AFC West: Mario Henderson

AFC West notes

July, 5, 2012
Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer is working out in San Diego (he resides there) with a group of NFL players, including former teammate Terrell Owens. Palmer and Owens have worked out in the past this offseason.

Still, don’t read anything into it. The chances of the Raiders signing Owens, I believe, remain slim.
  • New San Diego and former Oakland tackle Mario Henderson has lost several pounds and he has gotten back into shape.
  • Former Raiders defensive lineman Anthony Smith is facing three more new murder charges. He is already facing a second trial on a murder charge after a mistrial.
Weekend mail call:

Chuck B. from Lancaster, Pa., wants to know if I think the re-signing of tackle Jared Gaither and the signing of tackle Mario Henderson will help San Diego’s offensive line.

Bill Williamson: I think the Gaither re-signing was huge. He played very well after the Chargers claimed him off of waivers from Kansas City. Gaither was healthy and he looked like the player he was in Baltimore before his back injury. If he can stay healthy, Gaither should help San Diego again. Henderson was signed for depth reasons. He is an experienced backup. Every team needs some.

Nollskie from Oklahoma City wants to know if I think second-year Kansas City receiver Jonathan Baldwin can take over for Dwayne Bowe as the team’s top receiver.

BW: I think Baldwin can eventually take that role if Bowe is not with the team in 2013. Bowe was given the franchise tag and he has not signed it. He will be a Chief this year. But there are no guarantees that Bowe will be in Kansas City in 2013. If he leaves as a free agent, Baldwin will get the chance to be the No. 1 receiver in Kansas City. He has great potential, but he needs to continue to develop. I expect to see the immensely talented Baldwin make solid strides in 2012.

John Mercurio from San Diego wants to know why San Diego is going with Charlie Whitehurst as the backup quarterback over the released Billy Volek.

BW: It came down to finances. Volek was set to make much more money than the Chargers are paying Whitehurst. Plus, Volek is 36 and Whitehurst is 29. Whitehurst spent four seasons in San Diego and the Chargers feel comfortable with him. Personally, I think Volek as a better option than Whitehurst should San Diego starter Philip Rivers get hurt. But clearly the Chargers feel otherwise.

Reviewing what I missed

April, 16, 2012
I took last week off. It was not an overly busy week, but some things did occur, so let’s review the game film of some of the events of the week:


The Broncos signed defensive tackle Justin Bannan.

My take: Bannan, who also was a Bronco in 2010, is a solid player who will help in the rotation. Denver still needs a young defensive tackle, but this is a good addition.

The Broncos cut cornerback Andre Goodman.

My take: This has been coming since the Broncos signed Tracy Porter to replace Goodman. This is not a shock at all. I wonder if Oakland coach and former Denver defensive coordinator Dennis Allen will look at Goodman. He will turn 34 this year and he is in decline, but Goodman has strong experience, which could interest Oakland.

Receiver Demaryius Thomas made some critical comments about former quarterback Tim Tebow and expressed happiness with the Peyton Manning signing.

My take: Is anyone surprised by this? Thomas is a receiver. Playing with an erratic passer had to get frustrating for all Denver receivers. A Manning-Tebow swap is a receiver’s dream.

Kansas City

Tight end Leonard Pope signed with Pittsburgh.

My take: He wasn’t in the Chiefs' plans. Pope is a favorite of former Kansas City coach Todd Haley, who will now coach Pope for a third NFL organization. They were in Arizona together before Kansas City.


The Raiders signed college basketball player Andre Hardy in hopes of making him a tight end.

My take: Why not? Former college hoopsters turned tight ends have hit it big. So it’s a low-risk endeavor. Don’t expect much from Hardy soon, though. He is probably a practice-squad prospect. This signing does not affect Oakland’s need for another tight end in 2012.

San Diego

The Chargers re-signed fullback Jacob Hester.

My take: He will back up Le'Ron McClain and will play special teams. Hester is a solid role player.

The Chargers signed former Oakland starting offensive lineman Mario Henderson.

My take: This is a depth move. Having a former starter as a backup is never a bad thing.

AFC West links: A.J. Smith's renewed mojo

April, 12, 2012
Denver Broncos

Linebacker Von Miller stopped by "NFL Total Access" to talk about the team's schedule, Peyton Manning and former teammate Tim Tebow.

