AFC West: Trent Dilfer

Chris Berman is becoming the voice of the San Diego Chargers.

Or, at least, it appears that way.

Berman will be the play-by-play announcer and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer will be the analyst when the Chargers host Houston in the bottom half of a Week 1 “Monday Night Football” doubleheader Sept. 9 on ESPN. The pair called the San Diego-Oakland Week 1 “Monday Night Football game” last year.

It was Berman’s first NFL play-by-play call in his 30-plus years at ESPN. The pair will get a sneak preview look at the Chargers on Thursday when they call San Diego's game at Chicago. It will be broadcast on ESPN at 8 pm. ET.

Berman is excited about his extended San Diego work.

“As it turns out, at least in the early goings, I am the national voice of the San Diego Chargers. And that’s fine with me,” Berman said. “I’ve long had warm feelings for the team, the powder blues and the city. I’m anxious to see the new-look Chargers under head coach Mike McCoy, who will very much be flying under the radar this year, which is probably perfect in the eyes of Philip Rivers and the rest of the team. The AFC could be a little more open this year than it normally is, and the Chargers, of course, hope they are somehow in the mix and become one of those teams that no one looks at until Halloween."
ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer was teammates with fellow quarterback Alex Smith in San Francisco; last month, Dilfer said he thought Andy Reid and Kansas City would go after Smith because Reid has long liked Smith.

So it was no surprise Dilfer said Wednesday that he thinks the trade that will send Smith from San Francisco to Kansas City will be a good one for the Chiefs. Dilfer was on ESPN’s “NFL Live” to discuss the matter.

Here is what Dilfer had to say about the deal:

On his first reaction to the trade:

“I think it’s a very good fit, if that’s the first question. Andy Reid wants to run an offense that’s complex, that’s based on quick decision-making, that takes a high level of functional football intelligence from the quarterback. I think Alex has all those things. I think one thing Andy’s really wanted to do in his offense over the past few years that he hasn’t been able to do is add a real line-of-scrimmage dynamic with a lot of checks, with protection, adjustments -- something that I would put Alex kind of in the master category in the NFL, in that category. He’s a guy that can control the line of scrimmage as well as anybody in the league. So it gives Andy and [offensive coordinator] Doug Pederson a lot of versatility in what they can do offensively. And he’s not going to be asked to throw the ball consistently down the football field, challenged with his arm; it will be more with his brain and the completion-passing game and managing the run game. Alex can do all those things very well.”

[+] EnlargeAlex Smith
Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY SportsAlex Smith's locker-room presence might be the best quality for Kansas City, Trent Dilfer said.
On the similarities of Reid’s offense to Jim Harbaugh’s system:

“Yeah, I think the difference ... will be that Andy’s going to always run a pass-first offense. It’s going to be pass-driven. There’s going to be multiple formations. There’s going to be a lot of what I call ‘gimme completions’ in Andy’s offense. Every quarterback that’s ever played for him loves it because you’re guaranteed 10 completions before the game starts whether they’re on screens or bubbles or slips or easy routes to the tight end or isolation routes in the back. So, Alex has never been able to play in that type of offense -- it’s always something he’s craved to do, even when we played together in San Francisco. We were always fighting for more first-down passing -- it’s really the easiest. It’s almost stealing in today’s football to throw the ball on first down. Alex has never been able to do that consistently, and I think you’ll see more of his skill set come out the more he’s asked to do on early downs.”

