AFC West: Shaun Smith

Links: Rivals' efforts to catch Broncos

July, 17, 2013
Denver Broncos

The Broncos swept through the AFC West last season and they're the clear favorites to win the division in 2013. Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post takes a look at how the Broncos' division foes tried to rebuild this offseason.

Ken Pomponio of Yahoo! Sports has five burning questions the Broncos must face this season, including how the secondary will respond after last season's divisional playoff disappointment.

Quentin Jammer spent 11 seasons at cornerback in San Diego. A switch to safety in Denver? No problem for Jammer, writes Gray Caldwell of the team's website.

The team's website has a Q&A with defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.

Kansas City Chiefs

Some Seahawks backers are attempting to get CenturyLink Field into the Guinness Book of Records as the loudest stadium on Earth. The Kansas City Star reports that a group of Chiefs fans dubbed "Terrorhead Returns" is looking to counter that.

A checklist of what the Chiefs are taking to training camp in St. Joseph, Mo.

Former Chiefs defensive lineman Shaun Smith, now a free agent after 11 seasons, tells Arrowhead Pride that he's still got something left in the tank. And he'd also love to retire someday as a Chief.

Oakland Raiders profiles Stacy McGee, the team's sixth-round pick out of Oklahoma.'s "Through the Years" series takes a look at the Raiders' contests with the Washington Redskins.

San Diego Chargers

Do the Chargers have the greatest uniforms in NFL history? Chargers fans, here's where you can show your support.
Shaun Smith almost re-joined the Kansas City Chiefs in September.

A favorite of coach Romeo Crennel, the Chiefs brought Smith back on to the team on Monday, according to the Kansas City Star.

The signing of the defensive tackle makes you wonder if defensive end Glenn Dorsey’s calf injury is serious, after he re-injured it at San Diego on Thursday. It was his first game back after missing several weeks. It means Dorsey’s time in Kansas City may to be coming to an end. When Dorsey was selected with the No. 5 pick in the 2008 NFL draft, many expected him to become a dominant player. He turned out to be serviceable, but far from dominant.

Expect Smith, who also played for Crennel in Cleveland, to be part of the rotation. I wouldn’t think the team would sign a veteran like Smith, who has not played this season but is said to be in good shape, to just to sit him on the bench.
As expected, the San Diego Chargers will put receiver Vincent Brown on injured reserve.

However, Brown will be able to be taken off the injured reserve, per new NFL rules, when he is healthy. He is expected to miss about half the season after breaking his ankle in the second preseason game. He is eligible to return after eight games. By putting Brown on the injured reserve, the Chargers can add a player to the roster now. The team has been looking for help on the offensive line and at cornerback.

In other AFC West news:

Cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke reportedly has cleared waivers. Oakland cut the 2011 third-round pick Monday after he struggled in the preseason. It is somewhat surprising another team didn’t take a chance on a speedy, young, high pick.

CLARIFICATION: Van Dyke is not eligible for any practice squad because he played in 14 games last season, which is beyond the NFL limit for practice squad eligibility. Thus, he can only be signed to a 53-man roster.

Oakland receivers Denarius Moore (hamstring) and Jacoby Ford (foot) did not practice Tuesday. The team has maintained it believes both players should be ready to play Monday against San Diego. However, because he is just starting to jog, Ford may have less of a chance to play than Moore.

Rookie receiver Juron Criner is reportedly dealing with an ankle issue. If these injuries do not improve through the week, Oakland may have to look for receiver help. That decision likely wouldn’t happen until later in the week.

Left tackle Bryant McKinnie restructured his contract to remain with the Ravens. Had he been cut, I’d think the Chargers would have seriously considered pursuing him. The team is staring undrafted rookie Mike Harris against Oakland next week because starter Jared Gaither is out with a back ailment.

Miami is cutting backup quarterback David Garrard. At this point, I don’t think any of the teams in the AFC West would rush to sign him.

Don’t expect the Chiefs to sign free agent defensive tackle Shaun Smith this week. I think the Chiefs will wait to see what they have at nose tackle before deciding if they want more help. Smith tried out for the Chiefs last week. He previously played for the Chiefs.

