key players out for Oakland

September, 19, 2010
9/19/10
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Around the AFC West:

The Raiders will be without running back Michael Bush (broken thumb), offensive lineman Robert Gallery (hamstring) and defensive lineman Richard Seymour (hamstring) against St. Louis. All three players were not doing much all week, so this was expected. Bush didn’t play last week, either.

Still, these are three of Oakland’s better players. Oakland will be further challenged to rebound from a poor performance in Tennessee in Week 1

The Broncos’ offensive line is in shambles.

Right tackle Ryan Harris (ankle) and right guard Chris Kuper (ankle, knee) will not play Sunday against Seattle. Harris and Kuper are two of Denver’s most stable players. Harris will be spelled by rookie Zane Beadles and veteran Russ Hochstein will play for Kuper. The team’s center, J.D. Walton, is a rookie.

The Raiders cut offensive lineman Erik Pears for the second time this month and signed seventh-round draft pick Stevie Brown form the practice squad.

The speculation is already out there that Tom Cable’s job could be in jeopardy if the Raiders lose to the Rams Sunday. My reaction: Sure, I can believe it.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Denver thought about signing running back Willie Parker before dealing for Laurence Maroney.

AFC West injury report

September, 17, 2010
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In Denver, rookie receiver Demaryius Thomas is expected to make his NFL debut after spending much of the summer dealing with a recurring foot injury.

However, tackle Ryan Harris will miss his second game with an ankle injury he suffered in the final preseason game. Guard Chris Kuper (ankle/knee) is questionable. Like Harris, Kuper didn’t practice all week. Running back Laurence Maroney, acquired this week in a trade with New England, will not play with a thigh injury. He didn’t play in New England’s season opener last week because of the injury.
  • In Kansas City, second-year defensive end Tyson Jackson is questionable with a knee injury. He didn’t practice all week. Linebacker Tamba Hali (foot) is questionable against Cleveland.
  • In Oakland, it appears guard Robert Gallery will not play Sunday against St. Louis with a hamstring injury. He is listed as doubtful and he didn’t practice all week. Oakland defensive tackle Richard Seymour (hamstring) and running back Michael Bush (broke thumb) will be a game-time decision. Seymour was hurt last week at Tennessee and Bush was hurt three weeks ago.
  • In San Diego, linebacker Stephen Cooper (knee) is doubtful with a knee injury. He was hurt last week. Linebacker Shawne Merriman (Achilles) is probable. He missed last week’s game.

You pick it responses

September, 17, 2010
9/17/10
2:00
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We had a record number of responses for our “you pick it: AFC West storyline” feature.

And nearly everybody agreed: the story of the week was Kansas City’s big upset win over four-time defending AFC West champion San Diego on Monday night in the renovated Arrowhead Stadium. The other candidates were Denver promoting rookie quarterback Tim Tebow to No. 2 quarterback over Brady Quinn and Denver trading for running back Laurence Maroney from New England.

I agree with the readers. It was the Chiefs’ win. It’s nice that the big news is the action on the field. Football is back and perhaps so are the Kansas City Chiefs.

Below are some of your responses. Thanks to everyone who participated:

Damian from Kansas City: Top storyline hands down has to be Kansas City's win on MNF. I was one of those screaming fans in the stands and I can tell you that despite my drenched clothes, I never felt a drop of rain. Arrowhead magic is back, and the 12th man on the Chiefs defense has returned. Two delay of game calls courtesy of the Arrowhead Faithful, a 94 yard punt return by a rookie (all of whom looked great), a 4 play goal line stand by an exhausted defense, and a 56 yard streak of red and gold (also goes by Charles) flying towards the endzone. What a night!

Andrew from Boulder, Colo.: It has to be the Chiefs beating the Chargers this week. While the Chargers rallied (kind of) in the second half, it was clear KC developed a successful game plan to beat the reigning AFC West champs. Rivers and Jackson were a great tandem. Now teams without top-tier corners but a decent pass rush need only to put pressure on San Diego's somewhat depleted offensive line and double cover Gates to reign in the former offensive powerhouse. Chiefs absolutely NEED to play Charles (a.k.a. CJ2) more, as he is their greatest of few offensive weapons, but their defense looked very capable. All this praise from a diehard Broncos fan. Finally, years of high draft picks paid off for one AFC West team.

Dan from Pratt, Kan.: Unquestionably, the Chiefs win over SD on MNF is the AFC West event of the week. All 3 of the other teams in the division lost; Denver named their #2 QB; and Denver traded for yet another Running Back; no offense to the other teams, but, Ho Hum.KC was picked by many to be last in the division; they beat the expected division winner on national television. An exciting game, down to the Chargers' last play. That's Football!

Sam from Blue Springs, Mo.: Its got to be the Chiefs over the Chargers. Monday Night looked like the old days, with the defense controlling the game and all 77,000 + on their feet. Arrowhead got one of the best quarterbacks in the game to get extremely frustrated and the Chiefs Special Teams looked awesome!

