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Around the AFC West: could CB Asante Samuel Jr. start for the Chargers?

Checking in on what’s happening around the rest of the division as preseason Week 2 gets underway.

Los Angeles Chargers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Following a 19-16 preseason victory against the San Francisco 49ers, the Kansas City Chiefs are in Phoenix to play the Arizona Cardinals in preseason Week 2. Let’s take a look at how things are going in the rest of the AFC West.


Denver Broncos

In their opening preseason matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, the Broncos proved that they could be effective with either Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback — although because it is the preseason, we should pump the brakes back a little; teams aren’t playing their starters for full games.

This week, it’s all been about how good Denver’s receiving corps really is. Jerry Jeudy has been catching the ball in the middle of the field, using his elusiveness to juke defenders and make huge gains with his speed. Against Minnesota, K.J. Hamler showed off his speed with an 80-yard touchdown reception.

Here are the players the Broncos released prior to Tuesday’s 85-man roster deadline:

Waived

  • Defensive back Rojesterman Farris
  • Linebacker Peter Kalambayi
  • Defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal Jr.

Waived/injured

  • Wide receiver DeVontres Dukes
  • Running back LeVante Bellamy
  • Defensive lineman Deyon Sizer

The Broncos also signed running back Adrian Killins, who appeared in one game for the Philadelphia Eagles last year.

In preseason Week 2, Denver will face the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday night.

Position battle to watch

Let’s keep our eyes on who will be the team’s No. 1 targeted tight end: Noah Fant or Albert Okwuegbunam. The consensus first option is Fant, but Lock’s chemistry with Okwuegbunam — along with the tight end’s size and blocking ability — might make him a favorite target in the red zone.

Must-see tweet


Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders were victorious in their preseason Week 1 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks — and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley shined in his first game with the Raiders.

One play involved the Las Vegas’ 2021 fifth-round draft choice — cornerback Nate Hobbs — getting a sack on a sneaky slot blitz. If the Raiders can continue to add pressure in different packages, the team could show one of the offsason’s biggest improvements. But consistency will be the next step; they need to continue to dial up new packages if they want to even think about contending for the AFC West championship.

Tuesday’s roster cuts:

Waived

  • Quarterback Case Cookus
  • Kicker Dominik Eberle
  • Long snapper Liam McCullough
  • Running back Bo Scarbrough
  • Wide receiver Caleb Scott

Released

  • Cornerback De’Vante Bausby
  • Defensive tackle Ethan Westbrooks

On Saturday, the team travels to southern California to take on the Los Angeles Rams.

Position battle to watch

The Raiders’ running backs room might start to get overcrowded with the addition of Kenyan Drake — and with undrafted rookie running back Trey Ragas having an incredible preseason game featuring 13 rushes for 62 yards and a touchdown. Josh Jacobs will split time with Drake as the first option — but with Jalen Richard out with an injury, Ragas could be third on the depth chart as training camp concludes.

With Jon Gruden as head coach, Las Vegas has returned to a ground-and-pound offense. With Jacobs and Drake splitting time, we could see a one-two punch — similar to how the Cleveland Browns had success with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Last season, Jacobs' receiving numbers went up because he was the feature back. Now with Drake, he could become a great decoy in a play-action; you won’t know what the Raiders will be doing when either (or both) backs are on the field.

Must-see tweet


Los Angeles Chargers

An uneventful Week 1 preseason game against the Rams didn’t see any upside from the Chargers — except holding the Rams to only six points: a touchdown by Trishton Jackson and a missed extra point. We did, however, witness Michael Badgely not kicking any field goals; Tristan Vizcaino was two-for-two, with his longest at 38 yards.

We all understand the Chargers are talented; year-in and year-out, their main preseason competition is injuries. But so far, the Chargers have stayed reasonably healthy. To succeed, all they must do is continue to gain chemistry with first-year head coach Brandon Staley. With how athletic his team truly is, he should have a fun time creating schemes and blitz packages.

This week’s roster cuts:

Released

  • Punter Lachlan Edwards
  • Kicker Alex Kessman
  • Wide receiver Michael Bandy
  • Quarterback K.J. Costello
  • Tight end Matt Seybert

The Chargers also signed outside linebacker Davin Bellamy and long snapper Matt Overton.

The team will be at home for Week 2 of the preseason, facing the 49ers on Sunday evening.

Position battle to watch

We’re back to watching the Chargers’ secondary. I firmly believe that 2021’s 47th overall pick — Asante Samuel Jr. — can beat out Chris Harris Jr. or Michael Davis at a cornerback position. In the team’s unofficial depth chart, Samuel is currently listed as the backup to Harris

New defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill is going to dial up new schemes, hoping to make the Chargers more explosive. It already looks like they have gone away from their traditional 3-4 base defense. We could see a 5-2 scheme with two coverage linebackers.

This will look different for the Charges — but they need to start Samuel.

Must-see tweet