Here is a look at the AFC West’s representatives at the NFL’s kickoff festivities this week.

The Chargers signed tackle Kevin Haslam to the practice squad. He was cut by the Raiders on Friday.
Click here for the complete list of Kansas City Chiefs' roster moves.

Most significant move: I found it interesting that defensive tackle Amon Gordon was cut. Gordon is solid, but far from special. But it could open a spot for Shaun Smith. Smith, who was recently cut by the Titans, tried out for the Chiefs on Tuesday. He played for Romeo Crennel in both Cleveland and in Kansas City. Smith could be added to a defensive-tackle group that includes first-round pick Dontari Poe, Anthony Toribio and Jerrell Powe. It was also significant that rookie defensive back DeQuan Menzie was put on injured reserve. The Chiefs have a lot of injuries in the secondary (they also cut veteran Donald Washington) and will need to do something. Young running backs Cyrus Gray, Nate Eachus and Shaun Draughn all made the team, giving Kansas City some intriguing youth in the backfield. Interestingly, the Chiefs kept five tailbacks, but no fullbacks. What does it mean? The will be doing a lot of multiple-tight-end and -receiver sets. It’d also be nice to see Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis share a backfield on occasion.

Onward and upward: The Chiefs cut rookie receivers Junior Hemingway and Josh Bellamy. The Chiefs like both of those players, but they are deep at the position. Both should be headed to the practice squad. As expected, second-year quarterback Ricky Stanzi made the team. He will be the No. 3 quarterback and given another chance to develop. Defensive lineman Jerome Long, a draft pick, could also be headed to the practice squad.

What’s next: Whether or not the Chiefs sign Smith (doing so after Week 1 would avoid guaranteeing his 2012 contract), I think they could add to the defensive line. I think they certainly will look at help for the secondary because of injuries, and if the right linebacker becomes available, the Chiefs could add some depth. I also think the offensive line might be an area in which Kansas City looks for depth -- it has been trying to add a veteran all summer. One name to keep an eye on is former New England offensive lineman Dan Koppen. He has a history with Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli.

Chiefs try out DT Shaun Smith

August, 30, 2012
The Kansas City Chiefs tried out defensive tackle Shaun Smith on Tuesday.

Smith, who was cut by Tennessee last week, played for the Chiefs and Romeo Crennel during the 2010 season. He has played for Crennel in 2007 and 2008 while in Cleveland.

If signed Smith would join the defensive tackle rotation. If he is not signed before the Sept. 9 season opener the Chiefs could add Smith to their roster with a non-guaranteed, one-year contract.

In other AFC West notes:

The NFL is changing its injured reserve rules. A player put on the injured reserve after Tuesday can now be brought back during the season when healthy. Previously, when a player went on the injured reserve, they were ineligible to come back during that season. This new rules allows teams to add depth while shelving a player for a while. One such candidate is San Diego receiver Vincent Brown, who will likely miss about half the season with a broken ankle.

U-T San Diego reports Ronnie Brown could carry the ball up to 20 times a game if Ryan Mathews (broken clavicle) misses a game or two to start the season.

Will Shaun Smith get his wish?

August, 23, 2012
Former Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Shaun Smith, who was cut by the Titans this week, is stumping to go back to Kansas City. He played for coach Romeo Crennel in both Kansas City and Cleveland. Crennel said this week that he is a big Smith fan.

I think the Chiefs may wait until after Friday’s preseason game against Seattle to evaluate what they have and then consider if they want to add Smith to the rotation.

In other AFC West news:

Matt Williamson thinks Insider there are some young AFC West players who will improve steadily in 2012.

The Broncos have some decisions to make on the defensive line.
With the regular season quickly approaching, the Kansas City Chiefs are not wasting time getting Dwayne Bowe prepared to play in Week 1.

Kansas City coach Romeo Crennel told reporters Wednesday that Bowe will play some Friday night against Seattle. Bowe, who missed the entire offseason program and all of training before reporting to the team Friday, had his first padded practice Tuesday. Crennel said Bowe will not play extensively Friday, but he will get a chance to get acquainted with the team’s new offensive system in a game setting.