Manning talked about the importance of falling back into his April routine and how working out now will pay off this fall.

Defensive tackle Justin Bannan returns to Denver after signing a one-year deal on Wednesday.

Would the Broncos consider trading out of the first round? The Denver Post's Jeff Legwold explores the possibility.

Kansas City Chiefs

Seventeen college prospects took part in the Chiefs' five-hour-long local pro day Tuesday. “I think that you will find that exposure in this business is one of the things that will help you,” Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel told the prospects. “The more exposure you get, the better opportunity you may have as you go down the road."

Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones will work out for the Chiefs this week.

Oakland Raiders

GM Reggie McKenzie is looking forward to the draft -- the first for the Raiders since longtime owner Al Davis passed away. "Coach Davis, this has been his deal since the Raiders were the Raiders," McKenzie told reporters Wednesday. "I am the new guy. This is my first time drafting after a legend has been drafting for the Raiders for so long. So it's huge."

Former 49er Shawntae Spencer is excited to be with the Raiders. "It's a fresh start," Spencer said. "I don't have a chip on my shoulder. I just love football."

San Diego Chargers

GM A.J. Smith has started to get his mojo back this offseason by making a number of low-risk, high-reward signings, writes's Gregg Rosenthal.

Jacob Hester and Mario Henderson face looming deadlines to decide whether they want to be in San Diego, reports the Union-Tribune's Kevin Acee and Michael Gehlken.

Guard Tyronne Green got serious about conditioning this winter, enrolling at the O-Line Academy, run by former NFL center LeCharles Bentley.
Denver Broncos

Tight end Julius Thomas, who saw his rookie season ruined by an ankle injury last September, had surgery to repair ligaments this past week.

Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post doesn't expect the Broncos to mortgage their future by trading draft picks in an effort to surround Peyton Manning with talent.

Kansas City Chiefs

Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star says the Chiefs could be a surprise landing spot for Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Oakland Raiders

Vittorio Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle says it's clear new coach Dennis Allen is intrigued by young cornerbacks DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa.

Raiders cornerback Shawntae Spencer calls new defensive coordinator Jason Tarver "a rising star" according to Tafur.

San Diego Chargers

San Diego has become a mecca for specialists to train and compete during the offseason.

The Chargers have not signed former Raiders offensive tackle Mario Henderson, writes John Gennaro of the Bolts from the Blue blog.
Luis Castillo is headed back home.

Weeks after he was released, the defensive end has agreed to a one-year deal to return to the Chargers.

The Chargers cut Castillo, 28, prior to free agency in a salary-cap move. He suffered a broken leg in Week 1 last season and he did not return. The Chargers expressed interest in re-signing Castillo at a lesser rate when he was cut. A former first-round pick by the Chargers, Castillo had visited Kansas City and New England.

However, he heads back to San Diego where he should be part of the team’s rotation. I think the Chargers would like to see youngsters Corey Liuget and Vaughn Martin merge as the primary defensive ends in the 3-4 defense, but Castillo is experienced, well versed in the team's defense and, if healthy, he'll be a solid addition to the unit.

UDPATE: U-T San Diego is reporting the Chargers are talking about a contract with former Oakland tackle Mario Henderson. He would be a backup in San Diego. He was cut last summer by the Raiders because he was out of shape. He did not play in the NFL last season.

Cornerback Chris Carr is reportedly signing with the Vikings. He has visited with the Chiefs.

AFC West notes

August, 2, 2011
The Chiefs signed restricted free-agent tackle Barry Richardson.
  • Chargers cornerback and punt returner Antoine Cason is now expected to miss 2-4 weeks with a broken finger. He could still potentially be kept out of the preseason.
  • The word is the Raiders may revisit bringing back offensive lineman Mario Henderson. The key for Henderson is controlling his weight.
  • The Chargers special teams' unit has a new name. I’m not interested in cute names. Here’s my question: Is the unit going to stop costing the team games this season?
  • Miami fans want Kyle Orton. But unless the Dolphins and Orton can come to a contract accord, trade talks will stay dead.

