AFC West: Mike Brown’s John Clayton reported that Chiefs free-agent safety Mike Brown had a tryout with Arizona on Thursday.

Brown was a key figure in his one season with the Chiefs. He had 103 tackles and three interceptions last season. He was a leader of the defense and a favorite of coach Todd Haley.

However, Brown is 32 and he had some issues in coverage last season. The fact that the Chiefs haven’t made a push to re-sign Brown shows they are looking to upgrade the position. There appears to be a strong chance Kansas City will use the No. 5 overall pick on Tennessee safety Eric Berry. He had a pre-draft visit with the team last week.

AFC West: Free-agency primer

March, 3, 2010

Potential unrestricted free agents: P Mitch Berger, S Vernon Fox, T Brandon Gorin, Nick Greisen, G Ben Hamilton, G Russ Hochstein, DE Vonnie Holliday, CB Ty Law, WR Brandon Lloyd

Potential restricted free agents: LB Elvis Dumervil, OL Chris Kuper, WR Brandon Marshall, QB Kyle Orton, TE Tony Scheffler, DT Le Kevin Smith

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: The Broncos’ restricted class is talented. That will be the focus. It has been reported that Marshall, Orton, Dumervil, Scheffler and Kuper will all get one-year tenders. Marshall very well could be traded. It wouldn’t be a shock if Dumervil gets some action on the restricted market. Miami could be interested.

Kansas City

Potential unrestricted free agents: OL Andy Alleman, S Mike Brown, WR Chris Chambers, WR Terrance Copper, TE Sean Ryan, C Wade Smith, LB Mike Vrabel, WR Bobby Wade

Potential restricted free agents: RB Jackie Battle, QB Brodie Croyle, LB Derrick Johnson, LB Corey Mays, OL Ikechuku Ndukwe, OL Rudy Niswanger, OL Ryan O'Callaghan, S Jarrad Page

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: The Chiefs are interested in keeping some of their unrestricted free agents. General manager Scott Pioli said at the combine the team has been in contact with several of their free agents. Chambers is the focus. The team is trying to keep him. Brown and Vrabel could also return with new deals.


Potential unrestricted free agents: S Hiram Eugene, G Cornell Green, T Langston Walker, LB Sam Williams

Potential restricted free agents: LB Jon Alston, OL Khalif Barnes, LB Ricky Brown, LB Jon Condo, QB Charlie Frye, QB Bruce Gradkowski, LB Thomas Howard, RB Luke Lawton, OL Chris Morris, LB Kirk Morrison, CB Stanford Routt, RB Gary Russell

Franchise player: DE Richard Seymour.

What to expect: The Raiders franchised Seymour and signed kicker Sebastian Janikowski to a record deal, so they’ve already been busy. It will be interesting to see how they tender Howard and Morrison. The Raiders could use some new life at linebacker and this could be the start of it.

San Diego

Potential unrestricted free agents: DT Alfonso Boone, TE Brandon Manumaleuna, C Dennis Norman, WR Kassim Osgood. T Jon Runyan, DT Ian Scott, TE Kris Wilson

Potential restricted free agents: OL Jeromey Clary, LB Tim Dobbins, WR Malcom Floyd, DT Antonio Garay, OL Eric Ghiaciuc, LB Marques Harris, WR Vincent Jackson, DT Travis Johnson, OL Marcus McNeill, LB Shawne Merriman, RB Darren Sproles, QB Charlie Whitehurst

Franchise player: None

What to expect: The Chargers have their hands full. It’s been reported they will give high tenders to Jackson, Merriman, McNeill and Floyd. Jackson and McNeill could still attract some interest on the restricted market. Sproles is not expected to be tendered, making him a free agent. The Chargers want him back. But if Sproles hits the open market, the multifaceted weapon could be scooped up quickly.

Free agency: AFC West

February, 15, 2010
AFC Free Agency: East | West | North | South NFC: East | West | North | South

An early look at the free-agent situation in the AFC West.

Note: These projected lists reflect notable unrestricted free agents for each team. The NFL will not issue an official list of free agents until the signing period begins March 5.