On whether people have forgotten how good Smith was playing before he lost his starting job in San Francisco:

“The last time I saw him play was on 'Monday Night Football' [Oct. 29 at Arizona]. I saw it with my own two eyes, and he was what, 18-for-19? That was pretty darn good. And that was one of the games the Niners came out and did throw the ball on some early downs in the first half and got some of those cheap completions, those ‘gimme completions’ I was talking earlier about. So Alex can do this. I understand why people are skeptical. I know Alex very well -- played with him, he’s a very dear friend. Not only is he a talented football player and can play really good football for a team, he also adds kind of that bridge factor for any new head coach coming into a new organization. He’ll be a coach on the field. He’ll be a great leader in the locker room. He has a great deal of mental and physical toughness, which unless you’re on a football team, you don’t value nearly as much as we do. Alex will be a tone-setter for this new Kansas City Chiefs team. And I think that may be the most valuable thing he brings to this team, is a new mentality, a work ethic, a toughness from the quarterback position that they haven’t had in a while.”

Trent Dilfer backs Fox's decision

January, 18, 2013
Trent Dilfer understands what John Fox was thinking last Saturday night.

There has been a lot of made of the way the Denver Broncos staggered into overtime of an eventual 38-35 double overtime loss to visiting Baltimore in the AFC Divisional playoffs. With a Denver victory all but assured, Baltimore tied the game on a 70-yard bomb from Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones during the final minute as Denver safety Rahim Moore made a terrible mistake by allowing Jones to get behind him.

Instead of trying to get a game-winning field goal, Fox had quarterback Peyton Manning take a knee at the Broncos’ 20-yard line with 31 seconds left and Denver having two timeouts. Fox said his team needed to regroup and go to overtime, because it was shocked by the Ravens’ touchdown.

In an ESPN conference call to talk about the NFL championship weekend, Dilfer, an ESPN analyst and a former NFL quarterback, was asked about the situation. He understood Fox’s decision.

“It's like getting kicked in the groin,” Dilfer said. "(The Baltimore touchdown) happens and it just sucked the life out of everybody on the Denver sideline. And no matter how poised these coaches are, and they are, I know John (Fox) and Jack (Del Rio) and Mike (McCoy) very well ... Their brain still had to be scrambled.

“Such an egregious error by your secondary, especially the safety, that you're sitting there and you just know the life's been sucked out of you. You're out of breath. And I think that's where discernment kind of comes in. Let's regroup before we do anything crazy here. And that's how I felt. I was so shocked by the whole thing that I kind of felt the same way, like 'wow they just need to regroup here; they just got kicked in the groin and wiser heads will prevail. Calmer heads will prevail.' Now, they didn't. But I think that's the logical thought process behind that."
The AFC West is going to be the center of some special ESPN history.

[+] EnlargeChris Berman
Andrew Weber/US PresswireChris Berman has been tabbed as the play-by-play announcer for the Sept. 10 Chargers-Raiders game.
The network announced Wednesday that hall of fame announcer Chris Berman will handle the play-by-play duties during the Chargers-Raiders game on Sept. 10 in Oakland. It is the second of a Week 1 Monday Night Football doubleheader.

It will be the first time Berman ever calls a regular-season NFL game.

Strange, huh?

Berman is the face of ESPN’s NFL coverage. This season will be the 28th season the man they call Boomer will host "Sunday NFL Countdown." He also has hosted the network’s draft and Super Bowl week coverage and he continues to emcee the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s annual enshrinement ceremony every summer.

Yet, his will be his first time in the booth to call a game. Berman will be in good company as highly-regarded ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer will join him. The pair will warm up by calling Arizona Cardinals-Tennessee Titans MNF preseason game on Aug. 23.

The San Diego-Oakland game is one of the most anticipated games on the AFC West schedule. Now, it has gotten even more interesting.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting the Denver Broncos will be one of the teams that inquire about Peyton Manning, who is now free to sign with any club.

Denver’s interest makes sense. We wrote Tuesday that we thought the Broncos could be one of the teams to make a play for Manning. ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer said Tuesday he believes Denver, along with Arizona, makes the most sense for Manning.