Report: Louis Murphy arrested

April, 3, 2011
The Gainesville Sun is reporting that Oakland receiver Louis Murphy was arrested Sunday morning and charged on three misdemeanor charges in Gainesville, Fla.

Murphy was reportedly arrested for possession of a drug without a valid prescription, failure to obey a police officer and resisting arrest without violence. The drug was reportedly Viagra.

Murphy, 23, has a combined 75 catches in his first two NFL seasons and he is a big part of Oakland’s plans. He is the third Oakland player to be arrested this offseason. Running back Michael Bush was arrested for suspicion of drunk driving and left tackle Mario Henderson was arrested for a concealed weapon.
Oakland free-agent tackle Mario Henderson will not get a free pass because there is an NFL lockout.

The NFL said it will expect its players to live up to the league’s personal conduct policy during the lockout. Thus, Henderson could be disciplined by the league when the lockout ends after his arrest Thursday for carrying a concealed weapon. There is no guarantee Oakland will try to re-sign Henderson. It is expected to try to upgrade the offensive line through the draft.

Here are some other AFC West-related nuggets on a Friday afternoon:

New Denver coach John Fox caught up with some old friends at an NCAA tournament game Thursday.

Here is a look at how strong-legged Denver kicker Matt Prater could benefit from a proposed new kickoff rule.

Former NFL coach Brian Billick takes a look at the Chiefs’ draft needs.

Oakland Hall of Fame tight end Dave Casper is not a fan of the lockout. He blames both the players and the owners. Here are some of Casper’s thoughts about the lockout mess:
Casper said he had "no idea" how the labor disagreement between the owners and NFL players would be resolved, likening the stalemate to a "bunch of 26-year-olds" showing their testosterone against owners "more afraid of each other in general. I just don't know," he said.

I wouldn’t be surprised to hear more former players chime in on this issue as it drags on.
Oakland Raiders free agent offensive lineman Mario Henderson was reportedly arrested in Florida on Thursday for carrying a concealed firearm.

Henderson, 26, was pulled over by Fort Myers police for playing music too loud in his vehicle. Reportedly, police asked Henderson if he had a gun in the car. Reportedly, Henderson did not correctly say where exactly the gun was. Henderson is reportedly not licensed to carry a concealed firearms permit.

Henderson started seven games at left tackle for Oakland in 2010, but he was replaced by Jared Veldheer. The arrest could affect Oakland’s decision whether or not to bring back Henderson in a backup role. The Raiders are expected to address the offensive line in the draft. Henderson could face disciplinary action from the NFL.

In other AFC West news, Kansas City stars Matt Cassel and Derrick Johnson could lose significant bonus checks during the lockout. Once these missed checks are digested by players, the reality of the lockout may truly start being felt.

Ryan Mathews expected to play Sunday

September, 21, 2010
San Diego expects rookie running back Ryan Mathews to play Sunday in Seattle. Mathews suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter of San Diego’s 38-13 rout of Jacksonville on Sunday and he did not return. Mathews said he was healthy enough to return. Still, the team decided against it because the Chargers had a big lead.

Oakland running back Michael Bush hopes to return to the field Sunday at Arizona. He has been out since Aug. 28 with a broken left thumb. Oakland should have formidable running attack with Darren McFadden and Bush when he returns.

Oakland will continue to rotate Jared Veldheer and Mario Henderson at left tackle. Veldheer moved back to tackle in Week 2 after starting at center in Week 4.

Oakland terminated the contract of fullback Luke Lawton.

Around the AFC West

September, 17, 2010

The Broncos are starting to air it out.

My take: It’s part of the maturation of Kyle Orton in Denver. Broncos coach Josh McDaniels clearly is more comfortable with Orton, and he trusts Orton more than he did a year ago. Orton didn’t throw deep much at all last year. Yet, in Week 1, he hit five plays of 25 yards or more. This is an important facet to Orton’s arsenal and to Denver’s offense.

Kansas City

The Chiefs extended the contract of linebacker Andy Studebaker.

My take: Nice call. Studebaker is a fun player to watch. He is a playmaker and an energizer. He is an overachiever who helps both on defense and on special teams. He’s the type of player good teams need on the roster. He is fairly inexpensive and he sells out on every play.