[+] EnlargeChris Chambers
AP Photo/Charlie RiedelKansas City wide receiver Chris Chambers had 608 yards on 36 receptions after being acquired off waivers in November.
Denver Broncos

Unrestricted free agents: P Mitch Berger, S Vernon Fox, T Brandon Gorin, Nick Greisen, G Ben Hamilton, G Russ Hochstein, DE Vonnie Holliday, CB Ty Law, WR Brandon Lloyd.

Key figures: There isn’t much here. The team could bring back Hochstein, Holliday and Law, but they are all complementary pieces. It’s all about the restricted free-agent class in Denver. The Broncos have to figure out what they are going to do with receiver Brandon Marshall, defensive end Elvis Dumervil, quarterback Kyle Orton and tight end Tony Scheffler.

Kansas City Chiefs

Unrestricted free agents: S Mike Brown, WR Chris Chambers, WR Terrance Copper, TE Sean Ryan, C Wade Smith, LB Mike Vrabel, WR Bobby Wade,

Key figures: Chambers will be Kansas City's priority. He gave the Chiefs’ offense a big spark after he was claimed off waivers in November. The team’s brass really likes what Brown and Vrabel bring to the team and both could be back in Kansas City at the right price. Wade also could be brought back.

Oakland Raiders

Unrestricted free agents: Hiram Eugene, G Cornell Green, K Sebastian Janikowski, DE Richard Seymour, T Langston Walker, LB Sam Williams

Key figures: It’s all about Seymour and Janikowski. The Raiders are trying to get long-term deals with both players done. If new deals aren’t struck, watch for Oakland to put the franchise and transition tags on them. Oakland will do anything it can not to lose either player.

San Diego Chargers

Unrestricted free agents: DT Alfonso Boone, TE Brandon Manumaleuna, C Dennis Norman, WR Kassim Osgood. T Jon Runyan, DT Ian Scott, TE Kris Wilson

Key figures: The team would like to bring back Osgood, one of the best special-teams players in the NFL. But Osgood wants a chance to be a receiver and the opportunity might not be in San Diego. The Chargers will spend most of their energy on their restricted class. The priorities are receiver Vincent Jackson, tackle Marcus McNeill, linebacker Shawne Merriman, running back Darren Sproles and receiver Malcom Floyd.

AFC West players to watch

November, 19, 2009
The following is four players from each AFC West team to watch in Week 11:

Denver, Brian Dawkins, safety: Dawkins has become the clear leader of the Broncos. He is an emotional leader and is still playing at high level. It will be up to Dawkins to get his team on the right track in a huge game against San Diego after three straight losses

Kansas City, Mike Brown, safety: Brown has become one of the Chiefs’ best players. The veteran is a savvy, smart player. He had two interceptions against Oakland last week, including one to win the game. If the Chiefs have any chance against the Steelers, Brown will need to play a big game.

Oakland, Michael Bush, running back: Bush is developing into one of Oakland’s top offensive threats. He had 119 yards on 14 carries last week. Oakland needs a spark and Bush has to get more chances to help.

San Diego, Vincent Jackson, receiver: Jackson is one of the best players in the NFL. But he was held to just 10 yards receiving against Philadelphia. The Chargers’ other weapons did enough damage to make up for Jackson being taken out of the game. Still, he is a top player and he needs to find a way to do damage against Denver.

Kansas City safety honored

November, 18, 2009
Kansas City safety Mike Brown became the first Chiefs safety in more than 12 years to win the AFC Defensive Player of the Week award.

Brown won the honor after he had two interceptions in the fourth quarter, including one that sealed the game in the final seconds. He also had a personal best four passes defensed. Kansas City won 16-10.

Brown has been an outstanding contributor for Kansas City this season after he signed in the summer as a free agent. He has been a leader and a playmaker. He is a favorite of coach Todd Haley.

The last time Kansas City had a safety win the award was Jerome Woods in Week 5 of 1997.