“I will play him some, just give him a couple plays here and there, but I don’t think that he’s ready to play a full game or anything like that,” Crennel said.

Usually, starters play little, if at all, in the preseason finale. Crennel said he will decide later if Bowe will play in the Chiefs’ last preseason game, on Aug. 30 against Green Bay.

“I’ll have to see how he does this game before making that assessment,” Crennel said.

I think it is smart and predictable that Bowe will play Friday. Again, it won’t be a ton of work, but he needs to get some game action.

Meanwhile, Tennessee cut former Kansas City defensive tackle Shaun Smith. Crennel was asked if he could bring back Smith. He had an interesting answer.

“Shaun is my man,” Crennel said. “Shaun would love to be here, I’m sure, but we’ve got some guys on the team right now that they’ve worked pretty good and we feel decent about them, and then we’ll have to kind of look at it and see. I have not talked to Shaun yet, but Shaun might give me a call here shortly, but Shaun is a good guy and I like Shaun a lot. I’ve had him on two different teams, so we’ll see how that plays out as well.”

My translation: The Chiefs will consider signing Smith if they feel like he can help in a rotation.

Late-summer AFC West checkpoint

August, 26, 2011
This unusual NFL season is about to start in two weeks. A lot has happened in the month since the lockout has been lifted. With the signing period and training camps over, let’s take a checkpoint look at each AFC West team:


Key pickups: Running back Willis McGahee, defensive tackle Ty Warren (he could be out for the year with a triceps injury), defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley, defensive end Derrick Harvey, tight end Daniel Fells.

Key losses: Offensive tackle Ryan Harris.

Story of camp: There has been quarterback news nearly at a daily clip. The fallout is this: Kyle Orton is the starter, Brady Quinn looks like he has the edge to be the backup and second-year quarterback Tim Tebow is currently the third-stringer after a less-than-spectacular training camp. Don’t expect Denver to trade or cut Tebow. He should be in Denver this year, but perhaps being nothing more than a special-package player. Give credit to both Orton (who was nearly dealt to Miami in the days right after the lockout ended) and to Quinn. Both have played well during the tumultuous time at the position.

Keep an eye on: Denver’s defense. The Broncos took a hit with Warren’s injury. He was the team’s big-ticket pickup and he was signed to give stability at the team’s weakest area. But the Broncos seem to have made some strides on defense this summer. The unit, which was No. 32 in the NFL last year, seems more aggressive and it has some playmakers. Pass-rushers Elvis Dumervil (back from missing all of last season with a pectoral injury) and No. 2 overall pick Von Miller look like they could give this unit life. It's clear new head coach John Fox has already positively impacted this unit.

Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson's view: "Denver may be better than people realize. I don’t love the offense, but it will be OK. Defensively, I think they will be much better. I think the front office had a promising offseason as they rebuild.”

Kansas City

Key pickups: Receiver Steve Breaston, defensive tackle Kelly Gregg, fullback Le'Ron McClain, offensive tackle Jared Gaither, linebacker Brandon Siler (he is out for season with a torn Achilles).

Key losses: Defensive linemen Ron Edwards and Shaun Smith

Story of camp: The defending AFC West champions had a nice, quiet, productive camp -- until the final days of it. The Chiefs built great momentum after adding several key veterans to an already-impressive roster. The only controversy was whether or not coach Todd Haley was taking a chance by taking camp slowly as a precaution because of missed time during the offseason due to the lockout. Then, the bombshell hit. It was reported that first-round pick Jon Baldwin and veteran running Thomas Jones had a locker room fight. Baldwin hurt his hand as a result and he is expected to miss the rest of the preseason. The Chiefs aren’t talking about it, but it is a strike against Baldwin, who had character concerns at Pitt. The Chiefs took Baldwin to help them win right away. This event isn’t a devastating blow, but it has to raise concerns.

Keep an eye on: Of all of the Chiefs’ moves, the signing of Gaither may be the most intriguing -- and the most promising if he can stay healthy. Before he missed all of last season with a back injury, Gaither was considered one of the better young left tackles in the NFL. Assuming he can play, Gaither could play either left tackle or right tackle. If he plays left tackle, Branden Albert would move to right tackle. He could further solidify a good line.

Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson's view: “I think Kansas City is the second-best team in the division. Give the Chiefs credit. They have surrounded Matt Cassel with every possible weapon to help make him successful. They are also solid on defense. I just don’t think they are as good as the Chargers.”


Key pickups: Tight end Kevin Boss, quarterback Trent Edwards, quarterback Terrelle Pryor

Key losses: Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, tight end Zach Miller, guard Robert Gallery

Story of camp: The Raiders lost some big names and they added some big names as they began the Hue Jackson era. However, a late-round pick from Tennessee stole the show in camp. It has been all about receiver Denarius Moore. He made headlines virtually every day in camp with one spectacular catch after another. Most importantly, he has played well in preseason games and he looks polished. Expect the Raiders to give this kid a chance to contribute right away once the regular season starts.

Keep an eye on: The Raiders’ health has been an issue all camp. Several players have missed serious time. Thus far, though, it doesn’t look like many key players will miss time in the regular season other than receiver Louis Murphy, who had surgery on an undisclosed injury, and young linebacker Travis Goethel is likely out for the year with a knee injury. The team said he won’t play at Denver on Sept. 12, but it hasn’t said how long he will be out. Other players such as Boss, receiver Chaz Schilens and cornerback Chris Johnson all could be back for the opener, which is part of an ESPN “Monday Night Football” doubleheader. Thus far, most of the injuries have been nagging and fairly minor. But sometimes the injury bug hits a team and doesn’t stop all season. For now, this is mostly a preseason nuisance.

Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson's view: "There are things I like. I love the front seven. I love Darren McFadden. But Jason Campbell is an average quarterback on a good day and the offensive line is in flux. Overall, inconsistencies make this the third best team in the division.”

San Diego

Key pickups: Linebacker Takeo Spikes, safety Bob Sanders, pass-rusher Travis LaBoy

Key losses: Running back Darren Sproles, linebacker Kevin Burnett, receiver Legedu Naanee.

Story of camp: I didn't sense this team scrambling to make up for lost time following the lockout. For the most part, the key components of this team are in place and several players worked out together locally during the length of the lockout. The Chargers had seemingly a zillion free agents and they kept the players they wanted. So, it has been a smooth camp in San Diego as continuity has been the key.

Keep an eye on: A lot has been made of the arrival of Spikes and Sanders to the No. 1-ranked defense in the NFL. But don’t discount impact of No. 18 overall pick Corey Liuget. The Illinois product has been outstanding. He has taken over the preseason games at times. He is an explosive defensive end who quickly gets into the backfield. The game doesn’t seem too big for Liuget. Expect him to be an instant starter and have a chance to be a premier player early in his career.

Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson's view: “I think San Diego is clearly the class of the division. I don’t think people are paying enough attention to this team. I love the offense. Philip Rivers is good as it gets. He has great weapons. Defensively, this team has added playmakers at every level. If the special teams can improve even marginally, they are going to win a lot more games. This could be the year. I think they are a sleeper team that could win it all.”

Kyle Orton trade still on hold

July, 29, 2011
The Kyle Orton-Broncos-Dolphins saga continues. The biggest holdout is a contract agreement between the Dolphins and Orton. If that doesn’t get figured out, Denver may have to wait and see if another quarterback gets hurt during the preseason. They currently have no other options, and until Orton and the Dolphins can come to an accord, nothing will happen.

In other AFC West nuggets Friday morning:
  • Chiefs defensive tackle Shaun Smith has agreed to terms with Tennessee. The Chiefs had some interest in bringing Smith back, but they wanted an upgrade. With him and Ron Edwards gone, expect the Chiefs to do something at defensive tackle. San Francisco’s Aubrayo Franklin remains a real possibility.
  • The Football Outsiders love how former Charger Darren Sproles will fit in with the Saints.
  • The Steelers cut tackle Flozell Adams. He was connected to the Raiders prior to signing with the Steelers. The Raiders could still use a tackle and “The Hotel” likely wouldn’t be too pricey. Oakland has also been connected to Baltimore free agent.
  • The Patriots are reportedly on the verge of extending the contact of left tackle Matt Light. He had been connected to Kansas City.
This is the sixth in our series of position-by-position rankings. It is a little different this season because we’re ranking the players before free agency starts and before rosters are set. We will adjust accordingly as we go along. On to an improved group of defensive linemen:

