Wednesday, October 20, 2010
How I See It: AFC West Stock Watch
By Bill Williamson
1. Ryan Harris, Denver Broncos right tackle: It looks like Harris is losing his starting job. Second-round pick Zane Beadles took over last week and probably will play against the Raiders on Sunday. It is a surprise because Harris is a solid young player who has a future in the league. He suffered a foot injury last October and was essentially out for the year. He suffered an ankle injury in the fourth preseason game this year and he was terrible at Baltimore last week when he finally played. He was rusty. Denver moved to a power-blocking scheme from its long-time zone-blocking look this year, so Beadles may be a better fit. But the light, athletic Harris is too talented to stay on the bench.
2. Jason Campbell, Oakland Raiders quarterback: That was fast. Campbell was on the rise last week after he helped Oakland beat San Diego, ending a 13-game losing streak to the Chargers. Campbell spelled Bruce Gradkowski in the game and was 13-of-18 passing for 159 yards. The prevailing thought was that Campbell learned from his poor start to the season. That is no longer the case after Campbell was horrible in a loss to the previously winless 49ers. Campbell had a passer rating of 10.7. If Gradkowski’s injured shoulder isn’t ready, No. 3 quarterback Kyle Boller may start Sunday at Denver. Campbell has a sore knee, but he also doesn’t have the confidence of the organization. It’s early, but it sure seems like trading for Campbell in the offseason wasn’t the solution Oakland thought it would be.
The Chiefs celebrated linebacker Mike Vrabel's 10th career receiving touchdown on Sunday.
3. San Diego Chargers' offensive line: In Marcus McNeill’s first game at left tackle since ending his holdout, this unit was a mess. San Diego allowed seven sacks after being very strong in the first five games. It was clear the entire line was affected by the move. McNeill is a good player and the unit will jell, but the change from Brandyn Dombrowski to McNeill hurt the Chargers as they fell to 2-4 with a loss at St. Louis.
1. Mike Vrabel,Kansas City Chiefs offensive machine: Somebody needs to learn to stop Mike Vrabel. Here’s a hint, NFL: If the 35-year-old linebacker is on the field when the Chiefs’ offense is near the goal line, you might want to cover him. Vrabel caught his 10th career touchdown pass Sunday at Houston. It is an NFL record by a defensive player.
2. Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos red zone weapon: This is what Tebow did at Florida: He took the ball and found the end zone. Sunday, seeing the field for the second time this season, Tebow gave Denver a much-needed spark with a 5-yard touchdown run against the Jets. He had six carries for 23 yards. Denver coach Josh McDaniels has said that for Tebow to be truly effective as a role player, he will need to be a passing threat as well as a running threat. Don’t expect to see Tebow in every game. But he is a weapon who proved he can help his team.
3. Kansas City Chiefs’ passing game: Quarterback Matt Cassel threw three touchdown passes and receiver Dwayne Bowe caught two of them. Bowe had six catches for 108 yards against Houston. Both players have been under fire in Kansas City. Sunday, they showed they can be effective.