AFC West: Matt Roth

Here are some thoughts on Denver coach John Fox's quick hiring of former Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio to succeed Dennis Allen, who has been named Oakland’s head coach.

McClain
Nice score: Many Denver fans might have upset that Allen left; however, Del Rio is a terrific hire by the Broncos. Fox said Wednesday that he was in no hurry to find a replacement for Allen, but the quick hiring of Del Rio shows Fox felt great about this move. Though Del Rio had been on the market for several weeks, this reconnection between Del Rio and Fox — Del Rio was Fox’s first defensive coordinator in Carolina in 2002 before becoming Jacksonville head coach in 2003 — should ease the mind of Denver fans.

Seven is not a problem: Though Del Rio is Denver’s seventh defensive coordinator in seven years, this shouldn't be an issue due to the compatibility between Del Rio and Fox, who has a defensive background himself. Del Rio knows that this is Fox’s team and it is his defense. Allen deserves a lot of credit for turning Denver’s defense – the worst in the NFL in 2010 – into a competitive group. But the coaching started with Fox. He will continue using his system.

Fox loves familiarity: Fox closed the deal so quickly with Del Rio that there wasn’t time to find other candidates. Clearly, Fox focused on his former assistant as soon as Allen took the Oakland job. That means Fox is confident in his new choice.

More experience than Allen: Allen, 39, got the Oakland job after one year’s experience as the Broncos coordinator. Del Rio, 48 and coming off nine seasons as a head coach, is much more seasoned.

Recruiting means something: Even though Denver improved as a defense under Allen, it still needs to reload. Perhaps Del Rio will turn for help to a pair of defensive ends he coached in Jacksonville — Matt Roth and Jeremy Mincey, both free agents.

Afternoon AFC West notes

August, 11, 2011
8/11/11
4:57
PM ET
ESPN’s Ed Werder caught up with Tim Tebow in Dallas preparing for Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Cowboys.

Tebow told Werder he plans to show the coaches that it is in games where he shines. Tebow has not looked great in training camp this summer.

"Practice and meetings count, but there's extra credit when you get into game situations because that's how you're judged,” Tebow said. “Either you can score touchdowns or you can't; either you make good decisions for your team or you don't.”

An Insider piece Insider ponders if Tebow or Ricky Stanzi could be the next Kevin Kolb.

Jerricho Cotchery signed with the Steelers, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He was the favorite target of San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers at North Carolina State. The Chargers ended up not showing major interest, because they liked their group of receivers after keeping starter Malcom Floyd.

Pass rusher Matt Roth signed with Jacksonville. He was connected to Denver.

In a radio interview, Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli discusses the team’s approach to free agency.

Mike and Mike break down the Broncos.

Denver’s stadium may get a name change.
Justin Houston's holdout is over.

It’s about time the team and Houston came to terms.

The Kansas City Star reported the defensive end/linebacker from Georgia has agreed to terms with the team. He was a third-round pick. Houston was one of the last two draft picks in the NFL to sign. He missed a week of training camp.

It is rare for third-round picks to be one of the last holdouts in the league. Houston has a chance to contribute as a pass-rusher as a rookie. He will have to make up for some lost time, but I could see Houston quickly earning playing time if he performs well in the preseason.

In other AFC West notes:

San Diego free-agent receiver Legedu Naanee has signed with Carolina. The Chargers want to add at the position, but never made an attempt to keep Naanee.

Teams now have until 4 p.m. ET Friday to clear cap room.

The Oakland Tribune says Kevin Boss’ signing is Oakland is not a sure thing.

UPDATE: Oakland coach Hue Jackson said top Oakland running back Darren McFadden has a broken orbital bone. He is expected to miss two weeks. While it’s never good for a top player to be injured, I won’t expect this to hamper McFadden in the regular season at all. Restricted free agent running back Michael Bush has not signed his tender. I wouldn’t be surprised if he signs after the Raiders resolve their cap issues Friday. I wouldn’t worry about Bush unless next week rolls around and he still isn’t with the team.

Malcom Floyd’s expected deal with Baltimore reportedly could come Friday.

Former San Diego first-round pick Buster Davis signed with the Bills. He has a chance to stick if he can stay healthy.

Pass rusher Matt Roth is reportedly getting interest from the Broncos.



AFC West notes

July, 24, 2011
7/24/11
5:15
PM ET
In an Insider piece, the Football Outsiders look at the top priority for each NFL team once the league year opens. There is a heavy AFC West presence throughout the piece. Check it out. It’s good food for thought.
  • Fox Sports reports that former Ohio State quarterback Terelle Pryor may not be eligible for the supplemental draft. The draft has yet to be scheduled. There has been a lot of speculation Pryor could attract interest from Oakland.
  • NFL.com looks at the importance of Vincent Jackson in San Diego’s offense. There’s no doubt, the Chargers are much more dangerous with Jackson on the field. He proved that in his cameo role last year after his holdout ended.
  • The Kansas City Star believes Chiefs’ general manager Scott Pioli must live up to his strong reputation as the Chiefs enter an important time. In fairness to Pioli, he has more than lived up to his reputation in his two-plus years in Kansas City. I think continued success should be expected.

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