1. Richard Seymour, Oakland: He is the class of the division. He is aging, but he is still a brilliant player.

2. Glenn Dorsey, Kansas City: He made great strides in 2010, his third NFL season. He had adjusted well to the 3-4, and he is the anchor to a young defense.

3. Tommy Kelly, Oakland: Kelly had his best NFL season in 2010, and he pairs very nicely with Seymour. He is tough when he is motivated.

4. Elvis Dumervil, Denver: Dumervil is back to end in a 4-3 after excelling in a 3-4 defense. He struggles against the run, but he is a force as a pass-rusher.

5. Lamarr Houston, Oakland: I really like this second-year player. He is a potential star.

6. Antonio Garay, San Diego: Garay had a terrific season in 2010. He is a tremendous nose tackle.

7. Luis Castillo, San Diego: Castillo is a solid player, but I’d like to see more impact plays.

8. Matt Shaughnessy, Oakland: He’s another fine young player for Oakland. He has made the most of his opportunities.

9. Tyson Jackson, Kansas City: Jackson has been just so-so. This is a huge season for the No. 3 overall pick of the 2009 draft.

10. Corey Liuget, San Diego: The No. 18 overall pick of the 2011 draft will start at end, and he will get a chance to make an immediate impact.

11. Wallace Gilberry, Kansas City: He’s an underrated player. He can get sacks in bunches.

12. John Henderson, Oakland: He is aging, but he can still help Oakland as a run stuffer.

13. Robert Ayers, Denver: This is a big season for Ayers, the No. 18 pick in 2009. New coach John Fox likes him, so he’ll get a chance to start.

14. Trevor Scott, Oakland: Scott has a chance to be very good. He has natural pass-rushing ability.

15. Ron Edwards, Kansas City: He’s steady. The Chiefs want more help at tackle, but Edwards is OK.

16. Shaun Smith, Kansas City: The Chiefs need to bring him back. He can make an impact.

17. Marcus Thomas, Denver: Denver wants this free agent back.

18. Allen Bailey, Kansas City: The Chiefs are very excited about this third-round pick. He could play right away.

19. Kevin Vickerson, Denver: Denver re-signed him in March.

20 Vaughn Martin, San Diego: It’s time for this project to make a move.

21. Cam Thomas, San Diego: The Chargers still have high hopes for this second-year player.

Tyson Jackson on track to play

October, 21, 2010
The Kansas City Chiefs got good news Thursday when defensive end Tyson Jackson (knee), right tackle Ryan O’Callaghan (groin) and receiver Chris Chambers (finger) were taken off the injury report.

The big news here is that Jackson should be ready to play extensively Sunday against Jacksonville. The No. 3 overall pick in 2009 hasn’t played since Week 1. Jackson played well in the game against San Diego after having a slow rookie season. His presence should make an improving defense stronger.
  • San Diego will get to see the Chargers play on Sunday. At 2-4, the city may not be all that thrilled to do so, however. With that said, the team sold enough tickets for the game to be declared a sellout by Thursday’s deadline. The two previous games in San Diego this season have been blacked out. Before this season, San Diego sold out 48 straight home games. However, their current steak may not last long. The team announced there are 12,000 seats available for the Oct. 31 home game against Tennessee. If the Chargers lose to the Patriots, there will likely be little chance that game will be sold out.

Report: Chiefs' Shaun Smith fined

October, 1, 2010
Fox’s Jay Glazer reports Kansas City defensive tackle Shaun Smith was fined $10,000 for grabbing San Francisco offensive lineman Anthony Davis in his groin area in the Chiefs’ win over the 49ers on Sunday.

In Week 2, Cleveland center Alex Mack accused Smith of committing a similar act.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Chiefs worked out a couple of experienced linebackers during their bye week. The Chiefs looked at Larry Izzo and Mark Simoneau. Izzo, a special-teams ace, played for Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli in New England.