How I See It: AFC West Stock Watch

November, 17, 2009
NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South


1. Chris Simms, Broncos quarterback: No one is going to be clamoring for Simms to get playing time after his horrible performance Sunday as an injury replacement to Kyle Orton. Simms replaced Orton, who injured his ankle, in the second half.

Simms cost Denver the game at Washington as he was 3-of-13 passing, including a crucial interception. Simms may have to play Sunday against San Diego in a game for first place in the AFC West. Simms looks like he’s far from being a quality starting quarterback.

2. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders wide receiver: The No. 7 overall pick is getting plenty of chances to show he was a quality choice. But he has been unable to prove it. Heyward-Bey has one of the worst pair of hands among receivers in the NFL and he proved that Sunday against Kansas City. He dropped a perfect pass from JaMarcus Russell at the Kansas City 2-yard line. Then, in the final seconds, he had a ball bounce out of his hands that Chiefs safety Mike Brown intercepted to seal the game. Heyward-Bey has been a big disappointment and now he’s costing Oakland games.

3. Denver Broncos: The Broncos are falling in general. They have lost three straight games and are making mistakes on both sides of the ball. Their masterful 6-0 start is a distant memory. The Broncos will try to end their three-game skid against the visiting Chargers on Sunday.


1. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs running back: The second-year back had a nice day in the Chiefs’ first game after cutting running back Larry Johnson. Charles had 103 yards on 18 carries. He scored a touchdown on a 44-yard run on fourth and 1.

Charles has great speed and he is giving the Chiefs a boost in the post-Johnson era.

2. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers running back: Tomlinson had his best game of the season. He had 96 yards in 24 carries and scored two touchdowns. Those numbers are nowhere near the numbers Tomlinson, 30, displayed in his heyday. But he did enough to help San Diego keep pressure off the passing game and keep Philadelphia’s defense honest. If Tomlinson can establish a solid rushing attack each week, the Chargers will be difficult to beat.

3. Michael Bush, Raiders running back: Oakland’s big, bruising tailback had a nice game in a losing effort. Oakland has solid running backs but it has been unable to establish much of a running game. Bush had 119 yards on 14 carries. He's big and tough and he can break long plays. Bush needs to get more chances.
OAKLAND -- OK, the Raiders just made it very difficult for JaMarcus Russell to become a productive quarterback the rest of the season.

Oakland benched Russell for the second time in three weeks Sunday against Kansas City,

The major difference between Sundays’s benching against the Chiefs and the benching against the Jets was that Sunday’s game was still in question when he was taken out. The Raiders were trailing 13-10 when Russell was taken out late in the third quarter.

It was a sign that Oakland doesn’t think Russell can help it win.

Now what? Will be given the starting job back next week against Cincinnati or will Bruce Gradkowski become the starter? Gradkowski led a late rally before rookie receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey let a ball bounce out of his hands and into the hands of Kansas City safety Mike Brown to end the game.

How can Russell's uncertain status not have an adverse mental affect on him?

Russell was clearly upset when he was benched.

He wasn’t terrible Sunday. He had seven dropped passes. Russell was 9 of 24 for 67 yards. He threw back-to-back excellent deep balls in the second quarter, but he was the victim of a drop and a penalty.

Russell seemed to make strides.

But Oakland didn’t think so.

Now, it will have to decide if it thinks he can quarterback the team anymore as the team enters a stretch in which it plays Cincinnati, Dallas and Pittsburgh.

The Raiders may be 2-7, but once again the intrigue continues.

For Kansas City, the Chiefs took advantage of a porous Oakland team and they made more plays than the Raiders.

The Chiefs are making small strides and they reached the 2-7 mark. But unlike Oakland, at least the Chiefs are sticking with their players as they move forward.

Three players to watch

October, 22, 2009
Posted by’s Bill Williamson

Denver has a bye this week.

Kansas City: Mike Brown, safety: The former Chicago star is helping the Chiefs. He is a leader off the field and is making an impact on it. He is a favorite of coach Todd Haley. Brown is a hard hitter and a playmaker. If the Chiefs have a chance to win their second straight game, against visiting San Diego, Brown must have a big game.

