This coming season, I think the AFC West will be one of the most interesting divisions to watch. I think all teams should be considered a chance at making the playoffs. While it's likely San Diego will win the division, I think the Chiefs, Raiders and Broncos all have a chance to be good this season. Let's take a look at each team's good, bad and ugly.
The Good: Young Talent
The Bronco's have had 4 first round picks in the last 2 drafts, Knowshon Moreno, Robert Ayers, Demaryius Thomas and Tim Tebow. Moreno had a pretty good rookie season last year. While Ayers didn't, he was a DL and we all know how DL take time to develop. Tebow could develop into a great QB but again he will take time. Thomas, while not a Brandon Marshall, will still be good. The Bronco's have laid the foundation for the future with some talented young players.
The Bad: Josh McDaniels Calling The Shots
While the youth movement is all well and good, McDaniels is fooling himself if he thinks you can just gut a team of all older talent and replace it with unproven rookies. Herman Edwards learned that the hard way in KC. McDaniels, in my opinion is a little too young and inexperienced to be a HC.
The Ugly: The QB Position
Tim Tebow could be great. The operative word there being "could". It will take a year to figure out whether he can or not. In the meantime Denver has Kyle Orton who has put up some good numbers but is far from being an elite QB. Then there is Brady Quinn who, maybe if he had some weapons in Cleveland, might have been a success. Otherwise he's nothing special considering Denver cut their number 1 WR and another of their good WR.
The Good: Their Offseason
Al Davis looks like he has finally loosened his stranglehold on the Raiders organization and started to take into consideration the opinions of his scouts. He seemed to have made right choices in the draft by taking Rolando McClain and Lamar Houston. Davis has also conceded defeat on Jamarcus Russell.
The Bad: The QB Position
While Jason Campbell is an improvement over Russell he still is by no means a great QB. He didn't excel in Washington where he had average protection. How is going to fare in Oakland with below average protection?
The Ugly: The WR Position
Jason Campbell needs a true #1 WR to make him great. That is something the Raiders lack. Louis Murphy is a #2 WR. Darrius Heyward-Bey is a very fast guy who may or may not be able to make it in this league. Outside of TE Zach Miller, Jason Campbell lacks a go-to-guy.
The Good: Coaching
Todd Haley looks like he has got the full support of the players and has installed a winning attitude into them. The Chiefs then went out and got 2 great coordinators in Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis. While both of these guys have had poor records as HC their record as DC and OC, respectively, is very well respected.
The Bad: The WR Position
Chris Chambers should have another 1 or 2 good years. Beyond that is unclear. Dwayne Bowe could be #1 WR for his team. His recent media gaffes have hindered the chance of the Chiefs being his team. This is an important season for him. If he can't return to his 2008 form he may be shown the door.
The Ugly: The Front Seven
Outside of 5th round pick, Cameron Sheffield, The Chiefs didn't add a pass rusher this offseason. This is an area of need for the Chiefs. NT is similar in that the only addition was Shaun Smith who may or may not be great. The Chiefs were obviously hoping Romeo Crennel can make something of the 4 1st round picks that the Chiefs have in the front seven before they go and spend another high draft pick on a LB or DL.
The Good: Phillip Rivers
What is there to say? Rivers is one of the best QBs in the league. He can dominate opponents and was the key behind the Chargers 13-3 record in 2009. He will continue to be a dominant QB in the league.
The Bad: The Defence
The loss of Jamal Williams and Antonio Cromartie will hurt their defence. Shawn Merriman's production keeps falling as does his interest in the Chargers. He remains with the team thanks to a franchise tag contract. He may also be out of the Chargers at season's end if he doesn't increase his level of play.
The Ugly: The Choking History.
The Chargers have been one of the league's biggest chokers and that was clear last season after a shock loss to the New York Jets in last season's playoffs, after going the regular season 13-3. The Chargers are still the biggest chokers in the league and there window of opportunity is closing fast on a Super Bowl. The Chargers boasted the explosive offence of Rivers, Vincent Jackson, LT, and Antonio Gates and couldn't get it done.
The Chargers look as though they will probably be taking the AFC West crown again. That being said, Oakland, Denver and Kansas City all look like they could be contenders in the coming years. This is a "go for broke" season for San Diego. I see it as their last realistic chance at a deep playoffs run. If Oakland can keep running things the way they are now, they could be very impressive in the coming years. Denver has a chance, but serious improvements need to be made from their young talent if they are going to stay the course. Kansas City is not without a chance at the playoffs but Romeo Crennel needs to make something out of the Chiefs front seven and Matt Cassel needs some solid improvement from his 2009 season.
1st San Diego Chargers
2nd Kansas City Chiefs
3rd Oakland Raiders
4th Denver Broncos
San Diego should be looking at about a 10-6 season. They will have a little slow down, but not enough to cost them the division.
There won't be much separation between Kansas City and Oakland. Both will probably be around the 8-8 mark. They have both made the moves to make them a better team, but not enough to make them a great team, not yet at least.
Denver will fall to around the 5-11 area. Their Passing game won't be nearly as good and Moreno will be forced to carry the ball more
Let me know your thoughts on the AFC West in the 2010 season