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AFC West Scenarios

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Jesse Kemp, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

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    This division is crazy. For my money, it's the best in the league right now top to bottom. And when I try to put a prediction together or how it will finish, I end up second guessing myself at every turn. I think that's a product of how much parrity there is in the AFCW, so rather than predict the final standings, I'm going to explore the arguments for why each team will be good, and why each team will be bad.

    Denver Broncos:
    • Good: The second year under Gary Kubiak coupled with additions at the tackle spots in Okung and Stephenson yields a strong rushing attack, allowing QB's to manage the game. Strong receiver play masks deficiencies at signal caller. A stifling defense overcomes losses with up and coming talent such as Shane Ray, Shaq Barrett, and Adam Gotsis, keeping games tight and allowing the offense to play it safe.
    • Bad: Big losses at every level of the defense take the edge off of an all-world unit, with Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan on other teams and Talib likely suspended for at least half the season. Demarcus Ware finally succombs to back problems at age 34. The losses cause enough regression that the offense can't lean on the run as much as they would like, and one of the worst QB situations in the league is exposed-- turning the ball over and taking a lot of negative plays.

    Kansas City Chiefs:

    • Good: The return of Jamaal Charles gives Reid his most dynamic offensive talent to mix in with a unit that was working really well already. Smith has enough underneath targets to thrive. Mitchell Schwartz locks down the right side of the offensive line, where Mack and Miller reside. The defense continues its upward trajectory with a dominant DL, Hali giving one more good season, and Dee Ford finally stepping up. The young mix of players at corner yields a solid trio that thrives behind a good pass rush.
    • Bad: Justin Houston misses the entire season, Tamba Hali proves ineffective as a #1 pass rusher in a season in which he turns 33, and Dee Ford continues to be a bust. With the pass rush down, the defense loses its teeth, allowing teams to take advantage of a weakened secondary. The struggles put more pressure on the offense, forcing them out of their conservative ways, and teams capitalize by turning over Alex Smith. The suspect talent at LT and the guard positions opens up the passing attack to consistent pressure.

    Oakland Raiders:

    • Good: All the moving parts from free agency coalesce with the pieces in place to create well-rounded squads. Osemele helps get the running game off the ground, while Bruce Irvin bolsters the pass rush. Sean Smith, Reggie Nelson, and Karl Joseph totally revamp the weakest area of last year's team and create a symbiotic defense between the pass rush and coverage. With the pressure off Carr, he thrives as he develops a rapport with Cooper and Walford, and leans of a running attack wherein both Murray and Washington make hay.
    • Bad: The Derek Carr of last year's second half (176/300, 59%, 1893 yds, 6.3 YPA, 13 TD, 9 INT) proves to be the genuine article. One of the league's most inefficient running games does not improve, leaving the entire offense far less effective than predicted. The defense is uneven as 6 new starters struggle to incorporate with 5 holdovers. The altogether weak LB group provides an easy target for opposing offenses in both the running and passing game, preventing the stop unit from carrying a struggling offense.

    San Diego Chargers:

    • Good: The team's recent injury woes finally slow down, leaving Rivers with a competent suppoorting cast. With protection, targets, and a viable rushing attack, he goes off for a career season. The defense is bolstered by the additions or growth of young impact players in Attaochu, Bosa, Perryman, Verrett, and Hayward. The return of Whisenhunt brings back the ball control offense of 2013, and keeps the defense fresh. Antonio Gates goes out with a bang.
    • Bad: Injuries do not slow down. Rivers' is again deprived of protection, a running game, and competent receiver play. Gordon proves to be a bust of a first round pick. The defense is asked to do too much and cannot pick up the offensive slack. Bosa's hold out means he takes too long to get ready to make an impact, and the weaknesses at safety rear their head on a weekly basis. McCoy continues to crawl in a hole and hide in every big spot, costing the team close game after close game.

     
  2. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

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    You know so many people make a thing of us losing "close" games; but when your coach is too scared to move the ball with any aggressiveness all games usually end up being low scoring and close.