Oakland: Nnamdi Asomugha, cornerback: Asomugha missed most of the Raiders’ impressive victory over the Eagles on Sunday with an eye injury. He is expected to be fine for Sunday’s game against the visiting Jets. The Raiders are a much better team with Asomugha. If Oakland can continue its defensive resurgence Sunday with Asomugha on the field, they could be in business.

San Diego: LaDainian Tomlinson, running back: Tomlinson had his best game of the season in a loss to Denver on Sunday. He had 70 yards on 18 carries. He moved well. Let’s see if Tomlinson can build on the momentum Sunday at Kansas City.

AFC West news and notes

September, 10, 2009
Posted by’s Bill Williamson
  • There is reportedly new information in the Shawne Merriman case.
  • Tackle Jon Runyan visited the Eagles, who he starred for, Thursday. Runyan tried out for the Chiefs on Wednesday.
  • The Chiefs also need receivers and they could show interest in Bobby Wade, who was cut by the Vikings. The Chiefs also had an interest in receiver David Tyree, who was cut by the Giants last weekend. He worked out in Baltimore on Tuesday.
  • Kansas City safety Mike Brown is showing the leadership qualities that attracted the Chiefs to him.
  • Former Oakland coach John Madden is working closely with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. So, any hopes of Raiders fans that Madden will join the Raiders in a role have been dashed.
  • I’m still hearing the Raiders could show an interest in tackle Langston Walker. He was cut by Buffalo this week. Walker previously played for the Raiders, who have a need for tackles.

Chiefs: Cutdown analysis

September, 5, 2009
Posted by’s Bill Williamson

Biggest surprise: The decision to cut safety Bernard Pollard. He will likely be picked up on waivers elsewhere. It was reported that Pollard was being offered in a trade Friday. Pollard did struggle in coverage and the Chiefs wanted veteran newcomer Mike Brown to start, so Pollard was expendable. Zach Thomas’ release has to be looked at as a mild surprise, because he was brought in to be a leader. But Thomas couldn’t stay healthy and the Chiefs like young linebacker Corey Mays, so Thomas was expendable.

No brainer: The Chiefs’ decision to keep four quarterbacks on the roster to start the season. That decision was forced because the team doesn’t know if starter Matt Cassel will be ready to play in the season opener Sept. 13 at Baltimore. He has a knee injury. Cassel will try to practice this week and play, but if he can’t, Brodie Croyle or Tyler Thigpen (probably Croyle) will have to play against the Ravens. The team also has Matt Gutierrez on the roster. He has a history with new Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli from their New England days and he has played well in the preseason. When Cassel is fully healthy, Kansas City will likely get rid of a quarterback (perhaps Thigpen). But they can’t do anything until Cassel’s health improves

What’s next: Expect the Chiefs to be busy. They have the third highest waiver priority in the league and I’d expect Kansa City to scour the waiver wire for help at several positions. The Chiefs will search for help on the offensive line and on at receiver in particular. I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to obtain multiple players at both positions. Perhaps Kansas City will look at tackle Ryan O’Callaghan, who was just cut by the Patriots. He has seven starts and Pioli needs tackles and knows O’Callaghan. It’s been reported that Seattle would like to trade receiver Deion Branch. I wouldn’t be shocked if Kansas City showed interest.

AFC West news and notes

September, 4, 2009
Posted by’s Bill Williamson

The National Football Post reported that the Chiefs are talking about trading safeties Bernard Pollard . The team loves veteran Mike Brown and wants to get him more playing time. It’s risky, though, because Brown is 31 and injury-prone.

ESPN’s John Clayton said Friday that it wouldn’t be a complete shock if Oakland cuts quarterback Jeff Garcia, partly because he may be unhappy being a backup. That would be very intriguing.

The Chargers are resting several starters in tonight’s preseason finale.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports Denver waived injured cornerback Josh Bell.

The Oakland Tribune looks at players who were cut Friday and wonders if they could fit in with the Raiders.

Here is a prediction that the Chiefs will win the AFC West. Seriously.

Lots of great AFC West-related nuggets here.

