AFC West: Mike Zimmer

AFC West teams avoid Titus Young

February, 5, 2013
None of the four AFC West teams claimed talented but troubled receiver Titus Young. He was waived by the Lions on Monday and St. Louis claimed him Tuesday. The Rams were the only team to put a claim on Young, a second-round pick in 2011.

Kansas City has the top claiming priority because it had the worst record in the NFL. While the Chiefs could use a talented young receiver, I agree with the team's decision to pass on Young.

In other AFC West news:
Now, that the San Diego Chargers have hired former Indianapolis executive Tom Telesco to take over as general manager, the search is fully focused on finding the team’s new head coach.

The plan is to make a hire by the end of next week. The Chargers, who fired general manager A.J. Smith and coach Norv Turner on Dec. 31, have started the coaching search, but Telesco takes over.

There have been several names connected to the job including former Chicago coach Lovie Smith, Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, UCLA coach Jim Mora and former Seattle and Green Bay coach Mike Holmgren.

I think Smith and Arians may be the favorites of that group, although anything could happen.

Two more names could be part of the team’s list as well. Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden could interest the team. Telesco played at John Carroll University with San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer could also be part of the process.

While the Chargers’ immediate ends are on offense, Telesco has worked in programs that have been led by both offensive and defensive-minded head coach.

Arians has long been considered a favorite for this job. the fact that he and Telesco were key parts of the team’s wonderful turnaround likely won’t hurt his chances. But I’m not sure if it increases the chances of Arians being hired because I think Telesco will be open minded.

Telesco is also connected to Smith in a round-about way. Telesco was with the Colts when Tony Dungy coached there. Smith is part of Dungy’s coaching tree. Overall, I think everything is one the table for San Diego as it fully concentrating on replacing Turner now that Telesco is in place.

UPDATE: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Arians will tentively is set to interview with the Chargers on Monday.

Final Word: AFC West

November, 23, 2012
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 12:

Chiefs need to harass Manning: Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said earlier this week his team needs to play perfect to beat the Denver Broncos on Sunday. That means the Chiefs, who have a solid pass rush, must make Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning uncomfortable. That won’t be easy. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Manning has been sacked or put under duress just 13.9 percent of his drop backs this season. It is the lowest rate in the NFL. The league average is 21.1 percent.

[+] EnlargeOakland's Carson Palmer
Rob Carr/Getty ImagesCarson Palmer will face his former team, the Cincinnati Bengals, on Sunday.
Bengals should be well prepared to face Palmer: Carson Palmer is badly going to want to beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. The Bengals traded Palmer to Oakland in October of last year. Palmer was the quarterback in Cincinnati from 2004 through the 2010 season before he essentially retired from the team because he wanted to be traded. Expect the Bengals to fiercely game plan for him. While Palmer knows the Bengals well, they have three coaches who know Palmer’s every move, instinct and thought -- head coach Marvin Lewis, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and defensive assistant Hue Jackson. They all coached Palmer. They all worked very closely with him or against him in practice. Palmer will have to be at his very best to beat the Bengals because of the intimate knowledge that will go into their game plan.

Chargers need to step up: The San Diego Chargers are 4-6 and have lost five of the past six games. But they are just two games out of a wild-card position, so if they can beat the Baltimore Ravens, San Diego could have some life. But the Chargers will be challenged to beat the 8-2 Ravens. The Chargers have not beaten a team that currently has a winning record. Their next three opponents are all AFC North foes. Cincinnati comes to San Diego next week and then the Chargers go to Pittsburgh. All three teams are .500 or better.

Denver stout against the run: The best thing going for the Chiefs’ offense is running back Jamaal Charles. Expect the Broncos’ defense to concentrate on stopping him. And Denver's defense is playing great against the run. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Denver’s run defense is second in the NFL with opposing teams averaging just 2.1 yards per rush before contact. Against San Diego last week, Denver hit the runner at or behind the line of scrimmage on nine of 23 rush attempts.

Ravens tough on the AFC West: Baltimore is 2-0 against the AFC West this season and 8-1 in its past nine games against the division heading into its game at San Diego. The good news for San Diego is the Ravens’ lone loss during that stretch came in San Diego in Week 15 last season. Also, the Ravens have won five straight games against teams with losing records. Yes, their last loss to a team with a losing record came in Week 15 of last season.
The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that an unnamed team has offered Oakland a second-round pick this year and a first-round pick next year for the No. 8 overall choice next month.

Getting a first-round pick in 2011 would be intriguing to Oakland because it gave up its top pick to New England for defensive end Richard Seymour.

Still, this seems a little steep. Oakland really needs its top pick this year. The Raiders need too much to not have a pick until No. 39. There is bound to be plenty of moving and shaking in the next 23 days before the draft starts. It seems like the draft-pick jockeying has begun.

The Kansas City Chiefs hired Adam Zimmer as a defensive assistant/assistant linebacker coach. He was with New Orleans. He is the son of Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

Dallas sources are shooting down talk that running back Marion Barber could be on the trade block. If he were on the block, it wouldn’t be a surprise if San Diego looked into it. The Chargers are expected to draft at least one running back.

Quarterback Chris Simms, who was recently cut by Denver, visited Tennessee on Tuesday.

The Raiders and Chargers were represented at the Pro Day of Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant on Tuesday.

Chargers to host emotional Bengals

December, 17, 2009
The San Diego Chargers have become part of the biggest story in the NFL right now.

The Chargers will host the heartbroken Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. The Bengals are mourning the loss of receiver Chris Henry. He died Thursday at the age of 26 after suffering major head injuries in an auto accident in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.

Sunday’s game has been anticipated because of its major playoff ramifications. The winner will have the inside track on the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.

Now, it will be watched to see how the Bengals rebound emotionally. Henry will obviously be on the team’s mind during the game. The team has announced that coaches will wear pins to remember Henry and players will wear helmet stickers in Henry’s memory.

This is the second time this season the Bengals have had to play days after enduring a tragedy. Earlier this season, the wife of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer died suddenly. The Bengals went out and won an emotionally-charged game at Baltimore three days later.

Now, the Bengals have to try to do it again in San Diego.