June 11, 2013; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos defensive back Champ Bailey (24) during mini camp drills at the Broncos training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Pre Training Camp Preview-AFC West

The AFC West used to be a pretty competitive division until Peyton Manning arrived. The Broncos seem to be a cut above every other team in the division. The other teams do have things they can build on but they know it’s the Broncos division and they have to go through them to get to the playoffs. This isn’t to say the other teams can’t do it because they all have talent.

Denver Broncos-It all starts and stops with Peyton Manning. The Denver Broncos are a complete team in all three phases but they go as Peyton goes and after they took the risk of signing him after he missed a full year with neck surgery, he hasn’t disappointed. If it wasn’t for Raheim Moore he could possibly have another Super Bowl ring right now. As close as they were the Broncos didn’t sit on their hands this offseason. They got better. They released Willis McGahee but drafted Montee Ball to be his long term replacement. The draft as a whole was really good. They also added Wes Welker to an already deadly receiving core. I just don’t see how defenses are going to defend that consistently. Not only did the offense get better, so did the already solid defense by adding vets Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Quentin Jammer to pair with Champ Bailey. As of right now the Broncos are the favorite to come out of the AFC.

San Diego Chargers-Remember when Philip Rivers was supposed to be the next Super Bowl winning QB? It seems so long ago but it’s not. Rivers is still a great QB and the missing the playoffs the last 3 years isn’t entirely fault but he is the Quarterback so they get a lot of the blame. He’s also thrown 35 INTs and fumbled 20 times the last 2 seasons and that’s way too much. He has had offensive line issues that some of that can be attributed to and they’ve tried to fix that by signing Max Starks and drafting DJ Fluker in the first round. The defense lost a lot of key pieces in the offseason in Quentin Jammer and Shaun Phillips, Last year’s 1st round pick Melvin Ingram also tore his ACL so will be out for the season. The defense could be a weakness this year with a young secondary and unproven players in the front seven. If Philip Rivers regains his form from earlier in his career, and that’s a big IF, they can score but that might not be enough to break this playoff drought.

Kansas City Chiefs-It will be new coach, new attitude for the Chiefs this year. Andy Reid brings a wealth of knowledge and a winning attitude to this young but talented team. They have the pieces to be a winner but haven’t been able to put it all together consistently. Part of the problem was QB play so as soon as Reid got here they traded for Alex Smith to help with that problem. He won’t be asked to win games alone as he will be helped by handing it off, or in Andy Reid’s case, dumping it off the All Pro Jamaal Charles. They also drafted Eric Fisher to pair with Brandon Albert to give Smith some piece of mind. The defense is stacked with talent at every level and still got better with the additions Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson. With the talent they have on the roster the Chiefs are the closest thing to the Broncos in this division.

Oakland Raiders-After the death of Al Davis the Raiders have been trying to clean house and basically rebuild this team. They haven’t been to the playoffs since they lost in the Super Bowl in 2002. Being a Raider fan is rough. There is hope. The new regime is trying to bring the Raiders back to prominence but they had a lot of work to do. They got rid of some bad contracts and have had some solid drafts. They signed Matt Flynn to be there new QB but he might get beat out by rookie Tyler Wilson who could be the QB of the future. They have some young talent like Darren McFadden, if he can stay healthy and Tyvon Branch. There is hope for Raider Nation but don’t expect much too soon. This will take some time.

Tags: AFC West

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