Ranking the defenses in the AFC West

September, 4, 2009

Posted by’s Bill Williamson

Earlier this summer, we ranked the offenses in the AFC West. Now, it’s time to rank the defenses in the division.

While the offenses all have some good pieces, most of the division’s defenses aren’t in great shape. It’s one of the biggest reasons why this division is not expected to be strong in 2009.

Let’s rank them:

1. San Diego:
The Chargers’ defense had an uneven season in 2008, but it finished strong.

A major reason why we expect it to start strong this season: Defensive coordinator Ron Rivera has had a full offseason to prepare his team. He took over for the fired Ted Cottrell at midseason last year. The Chargers had instant success under Rivera, particularly in the pass-defense game.

The Chargers expect further improvement under Rivera this year, especially with the return of star outside linebacker Shawne Merriman. He missed all but one game last season with a knee injury. The Chargers missed Merriman’s pass rush (he led the NFL with 39.5 sacks in his first three NFL seasons) and his fire. Without him, the Chargers got pushed around. He has acknowledged that his knee likely won’t be fully recovered for a few weeks into the regular season, but his presence alone should help immensely.

The Chargers drafted Larry English in the first round to improve the pass rush and they are excited about linebacker Shaun Phillips’ role. Expect a lot of creative packages to come from the mind of Rivera.

Those changes should help cornerback Antonio Cromartie have a rebound year. He struggled badly in 2008 but has looked good so far this summer.

If the Chargers don’t suffer any major injuries, expect a solid year from this talented unit.

2. Kansas City:
It gets dicey here. The Chiefs, Broncos and Raiders all have big problems on defense. But from the look of the preseason, we are giving the Chiefs a slight edge. There isn’t much separating this trio, however.

OK, so it’s not a rousing endorsement, but there are some things to be encouraged about within the Chiefs’ defense.

New defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast has the team running a 3-4 scheme. So far in the preseason, the Kansas City defense appears to be further along than the offense. The unit has been aggressive and has not been embarrassed.

The Chiefs are excited about their defensive front, which features Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey, who were top five picks in the past two drafts. The Chiefs hope these two can create a semblance of a professional pass rush. Kansas City set an NFL record for the fewest sacks last year with 10.

The Chiefs have an interesting mix of youth and veteran leadership at linebacker and there are some playmakers in the secondary, including Brandon Flowers and Mike Brown.

Pendergast is creative and there is enough talent here that Kansas City could make some defensive strides.

3. Denver:
Like Pendergast in Kansas City, new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is doing some nice things with Denver’s defense.

Nolan is running a 3-4 scheme as the Broncos try to reconstruct one of the worst defensive units in the league. Nolan’s approach looks to be much more aggressive than it was last season and much more active in attacking the ball.

Still, in the second and third preseason games, the first-team defense allowed more than 300 yards passing. Denver concentrated on the pass defense in free agency as it reshaped the secondary to go along with star left cornerback Champ Bailey. Still, Denver did bring in some nice veteran talent to the secondary in the form of Brian Dawkins, Renaldo Hill and Andre Goodman. So eventually, this group should be fine.

The big issue is on the defensive front. The Broncos have a very raw front three. It if can play beyond expectations, Denver’s defense may not be as bad as expected.

4: Oakland:
Raiders fans are going to be up in arms at this ranking. But really, do we have any other choice after what has happened this preseason?

No, no, we don’t.

The Raiders’ defense, which has struggled in recent seasons, has been brutal this preseason. Oakland’s first-team defense allowed New Orleans to score 31 points in the first half last weekend.

Oakland’s run defense has been alarmingly bad. It has allowed 507 yards on the ground in the second and third preseason games. Oakland was ranked No. 31 in the NFL against the run last season.

Oakland didn’t do much to change defensively other than to bring in new coordinator John Marshall. So far, the change doesn’t appear to have helped.

Again, there is not much separating the bottom three defenses here. They’ve all been bad recently. But the Raiders appear to have made the fewest strides in the preseason, so that why they head into the regular season with this ranking.
  G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images
  Todd Haley, the new coach for Kansas City, has made his players feel his presence during the offseason and training camp.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

RIVER FALLS, Wis. --- The Kansas City Chiefs are tired.