The fact that the Broncos are going to inquire about Manning doesn’t mean they’ll be big players, but it does show the team has some interest in Manning. Let’s look at some of the factors:

Tim Tebow: The Broncos have said Tebow will go to training camp as the starter. I don’t think their interest in Manning is an indication the Broncos are searching for a reason to get out of their commitment to Tebow. The opportunity to sign Manning is a unique one. I think Manning is one of the few quarterbacks Denver could bring in as its starter this season that wouldn’t cause fan backlash. Everyone would have to understand the reason why he is being brought in. However, if Denver’s pursuit of Manning doesn’t go anywhere, I think the Broncos will still give Tebow this season to prove himself.

Broncos VP John Elway: I knew Elway would be tempted to pursue Manning. Both are legendary quarterbacks. Elway owes it to himself to gauge Manning’s interest in being a Bronco.

Coach John Fox: Fox loves veteran quarterbacks, and he has a very outgoing personality. Players love working for him and he runs a player-friendly show. The defensive specialist would give Manning the keys to the offense.

Supporting cast: Manning could make a major difference on this team. He would benefit from the team's strong running game and the Broncos do have some young receivers and an improving defense. The Broncos would still have to add a receiver or two and a tight end in addition to their other needs. They have room under the salary cap to get better. I don’t think this roster would be a deterrent for Manning.
It’s Peyton Manning season.

The much anticipated open season on arguably the best player ever to play in the NFL is about to commence. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting the Colts and Manning will appear at a news conference Wednesday to announce that he will be cut. Manning -- who missed all of last season with a neck injury --plans to continue playing. He will be the premier free agent available.

How does this relate to the AFC West?

Manning could very well end up a Kansas City Chief or a Denver Bronco.

Friday, I looked at the reasons why Manning would fit in Kansas City. Meanwhile, in an Insider piece Insider Tuesday, Chris Sprow looks at what type of impact Manning would have in Kansas City. At the combine, Kansas City coach Romeo Crennel indicated the Chiefs would be apt to consider signing Manning if he became available. Well, he will be available by week’s end.

I also wouldn’t be shocked if Denver at least thinks about adding Manning. Denver’s top decision maker is legendary quarterback John Elway. He won his two Super Bowls at the age of 37 and 38. Manning turns 36 in 18 days.

Plus, Manning would be one of the few quarterbacks Denver could add that would likely make the fan base understand why the team would want to replace Tim Tebow, who, but the way, could season under Manning’s tutelage. Like Kansas City, Denver has an improving roster and Denver coach John Fox has always been partial to veteran quarterbacks.

Moments ago on ‘SportsCenter’, ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer said he thinks Denver and Arizona are the best fits for Manning. He noted Elway’s presence as a positive factor for Manning.

Of course, it’s all fodder at this point. However, expect the Manning speculation to hit full tilt now that he is officially going to be a former Colt.

Dilfer breaks down the QBs

January, 31, 2012
ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer ranked the NFL’s top-40 quarterbacks Insider and, as usual, did an outstanding job. I truly believe he is one of the premier quarterbacks experts alive.

Let’s look how Dilfer ranks the AFC West's quarterbacks:

A Ring Away

Philip Rivers, San Diego

My take: I agree. I’ve maintained Rivers is the best quarterback without a Super Bowl ring. If Rivers wins a ring, he will be considered elite. If not, his career will be considered incomplete.

Mostly Good

Carson Palmer, Oakland

My take: Dilfer has Palmer ranked around the middle of the pack. I agree. He is a good, but not great, quarterback. Palmer, who will turn 33 during the 2012 season, must prove he is not on the decline of a strong career.

Could Go Either Way

Matt Cassel, Kansas City

My take: A very fair assessment. Cassel has been solid in Kansas City, but he needs to make strides in 2012 or the Chiefs may lose patience with him.

Kyle Orton, Kansas City

My take: I think the biggest question is where Orton will be playing in 2012. At this point, I don’t see the Chiefs signing Orton to be the starter over Cassel. His best chance to start appears to be elsewhere.