    That said injuries can make all the difference. If the front 5 is healthy I think Wiz takes more shots this year, I'm just skeptical to see if he knows how to use 2 TEs, and a deep receiver like Benjamin. Admittedly Benjamin is a better fit for a Norv Turner offense, and Wiz (despite his success in 2013) has never been a 2 TE guy in the passing game.
     
  3. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

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    How do you guys see this finishing? I was pretty settled on the Chiefs as my pick to win the division, until it came out that Houston could miss the season. That's literally the biggest loss that they could have sustained. They're still in the conversation for me. But I probably go with Denver. Oakland looks great on paper, but in general this sort of "buy a good team" strategy doesn't pan out (I know, I know, Denver bought a ring just last year-- but typically that approach is a failure). Denver's QB situation and the loss of Houston have really opened the door for us if the FO can just get its act together, get Bosa in, and go to work. But we will probably blow it.
     
  4. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

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    I'm one of those people that gives credence to regression in one score games. I do believe McCoy is a detriment in those situations, but the reality is that he hasn't always killed us. In 2013, we were 4-6 in one score games, then in 2014 we were 5-2, and then last year we were 3-9. One would hope we bounce back towards the 2014 record.

    I think we will see two TE sets more often than we have in the past specifically because Henry can block. Green and Gates both stick in that department. The beauty of well run 12 personnel is that it's an effective formation for both run and pass. But when both TE's are push overs in the running game, it becomes one dimentional. All you end up doing effectively is pulling an extra defender into the box that you can't handle.

    Benjamin can be much more of a deep threat than what we've had, but I bet we see him used a lot like Royal was, as a YAC weapon too. 349 of his 966 yards last year were after the catch. That isn't a huge total, but it hints at potential. And Cleveland wasn't really aiming to use him that way. You can also see that skill set on punt returns.
     
  5. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

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    I hate myself right now....

    Raiders (11-5): They have young talent where it matters most, and have done well in FA. If they can keep Carr clean they can win this division. Carr does tend to **** down his leg when hit with pressure though, but so does Rivers...

    Broncos (8-8): Their defense can eliminate any major offensive threat. They have the best CB trio in the league, and the best pass rusher in the league. Losing Malik Jackson hurts more than people think, and losing Trevathan hurts less than people think. In the end it's down to how well they manage ButtFumble

    Chargers (8-8): I'll believe this team can stay healthy when I see it. So far, not so good. Assuming Boshit eventually shows up I actually really like our defense. We have a strong CB group, and good young pass rushers, and a stout middle with Mebane and Liuget. The guy I'm most excited to see is Darius Philon, dude has sky high potential if he can develop his body. The question as always, is health. This team will go where the OL allows Philip Rivers to go, and if Melvin Gordon can't hack it....we don't have an alternative.

    Chiefs (7-9): I don't like Alex Smith, and never will. Their OL is overachieving due to the super conservative scheme, and they only have 1 legit WR who can be slowed down by the opponent's #1 CB. Eric Berry is holding out, Houston is gone, Hali is old, and Ford will now have to be more than just a specialist. I also think Marcus Peters is DRAMATICALLY overrated, dude gets some picks, but he also gives up a bunch of receptions. I would bet money he has a sophomore slump now that he's been seen by the whole league.
     
  6. woodeye

    woodeye Well-Known Member

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    Jesse, KC returns most everyone-great continuity. They are good at drafting and player development. Favs, even with Little Alex. matilack, I agree about Peters.

    Denver D spells trouble. QB issue sinks them.

    Raiders? Cream rises to the top and that ain't you. Carr will be slightly better than average. IMHO.

    Chargers. Weapons for PR! Hunter Henry, Watt, maybe even Swain, are exchanged for David Johnson/John Phillips/Donald Brown. Tyrell is ready to emerge. Whisenhunt. We are in business.
     
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  7. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

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    I still think that KC is a reasonable favorite, but they don't return everyone from last season. Houston is down, and that's their best player. Sean Smith is gone, and that's their best corner. Hali is in decline and turns 33 this year. Derrick Johnson isn't in decline, but he turns 34 this year so it won't be surprising if we see it begin. Three of their five starting OL are Eric Fisher, Park Ehinger, and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. There are vulnerabilities here, especially if the losses on D make them less conservative on O.
     