And they should be.

Camp Haley has been no pleasure cruise.

The Chiefs, who break camp Thursday, have undergone a harsh transition from the cushy Herm Edwards days to the no-breaks, harsh methods of new coach Todd Haley. Mimicking new general manager Scott Pioli's humorless ways, Haley has not been easy on his troops.

Camp Confidential: AFC West
Raiders: Fri., July 31
Chargers: Tues., Aug. 4
Broncos: Wed., Aug. 12
Chiefs: Thurs., Aug. 20
Training camp index

It's all about making the Chiefs -- who have won a total of six games the past two years -- "hard to beat," Haley said.

"I think this camp had to be tough," Haley said Wednesday. "We need a mental toughness .... I've been on teams that have turned it around and each of those teams needed to get tougher."

In the offseason, Haley stressed conditioning and made his team lose weight. Then, he held a conditioning test before the start of camp. Several well-known players didn't pass, thus delaying their camp starting date. Camp practices in this idyllic Wisconsin college town have been long and hard-hitting.

Haley is often heard barking his displeasure at his team and often his media briefings smack of an unsatisfied coach.

Further getting everyone's attention, Haley broke down standout receiver Dwayne Bowe. The team's best receiver was made a third stringer. But the tough love has worked. Bowe has responded and it's been a lesson learned for the entire team.

Haley knows he has a lot of work to do with this team. The Chiefs are being reconstructed. Haley knows it's not going to be easy, but he's bent on making it work.

"I've seen good progress," Haley said. "This team is much tougher than it was a few months ago. But we have to keep on improving."

(Read full post)

Three and Out: Chiefs

August, 12, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Three quick hits on the Kansas City Chiefs:

The Matt Cassel watch: It's not a shocker that Cassel is the focal point of the Chiefs' camp. He was acquired from New England with the hopes that he was more than a one-year wonder as Tom Brady's injury replacement. The Chiefs gave Cassel a fat deal that will pay him more than $40 million in the next three years. From what I have heard (I go to Kansas City's camp next week), Cassel has looked good in camp. He was just average in a scrimmage last weekend. I think Cassel is making strides and will end up being more than a serviceable quarterback in 2009.

Dorsey needs to step up: Defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey missed several days of training camp because he was not in good enough condition to practice.

Football Outsiders
The Football Outsiders use their unique brand of analysis to break down each of the league's 32 teams.
Kansas City Chiefs
That was not a good start to a pivotal time for Dorsey. The Chiefs are switching to a 3-4 defense and Dorsey will be playing defensive end, which is not his natural position. Dorsey was the No. 5 overall draft pick by the former regime because of his stout play at defensive tackle. He was average as a rookie, but he showed flashes. Now, Dorsey needs all the time he can get at defensive end. He didn't do himself any favors by not being in shape. Dorsey can still salvage this camp and be ready to contribute early in the regular season, but he has to catch up quickly.

Mike Brown has been impressive: I have heard veteran safety Mike Brown has impressed the new regime early in camp. Kansas City signed Brown earlier this summer. This can be a great signing if Brown can stay healthy, which has been a major trick in recent seasons. When healthy, the safety is a playmaker and he can be a huge part of a young defense. At minimum, Brown is a first-rate leader. If he can make an impact on the field, it will be gravy for the young Chiefs.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

While progress has been made, Tyson Jackson is not signed in Kansas City and neither is Denver's Knowshon Moreno. Still, the negotiations continue Friday in both cities and deals could be struck soon.

Denver safety Brian Dawkins is out for two weeks after breaking his hand, the Denver Post reports. Under this timetable, Dawkins will have plenty of time to heal before the season starts Sept. 13.

Are the Chiefs interested in Michael Vick? I don't see it. The Chiefs already have too many quarterbacks on the roster.

An update on the compensation Oakland will receive in the Derrick Burgess deal.

Denver kicker Matt Prater is struggling, but the team is not considering replacing him at this point.

Denver running back LaMont Jordan is being sued by a casino.