Short Leash

Tim Tebow, Denver

My take: There’s no doubt that Tebow has to prove himself. He won’t get three more seasons to do it. He has this season. If Tebow doesn’t find consistency, Denver will be looking for other options.
Tim TebowJustin Edmonds/Getty ImagesThe Denver Broncos are 7-1 this season with Tim Tebow as their starting quarterback.

Just how long can this Denver Broncos circus act last?

It is officially time to wonder what kind of damage the Broncos could administer if they actually get into the playoffs -- and how they match up against the best teams in the AFC.

After going 7-1 with Tim Tebow as the quarterback and riding a six-game winning streak (including the past four games in which they trailed in the fourth quarter, only the second time in history that has happened), the Broncos are on pace to win the AFC West and be the No. 4 seed. Denver -- which has a 78.8 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to's Insider Insider Playoff Predictor -- leads Oakland by one game in the AFC West. If Denver beats Kansas City at home in Week 17, the Raiders will have to finish with a better record than the Broncos to win the division because of tiebreakers.

The Broncos will face their greatest challenge of the Tebow run Sunday, when they host 10-3 New England. In the most anticipated game of Week 15, we stand to find out a lot about the Broncos, who are winning with a wicked combination of Tebow’s late brilliance, the league’s best running attack, timely, stiff defense and clutch special teams play, all guided by first-year coach John Fox and his staff in one of the best coaching runs in the NFL this season.

Denver doesn’t necessarily have to win this game to win the division, but if the Broncos can stick with the Patriots, it could send quite a message about their readiness for January football. Because Denver is winning with complete football, it is taking on the look of a team no one wants to see on the same side of the playoff bracket.

“My head says it will end this week, but my heart says they have a real shot,” Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. said. “I think it’s going to end every week, and then it just goes on. I talk to a lot of smart football people every day and no one has any answers for it. But we’re buying in. I think this game against New England should be the end, but I can also see Denver pulling it off.”

Part of the phenomenon that has been the Broncos' season is the evolution of expectations for them. After a 45-10 drubbing by Detroit on Oct. 30 in Tebow’s second start, the Broncos were 2-5 and had the look of a team that would be picking in the top five and looking for a new quarterback in the offseason. Analysts gave the Broncos no chance. And they weren’t alone: I remember talking to several people in the Broncos’ organization that day, players included, and despair hovered over the team.

Since that day, however, the Broncos have mesmerized the league and caused several analysts to change their tune. ESPN analysts and previous Denver skeptics such as Merril Hoge, Steve Young and Trent Dilfer all said on the air this week that they are buying into what Tebow and his teammates are doing. When asked on ESPN this week if he could see Denver ending up in the Super Bowl in less than two months, analyst and former NFL head coach Herm Edwards responded this way: “I can’t say no."

Beyond the comebacks, the Broncos are answering a lot of questions. Against Oakland (a 38-24 win) and Minnesota (35-32), they proved they can outscore teams. Against Chicago, Denver proved it can win when Tebow has to throw 40 times. And Denver is 5-0 on the road with Tebow as the starter. What might make Denver tough to beat in the playoffs is that it is playing at a high level in all areas, as this ESPN Stats & Information post explains.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he is not taking the Broncos lightly going into Sunday’s game.

“They’re a good football team and they’re playing great,” Belichick told reporters this week. “They’re well-coached; solid team. Defensively they do a lot of things well. They run well. They have good pass-rushers, cover well. They’ve made a lot of big plays, third-down stops, short-yardage, goal-line, red area, turnovers. They’ve made them all at the right times. They’re real good on special teams, good coverage team, good kickers and good returners. Offensively they do a good job of running the ball, getting it down the field. They have a lot of long passes. Again, they’ve made the big plays when they had to in critical situations at the end of the game, fourth quarter, overtime, third down, all those kind of things. They’re at the top of their game.”

How Denver hangs with New England should provide some gauge of its playoff hopes. But what about against other AFC big hitters -- Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Houston?

