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Around the AFC West: Bridgewater, Lock battle in Denver

Let’s see what’s been up with the Broncos, Chargers and Raiders this week.

NFL: Denver Broncos Training Camp Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The first week of NFL training camp is in the books. Let’s see what’s been going on with the Kansas City Chiefs’ AFC West opponents.


Denver Broncos

The Broncos’ defense is really good. Players came into training camp looking to be the best in the NFL. Linebacker Von Miller wants his team to make it back to the playoffs and compete for the Lombardi Trophy in the Super Bowl.

This is the mentality Miller needs to bring in order to help inspire his team to get back to the postseason. Miller and linebacker Bradley Chubb both battled injuries over the last couple of seasons; 2018 was the last time they were both healthy. So this could be the year where they wreak havoc on the AFC West — and the league.

Chubb was held out of team drills for the first couple of days of camp. On Wednesday, head coach Vic Fangio said it would “probably be another couple days before we cut him loose.”

Position battle of the week

For the second week in a row, the position battle to watch is the quarterbacks.

It is still a battle between Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater. This seems like it’s going to be the roster the Broncos will roll with — and it should be a fun battle to watch. It will be interesting to see if the Broncos decide to use both, making a week-by-week decision based on which player had the better practices. I am not sure how successful that plan could be, but it might actually help the Broncos see which quarterback is the hungriest to start.

At the end of the day, the Broncos have one of the best all-around defenses. They have the weapons on offense, but it will come down to the quarterback play.

The must-see tweet


Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders opened up this week's training camp hoping that all the draft picks they made during Jon Gruden's second stint as the team’s head coach will finally shine. This means that the Raiders’ 2019 first-rounders must have a huge season, helping them make the playoffs — which hasn’t happened since 2016, when they lost to the Houston Texans in the Wild Card round. Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs and Jonathan Abram must have spectacular seasons in order to help the Raiders get over the hump — or you can classify the 2019 draft class as a bust.

Also note that the Raiders put two running backs — Jalen Richard and Theo Riddick — on the Reserve/COVID list. Riddick then retired. Meanwhile, running back Kenyan Drake was placed on the non-football injury list.

Position battle of the week

Throughout training camp, the wide receiver room will be the one to watch. The team does not have a true X receiver; we will have to see what they do moving forward.

They had signed Tyrell Williams to be their X receiver, but he was injured all of last year and released in the offseason. After being injured, 2020 draft pick Henry Ruggs III didn’t have the breakout rookie season everyone thought he would have. Will Zay Jones — acquired in 2019, but who hasn’t been used to the best of his ability — finally step up?

Last season, their most consistent receiver was Hunter Renfrow, who was used primarily on third-down conversions. Bryan Edwards was used often in his rookie campaign but battled a nagging injury. John Brown — signed in the offseason — might have the best chance to make an impact as the X receiver. Another player signed in free agency — Willie Sneed IV — can supply great speed and route-running abilities.

Carr is going to have his hands full trying to figure out how to use all of his toys around him.

The must-see tweet


Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers opened their training camp hoping they can keep the team healthy this season — and wondering if quarterback Justin Herbert can take the step forward that everyone has been expecting.

Offensive lineman Rashawn Slater — 2021’s 13th overall pick — inked a four-year, fully-guaranteed deal on Tuesday. Slater was acquired to help protect Herbert and improve the running game.

The Chargers placed wide receiver John Hurst on the physically-unable-to-perform list and put running back Justin Jackson on Reserve/COVID list.

Position battle of the week

The Chargers have three placekickers in camp: Michael Badgley, Alex Kessman and Tristan Vizcaino. Badgely’s kicking had previously earned him the nickname “The Money Badger” — but in 2021, he wasn’t so... money. He was just 23 for 33 on field goals for the Chargers. That 72.7% tied for 27th in the NFL. So Badgley will have to earn his spot in 2021.

The must-see tweet