AFC West: Stevie Brown

Report: Chargers lose two prospects

September, 4, 2011
This has to sting the San Diego Chargers a bit.

The San Diego Union Tribune reports that two undrafted rookies the Chargers cut were claimed. Quarterback Scott Tolzien was claimed by San Francisco and center/guard Colin Baxter was claimed by the New York Jets.

It’s not overly common for undrafted free agents to be claimed right after not making the 53-man roster. Tolzien and Baxter both had good summers.

The Chargers liked Tolzien a lot. The paper reported that the Chargers saw him as a potential future backup to Philip Rivers. Now, San Diego just has Rivers and backup Billy Volek in the program. That is all it needs, but it would have been nice for the team to develop Tolzien. Now that the gamble to try to stash Tolzien on the practice squad didn’t work, the Chargers could look to add a young quarterback to the practice squad.

Baxter made a push to the make San Diego’s 53-man roster. The Chargers liked him for his versatility.

While it hurts the Chargers to lose two prospects, this could be, in the big picture, a positive sign. The fact that the Chargers didn’t find room on the 53-man roster for two talented players like this might be an indication of how deep the roster is.

Meanwhile, Carolina reportedly claimed defensive back Stevie Brown, who was cut by the Raiders. The 2010 draft pick was not eligible for the practice squad, so Oakland knew it was saying goodbye to Brown when it cut him.

UPDATE: The Panthers have announced the claiming of Brown and former San Diego receiver Seyi Ajirotutu. He showed promise at points last season. He reunites with Carolina head coach Ron Rivera, who was the Chargers’ defensive coordinator. He was not eligible for the practice squad.

Oakland Raiders cutdown analysis

September, 3, 2011
Check here for a complete list of the Oakland Raiders’ roster moves.

Surprise move: Oakland cut several defensive backs, including Lito Sheppard, Walter McFadden, Jeremy Ware, Stevie Brown and camp star Sterling Moore. Veteran running back Michael Bennett and receiver/returner Nick Miller survived the cuts, which was somewhat unexpected. Oakland kept linebacker Darryl Blackstock, who had been out of the league. He played for Oakland defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan in the UFL. Quarterback Trent Edwards was cut after he was signed this summer with designs of being the backup. But Kyle Boller separated himself from Edwards. It’s a bit surprising Edwards was cut now with Terrelle Pryor starting a five-game suspension. Still, if he’s not picked up (perhaps Kansas City will be interested), Edwards could always be brought back to Oakland before Pryor joins the roster.

No-brainers: There was speculation receiver Chaz Schilens and safety Mike Mitchell (a second-round pick in 2009) could be on the chopping block. They made the team. Both have been dealing with injuries, but both players have potential. Now, if we’re still talking about injuries and untapped potential this time next year, their futures could become cloudy. But they both deserve to be in Oakland this season.

What's next: I think Oakland will continue to look for cornerbacks and safeties. The Raiders will also still look at weakside linebackers, and they will look to upgrade the offensive line. And I know Oakland likes its receivers, but I could also see it keeping an open mind about the position.

Waiting on the Oakland Raiders

September, 3, 2011
The last team in the AFC West to release their cuts will be the Oakland Raiders. The team has said it will release the list of the cut players after everything goes through the NFL offices. Fair enough.

The wait shouldn’t be too much longer. I will pass along the list when I see it.

There have been some reports of player released. It affects the secondary as cornerbacks Walter McFadden, Lito Sheppard and Jeremy Ware were reportedly cut as was safety Stevie Brown. That likely means undrafted rookie Sterling Moore made the team. Sheppard was signed last week. I could still see Oakland pursuing a veteran, perhaps Joselio Hanson, who was cut Saturday by the Eagles, at cornerback.

More to come when we get the list from the team.

Who's on the bubble?

September, 2, 2011
As far as I’m concerned the 53-man cut-down date (which occurs Saturday) is an overrated event.

Many players who survive the cut end up being gameday inactives during most of the season and teams are always looking to improve the back end of the roster. Yet, the final cutdown time is upon us, so let’s look at some of the players on the bubble for each AFC West team:

Denver: There’s not a ton of big names here that stand out as certain bubble players. Safeties Darcel McBath and David Bruton, both taken in 2009, could get the axe. Second-year cornerback Perrish Cox -- who is facing an October sexual assault trial that could imprison him for life -- could also be on the bubble. But the season-ending Achilles injury to key backup cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson could help Cox’s cause to make the team.