“It’s like the Patriots, I don’t like their chances,” Horton said. “But then again, I do like their chances because of what the Broncos have done in the past six weeks. I think Denver’s strategy in every game will be to keep it low.”

Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. doesn’t think Tebow could win in the playoffs against the Ravens, Steelers or Texans.

“I can’t say I see Tebow doing well at all against any of these three defenses,” Williamson said.

Haven’t we been saying that for weeks?

“I’m dumbfounded," Horton said. “But I’m not going to underestimate Denver anymore. Maybe they won’t do anything if they get to the playoffs, but did you ever think we’d even be talking about them having a chance at the playoffs this late in the season?”

TebowMania marches on

December, 12, 2011
The Kansas City Chiefs tried to steal the AFC West spotlight from TebowMania as they fired coach Todd Haley on Monday. It worked for several hours as I was tied up reacting to the firing and examining what may come next.

Despite the detour, TebowMania marched on Monday. Let’s catch up on the latest developments in Denver, a day after Tim Tebow lead the Denver Broncos to its sixth straight victory in a stunning 13-10 overtime win over the Chicago Bears.

The Broncos have trailed in the fourth quarter in each of their previous four games and have won all four. Using ESPN Stats & Information’s win probability model -- based on 10 years of NFL play-by-play -- the Broncos have had at least a 77 percent chance to lose in each of the four games.

ESPN Stats & Information reports that Tebow is the third quarterback in NFL history to go 7-1 or better in a season in which he didn’t start his team’s first four games. The other two were Trent Dilfer in Baltimore in 2000 and Miami’s Earl Morrall in 1972. Both of those teams won the Super Bowl.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Broncos have won two games this season without scoring in the first three quarters. That is tied for most in a season since World War II.

Denver has three overtime victories this season and is one off the NFL record of four. It was set by the 2003 Carolina Panthers that went to the Super Bowl. That team was headed by Denver coach John Fox.

Meanwhile, on his weekly radio show on Denver’s 102.3 the Ticket, Denver football leader John Elway continued to heap praise on Tebow.

“I think when you look at it I guess I just believe everyone believes that something good is going to happen,” Elway said. Tim’s been the guy that has led that thinking and he’s just such a strong believer.”

Asked if he has ever seen a single player raise a team’s play like Tebow has, Elway -- one of the best quarterbacks ever to play -- simply said: “No, not to this point.”

Just another day of TebowMania.

Does John Fox deserve to be COY?

December, 2, 2011
Here’s push for Denver coach John Fox to be coach of the year. I can certainly see the reasoning. The Broncos were 4-12 last year and now they are 6-5. Fox has made a huge impact both on the defensive side of the ball and his offensive adjustments to get the best out of quarterback Tim Tebow has been nothing short of amazing.

Thus, Fox is a worthy candidate. However, there’s little chance he will win because of the mind-boggling impact Jim Harbaugh has had in San Francisco. Fox’s impact in Denver has been impressive, but Harbaugh’s impact in San Francisco has been out of this world.

In other AFC West nuggets Friday:
Andy StudebakerAP Photo/Ed ZurgaAndy Studebaker jumped on an improbable Philip Rivers fumble in the final minute Monday.
The game that gave the Kansas City Chiefs serious life for the rest of the 2011 season was a microcosm of the early season.

“Guys on the sideline were saying, ‘It ain’t over 'til it’s over. Keep playing and keep digging in, because you don’t know what is going to happen,'” Kansas City coach Todd Haley said Monday night. “We’ve got some fighters.”

Haley was answering a question about the late fumble by San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers that took a victory out of the Chargers hands and enabled the Chiefs to come back and win in overtime, forcing a three-way tie with the Chargers and Raiders for first place in the AFC West. In truth, Haley was speaking about the season and not just one game.

