|07-04-2007, 02:59 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2006
AFC West Offseason moves
The Broncos endured a difficult off-season with the tragic losses of Darrent Williams and Damien Nash. Mike Shanahan and company will push forward with a number of new faces on defense and a change in the vaunted Denver backfield.
I'll begin in the backfield, one of the most coveted slots in the game, ever since Terrell Davis' breakout over a decade ago. The Broncos traded Tatum Bell to the Lions and brought in Travis Henry, who performed tremendously for the Titans a year ago. Henry makes for an intriguing selection on draft day. His move to Denver vaulted him into the first round, but 2006 surprise Mike Bell is still there to work into the reps. It will be interesting to see how Shanahan plays things out with this duo during the summer.
Quarterback Jake Plummer was dealt to the Buccaneers (he may retire), and the team added Patrick Ramsey to compete for the backup role to Jay Cutler. Shanahan and company added two new weapons for Cutler this off-season, signing former Patriots tight end Daniel Graham, a red zone beast, and former fantasy hero Brandon Stokley, formerly of the Colts.
The defense has a number of new faces, most notably Dre' Bly to partner with Champ Bailey, and sizable Sam Adams to help eat up space on the defensive line. Adams has impressed the team in several workouts and will be part of this run-stuffing defensive front. The Broncos invested heavily in the position this off-season, trading with St. Louis for Jimmy Kennedy and signing Alvin McKinley away from the Browns. The team also said goodbye to longtime linebacker Al Wilson.
Kansas City Chiefs
Much of the off-season was spent trying to determine what would happen with Trent Green. That question was finally answered when he was dealt to Miami, leaving re-signed veteran Damon Huard to battle second-year prospect Brodie Croyle for the top slot in front of Larry Johnson (or will he hold out?).
In any event, the team lost several members of the offensive line rotation, with veteran Will Shields going into retirement, Jordan Black signing with the Texans and Kyle Turley getting his release. The team added offensive tackle Damion McIntosh from the Dolphins.
Kansas City brought in a number of players for the defensive side of the ball this off-season. Two impact players were added to the linebacking corps alongside Derrick Johnson, with longtime San Diego standout Donnie Edwards and former Vikings starter Napoleon Harris joining the unit. Alfonso Boone was added to shore up the defensive line rotation and Jon McGraw and Chad Williams help to bolster the secondary.
The second time around wasn't magical for Art Shell in Oakland. He's moved on, as has the much-maligned Raider tenure of Randy Moss. It's a new world order, and Al Davis tapped a first-time coach to run the show in 2007. Can Lane Kiffin catch fire and prompt a new era of "Just win, baby!" chants in the Bay area?
The offense has a number of new components, with new players added at every position. Josh McCown and Mike Williams came over in trade from the Lions. McCown will compete for the starting role with JaMarcus Russell and Andrew Walter. Williams is perhaps the most intriguing player as we await training camp, as he reunites with Kiffin and looks to begin a career that has been stalled since the ludicrous ruling that left him in limbo several years back. Travis Taylor also joined the team as an unrestricted free agent from Minnesota.
The team bolstered its struggling offensive line with three new members. Cooper Carlisle came over from division rival Denver, and Ben Claxton and Cornell Green entered from the NFC South (Atlanta and Tampa Bay, respectively). If that wasn't enough to aid the running game, Oakland added a premier blocking back in Justin Griffith to work alongside LaMont Jordan and fellow off-season acquisition Dominic Rhodes.
The Raiders also cut ties with several other players in an attempt to leave the struggles of the past several years behind. Former starting quarterback Aaron Brooks was given his release, while backup Marques Tuiasosopo is competing for the backup spot with the Jets. Langston Walker received a monster deal from the Bills.
San Diego Chargers
In spite of a 14-2 regular season record, coach Marty Schottenheimer was shown the door this off-season and replaced by offensive guru Norv Turner. Turner will be charged with duplicating that success and translating it into post-season glory.
The team did not make any significant acquisitions outside of April's draft, but did say farewell to several longtime contributors. Donnie Edwards signed a lucrative deal with the Chiefs and veteran receiver Keenan McCardell was released (and is still talking to several teams as of this late June writing).
Was Schottenheimer the lone reason that the Chargers sputtered late? We'll find out soon enough.
Last edited by dragondawg; 07-04-2007 at 04:12 AM..