I know, I know, I miss you all too. It’s been awhile since you’ve been blessed by one of my magnificent sports blog posts, and I know that when you are deprived of great art, in the form of writing, then you tend to get upset and restless. Have no fear, I have returned like the Jedi, back to save you from the monotony of your nine to five, if just for a few minutes. On a side note, I am thankful that you have all stayed loyal to my blog, and I will personally send all my followers, all six of you, a letter of apology for keeping you waiting so long. Expect to receive this letter in the not so near to distant future.
Anyway, on to the good stuff. The AFC West.
Denver, Denver, Denver … where do I even begin? It seems that the firing of Mike Shanahan set off a chain reaction of unpleasant events that resulted in a few players being disgruntled. Incidentally or not, this spelled the end of Denver’s Super Bowl hopes. First your star player, your franchise player, he wants out, and he basically forces you to trade him. He demanded a deal to get done, and you obliged. Then, the other half of your offensive one-two punch wants to follow suit, in fact, it was rumored that he publicly spoke about his hopes to reunite with your former star player mentioned before. Well, you managed to keep him (player mentioned second) a Bronco, but unfortunately he has some off-the-field issues that he has to clear up, and who knows how that will affect his game? So even when you win a battle, you’re still losing the war. What a complete melt down out in the Mile High. A no name coach, a journeymen quarterback, talented receivers, but will they flourish under new leadership? At this point, Denver should consider closing up shop and selling the remaining parts to the highest bidder. I may be blowing this completely out of proportion here, but can anyone argue with me? Can anyone look me directly in the eyes, and say to me that the Denver Broncos are a playoff caliber team, while holding a straight face? If so, I’d like stake him or her in the next WSOP. The one thing that Denver’s got going for them is that they’re in possibly the weakest division in the AFC, and the front running San Diego Chargers are a bunch of underachievers. After all that has unfolded out in Colorado (in what seems like in about a week) they went from Super Bowl hopefuls to a team in rebuilding. I’ll give them five wins this season, but in all reality, that’s a bit of a stretch.
The Denver Broncos finish the season 5-11
Kansas City Chiefs
Todd Haley is the new lieutenant in Kansas City, and his sergeant, Matt Cassel is now the face of this once prominent franchise. Let’s go over what’s good, and what’s bad for the Chiefs. The good, despite the somewhat tumultuous relationship Larry “Not Grandmama” Johnson has had with the Chiefs, he’s still … well … a Chief, and as long as he brings his “A” game to the grid iron every week, the Chiefs have a good chance of competing in the AFC west, which in light of recent events (complete Denver melt down), doesn’t look to be a stacked division to begin with. Remember, Larry Johnson was amongst the elite class of runningbacks in a not so distant past, and I have faith that as long as he stays focused and motivated, he can once again run with the best of them. Another good, is that Matt Cassel is good! I am an advocate of Matt Cassel, and if anyone can perform that impressively (last season), in the shadows of a living legend, and after not starting a game at quarterback in some 25 years or however long it’s been for him, then I have reason to believe that it’s not just the Belichick “system”. Maybe Matt Cassel can straight up ball, maybe that’s the reason for his success last season. Matt Cassel can straight up ball, you can quote me on that one. Now the bad. The Chiefs were in the bottom in yards per game, as well as points per game last year, finishing 24th & 26th in their respective categories. Matt Cassel is very good … but he ain’t that good. Laughing out loud. I know it slightly contradicts all I’ve been saying about Cassel as I made him out to be an instant savior of this franchise, but he’s not Jesus. The Chiefs will improve a fair amount with him at the helm this season, but he won’t turn water into wine. Add a new coach to the equation, one who has to earn the respect and trust of his players, and you’ve got yourself a potential train wreck of a season. Well, unless we consider Kansas City a team in rebuilding, which I do, then every negative event that occurs this year is simply just a step in their learning process.