There is no doubting these Kansas City Chiefs are fighters. The Chiefs enter November after being one of the stories of the NFL in October, and they are living proof that a devastating start doesn’t necessarily scuttle an entire NFL season. Their unlikely 23-20 overtime win over San Diego in Week 8 was the Chiefs' fourth straight win after starting 0-3.

It wasn’t just that the Chiefs entered October winless; they looked in as worse shape as any team in the NFL.

They were outscored 89-10 in their first two games. They were ranked No. 32 in’s NFL Power Rankings in Week 4. They were considered a prime contender to win the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. There were reports that Haley was on the verge of being fired, and they lost running back Jamaal Charles, safety Eric Berry and tight end Tony Moeaki -- all are among the organization’s top five players -- to season-ending knee injuries in a span of two weeks in September.

Kansas City was a surprise AFC West winner in 2010 at 10-6 -- after winning a total of 10 games spanning 2008-10 -- and it looked as if the team was going back to being a bottom-feeder.

[+] EnlargeKansas City's Todd Haley
Peter G. Aiken/Getty ImagesCoach Todd Haley won't change his hat or shave his beard as long as the Chiefs keep winning.
Now, though, the talk is of a back-to-back division title.’s playoffs predictor says the Chiefs will emerge from the AFC West scrum in first place (this is the first time since 1989 that there's a three-way tie in a division). The Chiefs are the first team in the NFL to win four straight games after starting 0-3 since the 2000 Pittsburgh Steelers.

There is a strong chance the Chiefs will move further away from their 0-3 start. Kansas City hosts Miami (0-7) on Sunday and hosts Denver (2-5) in Week 10. Yes, it would be an upset if the Chiefs aren’t 6-3 in nine days. They will need to stockpile wins when they can. They have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL from Weeks 11-15, beginning with a Monday night game at New England. The Chiefs then host Pittsburgh, play at Chicago and at the Jets, and host the Packers before hosting Oakland on Christmas Eve and finishing the regular season on New Year’s Day in Denver.

Don’t expect the Chiefs to fret about any part of the final nine-game stretch. Their start to this season simply taught them to take it one game at a time.

“We know everybody wrote us off at 0-3,” said linebacker Andy Studebaker, who recovered Rivers’ fateful fumble Monday night. “We just kept our course and we just were focused on not letting the season get away from us. And now look at us.”

There are all kinds of theories about why the Chiefs have turned around their season. Some credit the beanbag game Haley (who has to be considered a Coach of the Year candidate) put in the locker room to create team unity. Some believe in the power of Haley’s scruffy beard that will not kiss a razor until the Chiefs lose again.

At the risk of ruining a good story, the Chiefs stopped losing and began winning because they started playing much better on both sides of the ball. The Chiefs were minus-6 in turnover differential in the first three games. They have been plus-5 since. Their yards-per-game differential since the losing streak ended has been 100-plus yards. In the first three games, the Chiefs’ points differential was minus-82. In the past four games, it’s been plus-40.

The Chiefs went back to trusting their running game in Week 4 after the shock of losing Charles in Week 2 wore off. Kansas City led the NFL in rushing last year and Charles had 1,467 yards. Since Week 4, the Chiefs are leading the NFL in rushing attempts per game, and former practice squad player Jackie Battle has emerged as a solid lead rusher.

After Monday night’s game, ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer lauded the Chiefs for sticking to “their convictions” after the key injuries and 0-3 start. Dilfer expects the Chiefs to stick around for the rest of the season because they stay true to their plan and the players believe in the coaching staff.

The defense seems to get timelier every week, and with the emergence of WR Jon Baldwin -- the 2011 first-round pick was outstanding against San Diego, catching five passes for 82 yards and a touchdown -- steady quarterback Matt Cassel has a strong receiving trio in Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston and Baldwin.

Despite the losses of Charles, Berry and Moeaki, this team looks like an up-and-coming contender, as it did last year.

