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Around the AFC West: finding Derek Carr’s backup

Going into preseason Week 2, let’s see what’s happening around the rest of Kansas City’s division.

Minnesota Vikings v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Following a 19-14 preseason road loss to the Chicago Bears, the Kansas City Chiefs are back home to play the Washington Commanders in preseason’s Week 2. Let’s take a look at how things are going around the AFC West.

Denver Broncos

In their 17-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys to open the preseason, the Broncos sat the majority of their starters to avoid the risk of injury. Quarterback Russell Wilson might have to wait until Week 3 of the preseason — or even Week 1 of the regular season — to see some action. In Week 1, Wilson was spotted on the sidelines with tears streaming from his eyes

On Saturday, the Broncos travel to New York to face the Buffalo Bills. Kickoff is at Noon (Arrowhead Time). The game will be carried on NFL Network.

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


  • Running back Max Borghi
  • Tight end Rodney Williams
  • Safety Jamar Johnson
  • Wide receiver Travis Fulgham
  • Wide receiver Kaden Davis
  • Offensive lineman Ben Braden


  • Running back Tyreik McAllister

The Broncos also signed veteran linebacker Joe Schobert, who started 15 games last year for the Pittsburgh Steelers — a move that was forced by Jonas Griffith dislocating his elbow. He will be out for four to six weeks.

Position battle to watch

This week your eyes should be on Denver’s wide receiver room. Even after making a few cuts earlier this week, it is still crowded. You can assume Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy will be No. 1 and No. 2 — but who will be No. 3? K.J. Hamler is the best guess — but he is coming off an ACL injury.

It looks like Kendall Hinton will make the team — he has produced any time he has been on the field — but with Brandon Johnson getting the start in the preseason opener, Johnson might be right behind him.

Seth Williams has size going for him — and he was able to get up and grab a 1-yard touchdown pass against the Cowboys. With Tim Patrick out for the season with an ACL tear, the Broncos are lacking taller receivers. Williams seems to be a practice squad lock — but don’t be shocked if you see him make the 53-man roster.

Must-see tweet

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders defeated the Minnesota Vikings 26-20 on Sunday. Once again, we didn’t see big-name stars on the field, but it was still entertaining to see what the backups did. Running back Brittain Brown carried the load, with 14 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown as the running-back battle continued in Las Vegas.

The Raiders travel to Florida to face the Miami Dolphins on Saturday. Kickoff will be at 6 p.m. Arrowhead Time.

Tuesday’s roster cuts:


  • Defensive end Gerri Green
  • Tackle Tyron Wheatley Jr.
  • Cornerback Nate Brooks


  • Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson
  • Wide receiver Jordan Veasy
  • Defensive tackle Vernon Butler

Position battle to watch

Who will be the backup to Derek Carr?

Marcus Mariota is now with the Atlanta Falcons — so the Raiders are in a predicament if Carr gets hurt at any point. For their backup quarterback, Las Vegas will have to pick between Jarrett Stidham, Nick Mullens and Chase Garbers.

Stidham has a history with new head coach Josh McDaniels, because the New England Patriots drafted him in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. If McDaniels has brought a majority of his plays over from New England, then Stidham has the upper hand on Mullens and Garbers.

Mullens is interesting because made his first-ever start for the San Francisco 49ers against the Raiders in 2018 — and was victorious. His Twitter account became verified during that victory. So if fans show a little hostility towards Mullens, that’s why.

That leaves Garbers, who seems the most likely to be released or placed on the practice squad.

Must-see tweet

Los Angeles Chargers

In Saturday’s 29-22 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Chargers wide receiver Michael Bandy had a great performance, catching seven targets for 73 yards and a touchdown.

Old friend Chase Daniel was efficient, completing 11 of 17 for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Over his career, Daniel has proved he can be a good backup when needed. Los Angeles seems to be the only other team in the division that has a solid backup quarterback.

On Saturday, the Chargers host the Cowboys at 9 p.m. Arrowhead Time. The game will be carried on NFL Network.

This week’s roster cuts:


  • Wide receiver Maurice Ffrench
  • Quarterback Brandon Peters
  • Safety Skyler Thomas


  • Defensive lineman Forrest Merrill
  • Center Isaac Weaver

Position battle to watch

The Chargers’ linebackers room is attractive. The defense is now a base 3-4, which allows four linebackers to start — but with Kenneth Murray Jr. still on the PUP list, it might allow more looks for Kyle Van Noy, Troy Reeder, Nick Niemann and Amen Ogbongbemiga.

All signs point towards Reeder starting — but if the team wants an experienced veteran who can drop back (and still attack the quarterback) Van Noy could be the guy.

The Chargers’ defense seems strong on paper, but they lack depth in the position group on which they will rely heavily most heavily. If edge rushers Joey Bosa or Khalil Mack have injury-plagued seasons, Los Angeles will be in some trouble. In this division, a dominant pass rush is becoming crucial.

Must-see tweet

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