Kansas City: There’s not a lot big names here, either. Receivers Verran Tucker, Jeremy Horne and Keary Colbert are fighting for a spot. Running back Jackie Battle is likely an odd-man out. Defensive backs Donald Washington, Rashard Langford, Sabby Piscitelli and Travis Daniels are also on the bubble.

Oakland: Defensive backs Walter McFadden, Jeremy Ware, Steve Brown and Sterling Moore are all on the bubble. It will be interesting to see what happens there. Veteran running back Michael Bennett could also be on his way out as well as receiver/punt returner Nick Miller.

San Diego: The Chargers’ receiver situation is interesting. It looks like Bryan Walters could make the team. But what about Seji Ajirotutu, Laurent Robinson and Kelley Washington? Veteran linebacker Stephen Cooper and Kevin Bentley are on the bubble as is rookie undrafted quarterback Scott Tolzien.

What are your thoughts about the final cut downs. Fill up the comment section below with your thoughts.

2010 AFC West draft rewind

February, 18, 2011
This is the final in a three-part series of an examination of the past three draft classes of each AFC West team leading up to the NFL scouting combine at the end of the month:


First pick: No. 22, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas

Total picks: Nine

Stars: After one season, offensive linemen J.D. Walton and Zane Beadles have been the team’s best draft performers. They were both starters. Neither player was great, but they deserve credit for starting in the NFL as youngsters. Beadles, a guard who was a second-round pick and Walton, a center who was a third-round pick, may have decent futures. Quarterback Tim Tebow, the No. 25 overall pick whom Denver traded three picks to move up and take, started the final three games of the season. He might be the starter in 2011.

Duds: It’s too early to call Thomas a dud, but the Broncos have to be worried about his career issues. Thomas suffered an Achilles tendon injury last week and the team expects him to miss 6 to 8 months. Thomas, who was drafted with a foot fracture, ended the season with an ankle injury. He is very talented, but he has been unable to stay healthy. Denver bypassed Dez Bryant to take Thomas.

McDaniels’ parting gift: Josh McDaniels drafted Tebow because he thought he could make the former Florida star an NFL star. But McDaniels was fired before Tebow ever got an NFL start. Now, the John Elway-John Fox regime will decide what to do with Tebow.

What’s the future of this class? It could end up being very good or very bad. It all depends on Tebow. If he develops into a standout quarterback, it will be a great draft. If Tebow fails and Thomas never develops, it would be looked as a terrible draft. The Broncos could have a gem in receiver Eric Decker. A fine possession receiver, Decker could get a chance to play a lot in 2011. He has strong potential.

Kansas City

First pick: No. 5, safety Eric Berry

Total picks: Seven

Star: It has to be Berry. There was a lot of talk that the Chiefs would be reluctant to take a safety so high; usually safeties aren’t top-five choices. I’m sure the Chiefs are not regretting the decision to take Berry. He was an impact player as a rookie. He is a playmaker who is a tremendous anchor to this improving defense. Expect the hard-working, humble Berry to get better. The Chiefs have a star on their hands. I would not be shocked by the time every 2010 AFC West draft pick retires, the first pick of the Chiefs will be considered the best player of the pool.

Duds: There don’t appear to be any yet. Five of the seven picks contributed as rookies. Third-round pick guard Jon Asamoah appears to have a nice future. Fifth-round pick linebacker Cameron Sheffield seemed promising before he was injured in the preseason.

The next Tony Gonzalez? Third-round pick Tony Moeaki seems like a keeper. He had an instant connection with Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel. He brought excitement back to the tight end position in Kansas City for the first time since the 2009 trade of Gonzalez. One of the greatest players in team history, Gonzalez was traded to Atlanta in 2009 for a 2010 second-round pick, which turned out to be cornerback Javier Arenas. Moeaki had 47 catches for 556 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie. Those numbers were much better than Gonzalez’ numbers as a rookie. This is not suggest Moeaki will be a better player than the great Gonzalez, but it’s clear tight end is again a position of strength in Kansas City.

What’s the future of this class? It is very bright. Along with Oakland's, this has a chance to be one of the best overall classes in the NFL. The class, which also includes promising receiver/returner Dexter McCluster, is very deep. The rookies helped the Chiefs win their first division title in seven years and I expect this class will assist in winning many more games.