Left tackle Mario Henderson is taking a lot of heat after a poor performance in Week 1.

My take: Henderson wasn’t great, but let’s not target just him. The entire line struggled last week. It’s not just Henderson’s fault.

San Diego

Here is a look at four teams connected in Vincent Jackson trade talks.

My take: The list includes St. Louis, Seattle, Minnesota and Washington. I know several teams have considered trading for Jackson. A lot of people around the league believe Minnesota will emerge as the team that trades for Jackson. Still, San Diego must be satisfied in this deal or nothing will happen.
Our AFC West position-by-position rankings are continuing with the offensive line. We are going 14 players deep this year. If he is on the list, then he’s pretty good.

1. Ryan Clady, Denver, T: One of the best offensive linemen in the NFL. The Broncos hope he recovers from a partially torn patella tendon in his knee (which he suffered playing basketball) in time to start the season. Denver will miss him terribly if he can’t return right away.

2. Ryan Harris, Denver, T: Harris is an underrated player. He is a dominant right tackle who is extremely athletic. Denver’s offense suffered terribly when he injured his toe in the seventh game of last season.

3. Nick Hardwick, San Diego, C: Hardwick has been dealing with injuries in recent years. Still, he remains a top-flight center.

4. Kris Dielman, San Diego, G:He quietly goes about his business and is one of the better players at his craft. He’s a sturdy force on San Diego’s offense.

5. Marcus McNeill, San Diego, T: McNeill had a very good season in 2009. He is an upper-echelon left tackle and is just reaching his prime.

6. Chris Kuper, Denver, G: Kuper is a tough, hard-working player. Had Denver not given him a first-round tender, he likely would have been snapped up in restricted free agency.

7. Louis Vasquez, San Diego, G: He was the best rookie in the AFC West last year, becoming an instant impact player on the deepest line in the division.

8. Branden Albert, Kansas City, T: Albert is a work in progress. But he is a talented player. The Chiefs clearly think he can be the answer at left tackle or they would have taken Russell Okung instead of safety Eric Berry at No. 5 last month.

9. Robert Gallery, Oakland, G: Gallery is a solid player at guard. He is Oakland’s best offensive linemen. He needs better health in 2010.

10. Casey Wiegmann, Kansas City, C: Wiegmann may be aging, but expect him to help toughen the Chiefs’ offensive line with his return in 2010.

11. Brian Waters, Kansas City, G: Still, a very formable player. Waters is a pro’s pro. He's very steady. He’ll be a big reason why the Chiefs will run the ball well this season.

12. Ryan Lilja, Kansas City, G: He is another reason why Kansas City will be much better on the offensive line. He’s a rugged player.

13. Cooper Carlisle, Oakland, G: Carlisle just keeps ticking. Steady and quiet, he simply gets the job done.

14. Mario Henderson, Oakland, T: Henderson is still learning to play at the NFL level. He has a chance to be an above-average player.

AFC West headlines: Heyward-Bey emerges

May, 27, 2010
Denver Broncos

Alphonso Smith, a 2009 second-round draft pick, expects to play a larger role this season after being limited to nickel duty last season.

Kyle Orton is not the quarterback to lead the Broncos to a Super Bowl, according to the Denver Post's Woody Paige.

Kansas City Chiefs

Dwayne Bowe claims he did not tell ESPN the Magazine that players "imported" women to the team hotel during his rookie season, according to former Chiefs wide receiver Eddie Kennison.

The Chiefs dropped by Whiteman Air Force Base Wednesday as part of the VFW's "Return the Favor" program.

Oakland Raiders

The change at quarterback for the Raiders should make life easier for left tackle Mario Henderson.

Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is starting to perform in practice like a first-round pick.

San Diego Chargers

Defensive tackle Travis Johnson signed his one-year contract tender on Wednesday.

Tight end Antonio Gates was excused from minicamp to have his foot examined by a specialist.

Coach Norv Turner told safety Kevin Ellison to stay away from minicamp following his arrest on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance.

Video: On the Clock -- Raiders

April, 11, 2010

Mike Tirico, Mel Kiper Jr., Trent Dilfer and Chris Mortensen discuss the Oakland Raiders' needs in the NFL Draft.