2013 AFC West Preview – NFL FootballSaturday, August 24, 2013 20:10
Preview of the AFC West for the 2013 NFL season.
2013 NFL Season Preview
2012 Record: 4 – 12
When Marc Davis hired Reggie Mackenzie from the Packers front office, the former Raiders linebacker said he was ‘coming home” where he belonged.
So, he fired Hugh Jackson after one 8 – 8 year in Oakland and Mackenzie let the world know “for the Raiders, the time for change is now.”
But how much is really going to change? If Davis was intent on hiring a GM, why did he hire Jackson in the first place? Sure, Jackson didn’t instill the discipline he promised at his opening presser, but he had a respectable season.
It was/is a classic Al Davis move.
Another question: If Jackson wasn’t Davis’s guy, why pull the trigger on the Carson Palmer deal and cripple Jackson’s successor before his first draft?
Right out of Al Davis’s playbook.
If your plan was to get a GM to bring in his own people, that’s fine, but to hire a coach and blow him off after a year isn’t fair to anyone.
Not quite as bad as Davis’s treatment of Mike Shanahan, but close enough.
When we look at the 2013 draft, what has changed in the way Da Raidas approach the game? They took quick CB DJ Hayden, who is recovering from a near fatal internal injury in his senior season. Most teams took Hayden off the first-day board mostly due to the injury–and he wasn’t the top CB.
Why not snag the Boise State standout Jamar Taylor or FSU’s Xavier Rhodes?
In the second round Oakland nabbed Menelik Watson out of FSU, who will be 25 years old in his rookie season–another hit or miss guy with different colored baggage.
I do like Sio Moore, OLB in the third round, great athlete, but there were three or four linebackers respected experts had rated above him.
Al Davis would have loved these three picks–and therein lies the Raiders’ essential problem.
Until the culture changes, until discipline is consistently instilled throughout the organization, the Raiders will forever be the Ernest Hemingway of NFL teams: sometimes displaying brilliance in between bouts of delusional self-indulgence, always lacking self-control–and in the end shooting themselves in the foot–I mean, head–and that’s as far as I take that metaphor.
If the Raiders lead the NFL in penalties after Week 4, we’ll know it’s going to be another long year.
Major Story: Tyrell Pryor impresses when Flynn doesn’t–but where is the defense?
Predicted Finish: 7 – 9
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
2012 Record: 7 – 9
I was so bummed when Norv Turner got canned. Not because he didn’t deserve the pink slip, but because I had so much fun at his expense trying to figure out AS THE NORV TURNS.
All you need to know: I picked the 2012 Norvers to win the division and they didn’t come close. The reason they didn’t come close was due to Phillip Rivers not having time to throw behind one of the most puzzling offensive lines in the league–huge, supposedly talented, but woefully ineffective.
Joe D’Aleesandris, from my hometown of Aliquippa, Pa, hopes to put some charge into the Bolt’s line, and for Phillip Rivers’ sake–and that of the running backs–he damn well better. He’ll have first rounder D.J. Fluker to help, but not much else…
Last year, Rivers proved Turner had taken his QB as far as he could go; in fact, Rivers was regressing. This year, you have to figure if head honcho Mike McCoy could make Tim Tebow a playoff-winning QB and deftly handle Peyton Manning’s rise to become Denver’s defacto offensive coordinator, he’ll do wonders for the Bolts’ former number-one pick.
Bottom line: An under achieving defense and Phillip Rivers must return to prominence if the Chargers want to shock the NFL.
Major Story: Rivers and the Bolts shock the AFC West, but fizzle out in the end.
Predicted Finish: 7 – 9
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
2012 Record: 2 – 14
Always have been a big Andy Reid fan. He never lost a team, even though haters can see he never really found one either.
I guess I admire the way he has handled considerable tragedy in his personal universe. His son’s decade long addictions and eventual death would have rendered lesser men totally devastated. Of course, we can’t know Reid’s emotional state through his personal crises, but you have to give the man kudos for perseverance.
On the football side of things, Reid has Alex Smith, who was totally dissed in San Francisco, has a good-sized block of wood on his shoulder, and is better than Donavan McNabb can dream of being.
Reid has the offensive horses to turn the Chiefs around. His choice of Bob Sutton as Defensive Coordinator left a lot of people scratching their heads. In fact, Reid has filled his staff with coaches who were with him in Green Bay and Philly.
Yet, another reason to like Reid–he stood by his choice of former offensive line coach Juan Castillo as DC during his last two years as the Eagles’ head coach, and his choices for his KC staff reflect the same spirit of independence.
Or, is it stubbornness?
Reid knows there will be little room for excuses. With Alex Smith–a perfect QB for the “West Coast” offense–a great runner in Jamaal Charles and a good defensive front, Reid’s Chiefs could make life difficult for the division’s prohibitive favorite.
Major Story: Smith gets his due as the Chiefs vie for a wild card.
Predicted Finish: 9 – 7
2012 Record: 13 – 3
Losing Von Miller for cheating on his drug test will challenge a Denver defense that really doesn’t have to be great for the Broncos to win the AFC West–but the defense, even without Miller, is pretty damn good, anyway.
Add Peyton Manning to that mix–the best offensive mind in the game–and the Wild Horses are, along with Houston and the Patriots, an AFC playoff lock.
Sometimes locks jam, they rust, they break…
Look at this team’s leadership.
In 1983, a green John Elway famously told the Baltimore Colts to kiss his ass and threatened to trade a ball with laces for one with seams if they didn’t trade him.
That move, although controversial at the time, was vindicated at the very end of Elway’s career with consecutive Super Bowl championships.
Broncos head coach John Fox was never famous for his discipline during his nine-year run in Carolina.
Last week during an interview about Von Miller’s cheating–and arrest for failure to appear at a court date–Elway came off like a naive AA counselor when he mentioned “getting Von the help he needs” and “giving him all the support” we can.
I expected him to announce a baby sitter would be hired to clean the crap out of Miller’s head.
This lack of accountability starts with Elway and has crystallized during a shameful off-season for Denver.
I’ll let Denver Post columnist Mike Klis, fill you in:
Elway’s top two front-office assistants, Matt Russell and Tom Heckert, were arrested on drunken-driving charges this summer. Elway had recently hired Heckert as director of pro personnel and last year promoted Russell to director of player personnel.
Russell’s DUI arrest came after he allegedly hit two cars, including a patrol car near Breckenridge. Was Elway embarrassed by the arrests?
“I was disappointed in them,” Elway said. “They’re better than that. They know that and I know that.”
Disappointed? Where is the outrage? If everyone is better than their actions why don’t they know not to act irresponsibly? What example is Elway setting for his organization?
Ask Von Miller.
The Broncos have the kick to stay atop a weak division, and as long as Manning can throw, they are favorites to compete for the AFC title–but one significant injury or another ugly dent in Denver’s armor, and that lock could get picked quickly.
Major Story: The division catches up, but it isn’t enough.
Predicted Finish: 11 – 5 Division Champs
UP NEXT: AFC SOUTH
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