First pick: No. 8, linebacker Rolando McClain

Total picks: Nine

Stars: This class is very deep, but right now the stars appear to be fourth-round pick receiver/returner Jacoby Ford and second-round pick defensive lineman Lamarr Houston. Ford had three kickoff returns for scores in the second half of the season and developed into a thrilling receiver. He could be a starter in 2011. Houston is a tough, rugged player who could be part of this defense for the next 10 years.

Duds: There doesn’t look like there will be one. This class is solid.

Al still has it: You can poke holes in many of Oakland’s recent drafts, but this one looks special. Starting with McClain, this draft appears solid. Al Davis bragged about the class at his January news conference. He deserved to brag. After several whiffs, Davis seems to have hit a home run in 2010.

What’s the future of this class? This is the type of class -- that includes promising left tackle Jared Veldheer (third round) -- that can be a nucleus for a long playoff run. Add youngsters like guard Bruce Campbell (fourth round), linebacker Travis Goethel (sixth) and cornerback Stevie Brown (seventh) and this class is very deep.

San Diego

First pick: No. 12, running back Ryan Mathews

Total picks: Six

Star: Mathews was the only player from this class to contribute as a rookie. Mathews was good, but not great. He had durability and ball-security issues. Still, Mathews averaged 4.3 yards per carry. He helped this offense when he was on the field. While his impact wasn’t great, he clearly has good potential.

Duds: After Mathews, the Chargers' next pick wasn’t until N0. 79 when they took linebacker Donald Butler. He showed promise but was lost for the year in camp. Every other pick is a future pick.

Will Smith do it again? The Chargers traded a load of picks to move up from No. 28 to No. 12 to take Mathews. This year, the Chargers, who pick No. 18, have extra picks in the second and third rounds. The Chargers could use an impact receiver or pass rusher. If they fall in love with a pick in the top 10, I could see aggressive general manager A.J. Smith moving up again.

What’s the future of this class? If Mathews can stay healthy and be a legitimate power back, this will be a good class. It would be nice if players like Butler, safety Darrell Stuckey (fourth round) and defensive tackle Cam Thomas develop and help this class. But it was clear on draft night that this class was all about Mathews. If he fails, this will likely be the worst class in the division.
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.

Three key players out for Oakland

September, 19, 2010
Around the AFC West:

The Raiders will be without running back Michael Bush (broken thumb), offensive lineman Robert Gallery (hamstring) and defensive lineman Richard Seymour (hamstring) against St. Louis. All three players were not doing much all week, so this was expected. Bush didn’t play last week, either.

Still, these are three of Oakland’s better players. Oakland will be further challenged to rebound from a poor performance in Tennessee in Week 1

The Broncos’ offensive line is in shambles.

Right tackle Ryan Harris (ankle) and right guard Chris Kuper (ankle, knee) will not play Sunday against Seattle. Harris and Kuper are two of Denver’s most stable players. Harris will be spelled by rookie Zane Beadles and veteran Russ Hochstein will play for Kuper. The team’s center, J.D. Walton, is a rookie.

The Raiders cut offensive lineman Erik Pears for the second time this month and signed seventh-round draft pick Stevie Brown form the practice squad.

The speculation is already out there that Tom Cable’s job could be in jeopardy if the Raiders lose to the Rams Sunday. My reaction: Sure, I can believe it.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Denver thought about signing running back Willie Parker before dealing for Laurence Maroney.
Defensive back Stevie Brown is leaning toward signing with Oakland’s practice squad. He was cut by the Raiders and went unclaimed. A source said he had other options, but is planning to stay with the Raiders. He has yet to sign the deal.

Brown had a strong preseason and he was a surprise cut. Meanwhile, there is a report that Oakland’s coaching staff wanted to cut second-year safety Mike Mitchell in favor of Brown, but owner Al Davis decided to keep him. Mitchell was a second-round pick last year. Most teams had Mitchell rated as an undrafted free agent.

Meanwhile, the Oakland Tribune reports it appears Quentin Groves will start at outside linebacker with Trevor Scott moving back to defensive end. Scott was moved from end to linebacker last season, and he was slated to start. However, it appears Groves will start at linebacker along with Kamerion Wimbley and rookie Rolando McClain in the middle. All three of the linebackers are in their first year with Oakland.

If the Raiders are interested in signing free agent receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, it appears they have one less competitor. Cincinnati is not interested in him at this time.

Raiders end up cutting draft pick

September, 4, 2010
Wrapping up some loose ends on a wild day in the AFC West:

The Raiders final cut, which they announced several hours after every other cut, was seventh-round pick Stevie Brown. The defensive back opened eyes during the preseason. If he is not claimed, the Raiders can add him to the practice squad.

