Denver taking over AFC West

Updated: August 13, 2007, 3:36 PM ET
By Matt Williamson
The Denver Broncos are the team to beat in the AFC West. I know the Chargers were 14-2 last year and their roster is stacked with star power and depth, but two things happened this offseason to change the balance of power.

First of all, the Chargers lost a ton of coaching expertise and experience in the offseason. San Diego fired former head coach Marty Schottenheimer and two coordinators left for head coaching jobs. San Diego is very strong, but it will experience growing pains with the new staff. The Chargers hired Norv Turner to take over, but his head coaching track record (58-82-1) should not inspire a whole lot of confidence.

The second reason is Denver's additions to its roster and coaching staff, particularly new defensive coordinator Jim Bates. He will employ a much more aggressive scheme and the Broncos now have the horses to not only pull it off, but to have tremendous success in those schemes. In order for Bates to be more aggressive, he needs strong cover men, which is why the addition of Dre' Bly was so important. Bly made a living against No. 1 wide receivers while in Detroit, but now he can generally concentrate on the opponents' No. 2 pass catcher. He will thrive in this role opposite Champ Bailey, who very well could be the best defensive player in the game today.