Dave Soutee from Springfield, Mo.: Chiefs Over Chargers is the obvious pick.You can't over-estimate what this game means for the Chiefs; the organization, the team and especially the fans.I have been a lifelong fan, and I wasn't sure we would ever see the atmosphere at Arrowhead Stadium return to its legendary ways. I had chills for most of that game.

Rob from the Bay Area: I'm thinking the Chiefs win is the big story. Mind you, I'm an all out die hard Charger fan, but I was hardly bitter about the upset. I remember what it was like to be a bottom dweller, to lose most games and just not even be that competitive. It's depressing. Then, you get a slick new stadium, you're featured on MNF for the season opener, the crowd is roaring full throttle and you take out the number one team. You gotta be kinda stoked for these guys. I'm not saying the Chiefs are magically over the hump, but that's a night for them to celebrate for sure.

Chaylon from Kansas City: It has to be the Chiefs beating the Chargers. The first Monday Night football game for Kansas City in years in a new and improved Arrowhead outshines all other moments for the week. The Chiefs have been down and out for three years now and they came out in front of the nation and beat the defending the AFC West champs. Tebow being the number 2 quarterback was assumed already after seeing Quinns performance in the offseason and Maroney is going into Denver to be a backup to a weak rushing attack. Chiefs win the You Pick It, hands down.

Will from Harrisburg, Pa.: In my opinion the story of the week has to be how the Chiefs pulled out the opener against the Chargers. I didn't think that the Chiefs looked all that great, especially in the second half, but their defense showed up and held their ground. it's huge news that San Diego would drop their first game, given how many people were picking them to win 10-13 games this season. Of course they still can, but I'm starting to doubt they will. Tebow is supposed to be #2 in the Rockies; the Maroney trade is only big news if he succeeds at being a better RB than he was in New England; I still think they guy is a softie.

Jimmy from Nebraska: It pains me to say this but isn't the story of the week the Chiefs. For a couple of years the team has been a roll over. The great fans have put up with some bad teams. Monday night, we saw 12 men on the field. The stadium came alive. We saw it affect Rivers. No red kool-aid drinking here, but the team is going in the right direction.

Wes from Missouri: Has to be the Chiefs win. Not only because it was a win for the Chiefs but has far reaching implications for the whole division. Basically the Raiders for as bad as they looked in the first game are even with the Chargers for second place as is the Broncos. Not only that but I can't recall a rookie class being so much of an impact on a team as what I witnessed Monday night. If that was a preview of things to come this Chiefs team is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Chris from Merriam, Kan.: It has to be the Chiefs beating the Chargers for several reasons: KC was the biggest home underdog last week. Their rookies made big contributions. The front 7 was supposed to be suspect and played well with very sold tackling especially Glenn Dorsey and Derrick Johnson. The special teams were very special. The offense has some work to do, but it was a very good team effort. The coaching was very good for the most part.

Biggs from Springfield, Mo.: It has to be the chiefs winning their Monday night opener. I was fortunate enough to have been there, and I can honestly say I don't remember the last time Arrowhead was rocking that loud. AMAZING video package and fireworks display before the game that had everyone jacked. Even with the annoying weather, there wasn't a person wearing red that didn't leave on cloud 9. Ya it wasn't pretty at times, the passing game was basically non-existent, but the Chiefs had to find a way to win that game for so many reasons and they did just that. The rookies are exciting, players like Dorsey had their best games, and best of all the defense made a stand at the end where last year san diego ties then probably wins. Great night/week to be a chiefs fan, hopefully a sign of things to come.
Washington coach Mike Shanahan would not discount the idea of his team pursuing San Diego holdout Pro Bowl receiver Vincent Jackson. Shanahan didn’t say he'd go after Jackson, but he didn’t deny it, either. The Redskins did consider Jackson earlier in the summer.

Jackson could return for the fifth game to a new team if it acquires him between Friday and Wednesday. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that it will take a lot of money and a “premium” draft pick to make Jackson trade possible. It makes sense. That’s been the case all along.
  • San Diego linebacker Stephen Cooper did not practice for the second straight day because of a knee injury. Linebacker Shawne Merriman, who didn’t play last week, continued to be limited with an Achilles problem. Merriman tweeted Thursday that he expects to play against Jacksonville.
  • Oakland running back Michael Bush was limited Thursday after practicing fully Wednesday. That could be a strong sign he won’t be ready to play Sunday against S. Louis. Bush broke his left thumb Aug. 28.
  • Kansas City defensive end Tyson Jackson missed his second straight practice with a knee injury and he likely won’t play Sunday at Cleveland. Fellow defensive end Wallace Gilberry didn’t practice Thursday, either. He has a back issue.
  • A former teammate of Laurence Maroney said he was not happy that New England traded him to Denver this week. However, Maroney is said to be excited about reuniting with former New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in Denver. Maroney didn’t practice Thursday with a thigh injury that kept him out of the Patriots’ season opener.
  • Starting offensive lineman Chris Kuper (ankle/knee) and Ryan Harris (ankle) did not practice for the second straight day. Denver coach Josh McDaniels said both players have a chance to play. If not, the Broncos could be in trouble. The offensive line is already stretched thin. Defensive tackle Jamal Williams did not practice, but it was non–injury related.

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