The Broncos and Lions exchanged undisclosed draft picks as part of the deal that sent 2009 second-round pick Alphonso Smith to Detroit. Denver gave up its No. 1 pick in 2010 (No. 14) to get the cornerback last year.

The Ravens cut quarterback Troy Smith. He played for new Oakland offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. However, the Raiders are happy with No. 3 quarterback Kyle Boller, who also played for Jackson.

Oakland Raiders cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
Check here for a full list of Oakland’s roster moves.

Biggest surprise: There wasn’t a lot of surprising names on Oakland’s cut list. Defensive end Jay Richardson can qualify as a mild surprise. Richardson’s departure may mean Trevor Scott will play more end. He was an end who was moved to linebacker and was supposed to start at linebacker. However, he played end in the preseason finale Thursday night. Fullback Luke Lawton is on the suspension list and Oakland currently doesn’t have a traditional fullback on its roster. Center Chris Morris was cut and the team announced rookie Jared Veldheer will be the starting center. The smalls-school Veldheer was drafted as a tackle and played on a limited basis at center in the preseason. But he is a better long-term player than Samsom Satele, who will be the backup. Still, Veldheer will have his hands full as a rookie playing center against NFL competition. Still, he is new blood and Oakland needs an influx talent on the line.

No-brainers: The Raiders cut just one of their draft picks, seventh-round pick Stevie Brown. Oakland really likes this class and if resurgence is under way in Oakland, this class will have a lot to do with it. Defensive tackle John Henderson was kept. There was talk he could be on the bubble. But he is too valuable. He may not be an every-down player, but he can help against the run in a limited role. Second-year receiver Nick Miller was kept. The Raiders really like this small, but tough player. With Michael Bush potentially out several weeks with a broken thumb, the team needed veteran running back Michael Bennett. He had a fine preseason.

What’s next: The Raiders could do anything. Remember, they shocked the league by trading for Richard Seymour last year the day after he roster was set. Expect Oakland to look at veteran receivers, including former Seattle receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. The team could also look for a veteran center to give Veldheer more time to develop. Also, veterans Thomas Howard and Chris Johnson could still be subject to trade talks if the right deal comes along.
With most of the key performers in the AFC West likely done with their preseason play, here is a look at the division leaders in some key statistical categories:

Passing yards

Player: Philip Rivers, San Diego.

Yards: 354

What does it mean: Rivers has been terrific in the preseason and he looks primed to have another big season.

Rushing yards

Player: Ryan Mathews, San Diego

Yards: 146

What does it mean: The No. 12 overall pick has looked very fluid. The Chargers think they have a star on their hands.


Player: Jabar Gaffney, Denver

Catches: 10

What does it mean: Expect Gaffney to be a top target of Kyle Orton.


Player: Darry Beckwith, San Diego

Total: 18

What does it mean: The young linebacker has made a serious push to make the roster.


Player: Kamerion Wimbley, Oakland

Sacks: 4

What does it mean: Wimbley, acquired from Cleveland in a trade during the offseason, is second in the league with four sacks.


Player: Stevie Brown, Oakland

Interceptions: 2

What does it mean: The rookie has been impressive and he has made a strong push to make the roster.

AFC West links: Dumervil lands $58M deal

July, 23, 2010
Denver Broncos

Former Broncos quarterback John Elway thinks Tim Tebow's mechanics are fine.

Coming off a season in which he had an NFL-leading 17 sacks, the Broncos awarded Elvis Dumervil with a five-year, $58.332 million contract extension.

Dumervil talks about his new deal.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs signed third-round pick Tony Moeaki, a tight end from Iowa.

The team is hoping their new training camp facilities at Missouri Western State University will help them reconnect with local fans.

Oakland Raiders

With the signing of seventh-round safety Stevie Brown, the Raiders have only two picks left to get in the fold -- first-round pick Rolando McClain and second-round pick LaMarr Houston.

Oakland Tribune columnist Monte Poole thinks it's time for the Raiders to pick up the phone and call Terrell Owens.

San Diego Chargers

Norv Turner thinks this year's group of Chargers could be the best since he's been in San Diego.

Shawne Merriman told XX Sports Radio in San Diego recently he hasn’t decided when he’ll show up to training camp.

Quarterback Philip Rivers said the roster makeover the Chargers have undergone this offseason isn't as drastic as it looks.