| About us | Privacy Policy | Contact us | Sitemap
Home News Forum Blog Standings Roster Players Schedule Depth Chart Stats Photos Videos
san-diego-chargers-nfl-wildcard-win-2008 San Diego Chargers NFL Wildcard Win 2008...
All the latest San Diego Chargers Photos Store photographs. Football NFL.
nfl-san-diego-chargers-vs--carolina-panthers-ladainian-tomlinson NFL San Diego Chargers Vs. Carolina Panthers LaDainian Tomlinson...
All the latest San Diego Chargers Photos Store photographs. Football NFL.
san-diego-chargers-[chrgurz] SAN DIEGO CHARGERS [CHRGURZ]...
All the latest San Diego Chargers Photos Store photographs. Football NFL.

San Diego Chargers News

News » Raiders can move on up in West


Raiders can move on up in West


Raiders can move on up in West
WITH THE Chargers hoping for one more postseason run with cornerstones LaDainian Tomlinson and Shawne Merriman, and the Chiefs and Broncos overhauling their rosters, the timing is right for the Raiders to move up in the AFC West.


No, really.

They climbed out of the cellar last season, for first time since 2002, so progress is not inconceivable.

The conclusion of the NFL draft Sunday brought into focus the directions of teams as they enter the 2009 season. Drafting is over, most veteran free agents are signed, most trades are complete, coaching staffs are intact and each team will have a minicamp within the next two weeks.

In the AFC West, only the Chargers, coming off five straight winning seasons, have more answers than questions. They have fewer roster changes than the others and virtually the same returning coaching staff.

Until they get smacked down, San Diego is at the top, with the other three teams battling for second place.

And no team has a clear lead.

Not Denver, which finished second in 2008 but fired longtime architect/head coach Mike Shanahan and traded Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler, replacing them with former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Bears castoff Kyle Orton.

Not Kansas City, which finished last and replaced general manager Carl Peterson with Scott Pioli (formerly of New England), who replaced coach Herm Edwards with former Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

And not Oakland, which ended the season with back-to-back victories to finish third and give boss Al Davis a reason to remove the interim tag from head coach Tom Cable.

The Raiders , though, have a clearer path to improvement than the Broncos or the Chiefs.

Oakland addressed primary offensive needs, getting capable veteran backup quarterback Jeff Garcia from Free Agency and adding wideouts Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy in the draft. The Raiders could use a left tackle, but free-agent acquisition Khalif Barnes and Mario Henderson could hold up well enough to ensure JaMarcus Russell no longer has to operate the league's worst pass offense.

What the Raiders didn't do with roster additions is improve their pass rush and a run defense as soft and holey as anything you can find at Krispy Kreme. They finished 31st in the NFL in rushing defense ahead of only winless Detroit and return most of the same personnel.

Not getting a thumper of a linebacker like Rey Maualauga or a defensive tackle like B.J. Raji or Ron Brace much less a veteran beast like Albert Haynesworth means it's up to new defensive coordinator John Marshall to work a miracle where former defensive coordinator Rob Ryan could not.

For the record, Marshall was the defensive coordinator in Seattle last season, when the Seahawks finished 18th in run defense but dead last in pass defense.

Yet there is a measure of stability here that does not exist in Denver or K.C. Oakland was better than either in total defense in 2008 and was able to establish a superior running game behind Justin Fargas, Darren McFadden and Michael Bush.

Meanwhile, the Broncos are blowing up entire sections of their roster, releasing 15 players and adding 16 since January. They're loaded with runners, adding LaMont Jordan, Correll Buckhalter and J.J. Arrington through Free Agency and using their first-round draft pick on Georgia's Knowshon Moreno.

The biggest defensive signing for a Denver team with acute deficiencies there was former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins, once terrific but now 36 years old.

In Kansas City, the Chiefs have released at least 10 players and added 13. Pioli traded for Patriots backup QB Matt Cassel and dealt Tony Gonzalez, a popular tight end likely headed for the Hall of Fame.

The Chiefs, shockingly young last season, have been seasoned with oldsters like Zach Thomas, Mike Vrabel, Bobby Engram and Mike Goff.

It's hard to imagine the Broncos or Chiefs, both of whom will migrate out of the 4-3 defense and into the 3-4, posting winning records in 2009. That depends, to some degree, on whether either can pick up wins against Oakland.

Which should be more difficult, especially if Raiders boss Al Davis adds another piece or two on defense and gives his coaches the freedom and authority necessary to have a chance to take advantage of a division in transition.

Contact Monte Poole at mpoole@bayareanewsgroup.com



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 28, 2009

• Celizic: Giants miss big chance vs. Brow...
 Posted By chargerman
• Browns blast Giants in Monday night stun...
 Posted By chargerman
• Bengals won't have Palmer for 1 more gam...
 Posted By chargerman
• Manning had 2 knee surgeries before seas...
 Posted By chargerman
• Rotoworld: What does injury mean for fan...
 Posted By chargerman
• Romo has broken pinkie, could be out 4 w...
 Posted By chargerman
• Vote: How will Cowboys fare without Romo...
 Posted By chargerman
• Opinion: Romo injury just adds to Cowboy...
 Posted By chargerman
• Jags' Jones to enter drug treatment prog...
 Posted By chargerman
• Collier out of hospital, Jaguars confirm...
 Posted By chargerman
Antonio Gates Name: Antonio Gates
#85
Position: TE
Age: 28
Experience: 6 years
College: Kent State
Copyright © Chargershome.com, Inc. All rights reserved 2018.