The Kansas City Chiefs finish the season 4-12
Until Al Davis either sells the team, steps down from his role in the operation of the team, or realizes and accepts … that’s the key here, acceptsss in the fact that he doesn’t know football or sees talent like he once did, then the Raiders will continue to suck. Why excuse my language, I meant, the Raiders will continue to perform at a below average level. In layman’s terms, they won’t be good. The Raiders are so bad, that when writing about them, the only thing that comes to mind is finding multiple ways to convey in words how much they suck. Which is a shame, especially for me. I was born in and raised around San Francisco. I love all of our sports franchises, thus I’m a Niner fan for life, but … I am not a “hater” towards the teams across the Bay Bridge, and as long as the Raiders aren’t playing the 49ers, I’ll root for them too. Problem here is, there’s nothing to root for out in Oakland accept for perhaps the side-show events that occur off the field, and no, I’m not talking about the illegal car stunts. I just watched the NBC Bay Area nightly news report that head coach Tom Cable just broke the jaw of someone on his staff, by flipping the staff member over while on his chair. Oh my. You know what, I take it back, there are two reasons to watch the Raiders play. One, Nnamdi Asomugha, crazy name with crazy game. I almost feel bad that the best corner in the game is going to remain a relative no-name due to the fact that he’s stuck in Oak Town. Please, if you get the chance, watch this guy, he’s truly amazing at his position. The other reason why you’d watch the Raiders, the development of … guess … Darren McFadden. You thought I was going to say JaMarcus Russell, but I’ve already given up on him. Bust. McFadden however, was quite impressive in his rookie campaign, and I look forward to seeing his progression this season with a year of experience notched under his belt. On a side note, Why didn’t the Raiders pursue Michael Vick? What the fizzle? The Raiders are renown for bringing in the players who are over the hill, as well as the players who have either a troubled past, or an attitude problem. I’d say that 75% of these players brought in are complete failures for the Raiders, but Michael Vick would have been an exception. The percentages would flip, and Vick would have a 75% success rate out in Oakland. Vick can straight up ball (like Cassel) and after he shakes off his prison rust, he’ll be nearly as good as he was prior to his sentencing nearly two years ago. Epic fail Oakland, epic fail indeed. By the way, Jeff Garcia, who I mentioned before as one of the most underrated quarterbacks of all time, is their best bet at winning. It’ll be interesting to see if Cable has the guts to pull that trigger.
The Oakland Raiders finish the season 3-13
San Diego Chargers
Man, I still didn’t understand what Marty was thinking in 2007, when the Chargers hosted the Pats in an AFC Divisional Playoff game that went the wire. LT was the most dominant player in all of football that season, and was named the NFL’s MVP. That afternoon, he shredded the Pats defense throughout most of the game, a defense that is usually stout come big-games. LT wasn’t impressed, as he ran around and through the New England defenders. In such a tight match, one would think that possessions would be one of the keys to victory. In fact, it could very well be the utmost important key to victory. Marty pulled the plug on the LT onslaught, and key mistakes down the stretch allowed the Patriots to steal the win away from the Chargers. Of course, the intensity of battle got the best of LT, and the usually reserved Tomlinson poured out his feelings towards New England’s behavior after they sealed the game. In the post-game press conference, he called them “classless” and eluded to Belichick as the reason. I feel as if that was the last bit of emotion, and passion that anyone on the Chargers openly expressed to this day. I get the sense that, well … they don’t care as much anymore. They haven’t been inspired to win it all since Marty was their leader. Unfortunately Marty choked, it’s what he’s known for. He got canned for it. I think he’s shouldered the blame of too much of his team’s past failures and it wasn’t fair to him, but in this particular game, it was his fault and his alone. Now Norv is the man, and as successful as he’s been on the sidelines, he’s not garnered the respect he deserves as a head coach. I think this might be the year he sheds that stigmatism. I believe that they were carelessly strolling through the 2008 season without a care in the world, then something snapped. Norv Turner was able to rally the troops and lead them into the post-season where they eventually met, and were defeated by the 2009 Super Bowl champion Steelers in Heinz field. On paper, the Chargers should have been able to waltz into the Super Bowl in each of the past three seasons, and it’s no different this year. Expectations are held high in San Diego, and the pressure is on. For the first time in his career, LT’s game was criticized. Despite his array of injuries, many felt that LT entered the declining stage of his career, and that he wasn’t the same back as we’ve gotten accustomed to. On top of that, LT’s former backup, Michael Turner was extremely impressive as the feature back in Atlanta, and Darren Sproles (LT’s backup now) had a standout season as well. The combination of all these events aided in the perception that LT was done. Are you people serious? When LT returns healthy this season, he will be competing against AP not only for best back in the league, but for MVP honors. Shawne Merriman will also be back in the mix after playing Russian roulette with his career last season. His intensity and of course, talent, brings another dimension to the Charger defense. Philip Rivers may be arrogant, but he definitely has the goods to back it up, and his intensity rivals that of Merriman, but on the offensive side of the ball. Each season that passes leads to improvement in his leadership skills, and that could essentially be the key to San Diego’s Super Bowl dream. Antonio Gates, an underrated receiving core, solid special teams and good coaching will result in San Diego winning the AFC West with ease.
The San Diego Chargers finish the season 11-5