  8. woodeye

    woodeye Well-Known Member

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    I heard a blurb a while ago that KC is at or near the top in the league in returning starters. That may have changed, or may simply not be true.

    Admittedly, I have not scrutinized or done comparative analysis. I do see Andy Reid at work developing a seamless product.

    I doubt Dee Ford can give them what they need, short term or long term. Yes, look at that defensive backfield ! They keep needing to draft people.

    Offense will be KC's strength. Charles is deadly. Kelce. Maclin. Reid's preparation. They will be our most challenging adversary.
     
  9. ShowYourBolts

    ShowYourBolts Offering free samples.

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    Until proven otherwise, Ford is crap.

    I am really interested to see how they handle the running game this year. Because they actually ran for more yards a game with West and Ware after Charles went down.
     
  10. woodeye

    woodeye Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. Ford is crap. And to think I touted him coming out of college. We'll just see how Marcus Peters looks now.

    Re the running game. The Chargers should be envious, because this is the winning play. OLG-C-ORG.

    It is Kelechi Osemele/Rodney Hudson/Gabe Jackson in Raiturdland and that is a whole lot.

    KC is developing an interior Oline in a stealth manor. Parker Ehinger/Mitch Morse/Laurent "Frenchie" Duvernay-Tardiff. Who ?

    I will be watching our interior Oline closely.
     
  11. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

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    We will have to ask Disc to scout out Duvernay-Tardif.
     
  12. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    The colors were a nice touch, but lets face it, nobody and I mean nobody, can read a ******* thing when you choose this stupid yellow color, which never should've been included in the font color choices in the first place.
     
  13. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

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    Yeah, it's really hard to read, but I assumed that people know that we're the Chargers and would be able to figure it out.
     
  14. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

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    I think you give this forum way too much credit.
     
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  15. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

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    With the caveat that I think this is the most volatile division in football, my best guess is:

    1. Broncos, 10-6
    2. Chiefs, 9-7
    3. Chargers, 8-8
    4. Raiders, 7-9

    I don't think enough is being made of the losses on Denver's defense (Jackson, Trevathan, Talib for a good chunk of the season, and plus Ware's back is nagging him), but I do think that their running game and overall offense will be better. That should take some pressure off. And they still have Miller, Harris, Wolfe, Marshall, etc. So I think they will take a small step back but still favor them to win the division.

    I was all ready to pick the Chiefs to take it, but Houston is a jenga piece type player. Losing him only exacerbates the losses in the secondary. Last year they thrived without their best offensive player, so maybe they do the same on D, but I just doubt that they'll make it through unscathed without him.

    As we all know well, I'm projecting a big improvement for the Chargers. If a whole lot breaks their way, 10+ wins and a PO berth isn't out of the question. But a more cconservative estimate would be the 4 games I have them improving by here.

    I may be proved to be laughably wrong, but I am just not buying the reciper in Oakland as much as everyone else. Their running game was pretty darn inefficient last year, and Carr was unimpressive for most of the season. Adding a guard won't necessarily fix all that. I love a lot of their personnel on defense, but I struggle to believe that all these new moving pieces will be able to gel and work together to the degree necessary for this team to break through.

    Again, any combination 1-4 has some merit to it. If the Raiders are 1st and the Broncos are 4th, I won't be shocked. But this is my best guess.
     
  16. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

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    The more I think about it, the more I believe the Raider hype train is heading for a disappointing result. Maybe I'll look totally stupid for saying this (always a distinct possibility), but I see a lot of reasons why they won't break out into the double digit win category.

    They were 28th in total rushing last sesaon and 21st in yards per attempt. There's a good reason for that. Latavius Murray is not a very good football player. And he's back, with nothing but a 5th round pick added to him. Osemele is a nice addition at LG, but I don't really think blocking was their problem. Maybe they'll run over people this season, but I don't really see a reason to expect it to be much different.