Louis Vasquez won't need surgery

September, 28, 2010
Catching up on some late afternoon AFC West notes:

San Diego right tackle Louis Vasquez is expected to miss at least two weeks with a MCL sprain.

While the Chargers will miss the talented second-year player, it could have been worse. Vasquez was taken off the field on a cart in San Diego’s loss at Seattle on Sunday. But Vasquez will not need surgery and he should be back by mid-October. Tyrone Green is expected to start for Vasquez.

After making comments about his new teammates not paying attention to coaching, San Diego receiver Patrick Crayton received a lecture from coach Norv Turner.

San Diego linebacker Shawne Merriman remains optimistic he can make a positive contribution despite another injury scare.

Legendary former Raiders’ quarterback/kicker George Blanda was the first pick in the first known fantasy football league way back in 1963. Blanda died Monday at the age of 83.

Current Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski discussed his relationship with Blanda and his costly missed field goal in Arizona on Sunday.

Kansas City defensive lineman Shaun Smith is gaining a reputation for being, well, being overly aggressive.

Former Denver receiver Brandon Stokley has signed with Seattle. Denver cut him earlier this month.
Why is there so much talk about Vincent Jackson and not fellow San Diego holdout Marcus McNeill?

First of all, the Chargers are willing to trade Jackson for the right price. They are not willing to deal McNeill. Another reason there isn’t much chatter about McNeill is that his replacement, Brandyn Dombrowski, is playing at a high level.

Dombrowski looks like he belongs at left tackle after two games. The team is very confident in him.

While McNeill is an excellent player, the Chargers are moving forward without him. It will be interesting to see how McNeill responds. There has been talk that he is prepared to sit out the entire season. At this rate, the Chargers are fine with their Plan B.

In a radio interview, Bruce Gradkowski talked about the possibility of becoming Oakland’s starting quarterback and how much Oakland fans mean to him.

Cleveland offensive lineman Alex Mack said Kansas City defensive lineman Shaun Smith got way to close and personal with him in the Chiefs’ win over the Browns on Sunday. Smith denied the accusation.

The Broncos promoted running back Andre Brown from the practice squad and cut running back Lance Ball. Brown was claimed off waivers from the Giants earlier this month. He was cut and signed to the practice squad last week.

UPDATE: The Oakland Tribune reports Oakland has cut rookie safety Stevie Brown for the second time this month.

Chiefs' weakness: Defensive line

May, 25, 2010
Weaknesses: Broncos (5/24) | Chiefs (5/25) | Raiders (5/26) | Chargers (5/27)

[+] EnlargeGlenn Dorsey
Wesley Hitt/Getty ImagesGlenn Dorsey hasn't been a good fit in Kansas City so far.
Considering Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson -- the fifth overall pick in 2008 and third overall pick in 2009 -- are the starting defensive ends in the Chiefs’ three-man line, you would think this would be an area of strength for Kansas City. Dorsey was an upfield, penetrating three-technique defensive tackle at LSU whose game just doesn’t translate well to this scheme, though he deserves his share of the blame as well. This is one of the most wasted resources in the league right now. As with everyone on this line, Dorsey didn’t play the run particularly well and did little in getting after the passer.

Jackson was just all-around awful in his rookie season. Though he was considered the top 3-4 defensive end in last year’s draft class, there is still a very steep learning curve because he didn’t play in this scheme at LSU. If he doesn’t improve this season, he could go down as one of the biggest busts in recent memory.

The Chiefs also used a 2009 third-round pick on Alex Magee to convert to a 3-4 end from the defensive tackle position he played at Purdue. We didn’t see much of him during his rookie season, so he remains mostly an unknown, and there isn’t much else to get excited about at the defensive end position. Magee could surprise though.

The situation at nose tackle may not be any better. Ron Edwards was over matched at the position last season, but at least Shaun Smith was brought in to rotate with him. Smith is very inconsistent, though, and has been changing teams at a rapid rate. But he does have 3-4 experience at both nose tackle and defensive end.