“We made some mistakes, everybody, coaches and players alike, but we were able to overcome it by sticking together and not giving up,” Haley said of the win over San Diego, but really talking about the season. “I think it will continue to serve us well going forward.”

Preparing for Tebow Time

October, 21, 2011
Tim Tebow’s promotion to Denver’s starting quarterback was big news last week when the Broncos pulled Kyle Orton and inserted the second-season quarterback in the starting lineup.

The AFC West has been dominated by the Carson Palmer trade to Oakland this week. But with Tebow getting ready to play at Miami, here are some things you need to know about Tebow Time.

Dilfer breaks it down: One of the best NFL analysts alive, in my opinion, is ESPN’s Trent Dilfer. The former NFL quarterback is the goods. He has some tremendous insight on what defenses will do to Tebow in an Insider piece.

Tebow will have support: The Dolphins have sold 20,000 tickets to Sunday’s game since Tebow was made the starter Oct. 11. Plus, the 2008 Florida Gators national championship team -- Tebow was the star -- will be honored during the game. It is basically going to be a home game for Tebow.

Expect Tebow to run: According to ESPN Stats & Information, Tebow has had 32 designed runs since the start of the 2010 season. He has played just three-and-half games. It is tied for the second most in the NFL behind Michael Vick, who has had 46 designed runs since the start of last season.

Expect Miami to Blitz: According to ESPN Stats & Information, Tebow was much better against the standard four-man pass-rush than when being blitzed by five or pass-rushers. Tebow has five pass play of 30 yards or more. All of them have come against a standard rush. He has completed 54.4 of his passes for with three touchdowns against a standard rush. He has completed 39.1 percent of his passes with one touchdown against a blitz.

Evening AFC West notes

March, 25, 2011
Current ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer is one of the most astute quarterback students alive. His words need to be digested.

Dilfer compares TCU quarterback Andy Dalton to Super-Bowl winner Aaron Rodgers. This is of interest to the AFC West because Kansas City is working out Dalton. I know he doesn’t have the classic cannon Al Davis loves, but I think the Raiders should consider him in the second or third round as well.
  • Former Kansas City and San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer talks about his new role as an UFL coach in a radio interview.

McShay's mock and Newton's impact

February, 10, 2011
Todd McShay has compiled his latest NFL mock draft Insider for an Insider piece.

Before we review his picks, we must take into account the media-only workout held by Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. ESPN’s Trent Dilfer was in San Diego for the practice and he raved about Newton . Dilfer said Newton could move all the way up to the No. 1 pick by Carolina. I can see it. No position moves up the draft board like the quarterback.

I’m sure Denver is rooting for Newton to go to Carolina. That would leave every defensive player on the board available. The Broncos need defensive help badly as they were ranked last in the NFL in total defense and points allowed in 2010. McShay had Newton going to Washington at No. 10 prior to his workout.

Onto McShay’s picks:

No. 2, Denver

Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

My thoughts: Denver would be thrilled to take Fairley. He would be a great start to this defensive reconstruction.

No. 18, San Diego

Aldon Smith, Defensive end/linebacker, Missouri

My thoughts: He’s one of the players I think San Diego will look at. He would fill a need.

No. 21, Kansas City

Akeem Ayers, linebacker, UCLA

My thoughts: Ayers is a guy I could see ending up in San Diego or Kansas City. This would be a very good value pick.

Oakland traded the No. 17 pick to New England for defensive lineman Richard Seymour in 2009.

Evening AFC West notes

December, 14, 2010
Jim Fassel’s name is being floated again for the upcoming Denver coaching search. He is a former Denver assistant with head coaching experience who goes way back with John Elway, who is expected to join the team. It’s a name to keep an eye on.
  • Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel talks about his injury status with a Kansas City radio station.
  • Denver rookie cornerback Perrish Cox could potentially face life in prison if he is convicted on sexual assault charges. He was arrested last week. He was released on bond and he is back with the team.