    In the 2nd half of the season, Carr was below average. Now, he's young, so development and improvement would not be shocking. But to this point in his career, he has about 8 games of good play out of 32. So I also think it's going a little far to assume he's going to be great, which I think people are inclined to do more quickly than with other QB's because he's such a pretty thrower of the football. He looks like he should be good, even when he really isn't. Plus, they didn't add much to help him in the pass catching arena. They have Cooper and Crabtree, and...

    On defense, I think some of their holes are being overlooked as people focus on their really good players, like Mack. It's understandable why they do that, but I look at their depth chart and see a black hole at linebacker. Bruce Irvin should help some, but Ben Heeney and Malcolm Smith are slated to be their other two starters with no one behind them to push for the job. With Mario Edwards down, there aren't many good options for who will start the season across from Mack.

    I think the Raiders are primed to underwhelm compared to expectations, and the Broncos are set to defy prognostications of serious decline. That's how I'm reading the tea leaves. Now watch Oakland take the division and Denver finish in the cellar.
     
  17. Frozendisc

    Frozendisc BoltTalker

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    I scout Ice Hockey goalies, not football players........

    I suspect he might speak French reasonably well, which matters plenty to the Habs.
     
  18. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

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    This makes you eminently more qualified than 99% of football forum participants.
     
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  19. Frozendisc

    Frozendisc BoltTalker

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    I see it as a battle between the Donks and the Turds......

    The Chefs chasing to the end, but falling short.

    The Bolts lose McCoy after his 1-6 start, and end up 3-13......
    This team is just so poorly coached/led that crap is all you are going to get until the culture is changed.
     
  20. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

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    I am in a small minority, but if they canned McCoy and kept Whis, I would be happy with that choice. I still think he's a good coach.

    I was all ready to pick the Chiefs until I found out about Houston.
     
  21. Frozendisc

    Frozendisc BoltTalker

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    Actually, that is one of the more frustrating aspects of making comments on the CMB. I am perceived as always being negative, but the truth is they were 4-12 for a reason. Mostly bad leadership from McCoy, but there seems to be a head in the sand aspect about evaluating players, as opposed to just acknowledging they are never going to be good enough and move on from them.
     
  22. Frozendisc

    Frozendisc BoltTalker

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    I would be as well, but I don't think Wiz is the answer......

    This ownership is giddy with 10-6, and a PO game, even if it is one and done. That is the big problem......
     
  23. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

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    Yeah if you're down on the Chargers players or staff on the CMB, you'll get on people's downside pretty quickly. Especially some of the mods.

    It is really difficult to imagine a truly successful team being led by Mike McCoy.
     
  24. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Possibly true.
    Remember the same was once said about Belichick... Just sayin...

    Not that I see MM becoming the next Belichick... So there is that....
     
  25. Jesse Kemp

    Jesse Kemp BoltTalker

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    He doesn't do himself any favors with the public by viciously clinging to jargon and robotic coach speak. It gives the perception that that's how he is with the team. I don't know if that's true or not. But if it is, I can't see them staying tuned in for very long. At some point, you have to act like a human.

    I will say that Ron Rivera had a seriously problem with running scared in big spots and he turned it around. So it's possible. But Mike is running out of chances.
     
  26. Frozendisc

    Frozendisc BoltTalker

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    Belichick has a very good owner in Kraft, both in his financially deep pockets, and in his vision. Kraft is an incredible leader in his own right away from the NFL. Spanos is inherited leadership......and clearly lacking any sort of vision.
     
  27. Frozendisc

    Frozendisc BoltTalker

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    I am often wondering why I am able to be so tough on the team, and others do it and the Mods hammer them.....

    I interact with the Mods pretty rarely over there, so what is all that about ?
     
  28. Lance19

    Lance19 BoltTalker

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    Given the current roster, I would be absolutely giddy with 10-6...but I know what you mean...
     
  29. woodeye

    woodeye Well-Known Member

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    I find myself constantly asking the question...

    Has our HC "lost" the team?
     
  30. Lance19

    Lance19 BoltTalker

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    Not intending this to be flip,
    but I'm really not sure McCoy ever really had the team...
     

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