AFC Notes: Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders

     

Chargers

  • Daniel Popper of The Athletic says that while it is hard to ignore that the Chargers’ biggest defensive weakness is at cornerback opposite Casey Hayward, new CB Chris Harris Jr. will likely be playing in the slot in nickel and dime packages.
  • Popper adds that while CB Desmond King only played one down in the slot last season. He could still fill the slot role if Harris ends up playing outside cornerback.
  • According to Popper, the Chargers expected more out of S Nasir Adderley, who missed all of last season with a hamstring injury after being drafted in the second round.
  • Chargers S Rayshawn Jenkins emerged as a long-term answer at free safety, and after signing Harris, Adderley may have to excel on special teams in order to earn more defensive snaps.
  • Popper has confidence that Trey Pipkins will win the left tackle competition with Sam Tevi, as former Packers RT Bryan Bulaga will start at right tackle.
  • Popper adds that LG Forrest Lamp, who was a four-year starter at left tackle in college, is also a possibility to play at left tackle this season. Lamp had a major setback last season, missing nine games with a broken leg. According to Popper, Lamp says that he has been cleared by his personal doctors and feels fully healthy.
  • Aside from QB Justin Herbert, Popper says that LB Kenneth Murray, RB Joshua Kelley, and WR Joe Reed could have the ability to make a big impact as rookies despite the limited offseason.
  • Popper also notes that the Chargers will certainly be looking for a big impact from Pipkins, Adderley, and DT Jerry Tillery in their second years.
  • As for the middle linebacker job, Popper believes that while the snaps will likely be shared, LB Drue Tranquill should be the starter. Veteran LB Denzel Perryman remains on the roster and HC Anthony Lynn likes what he brings as a run-stopper and enforcer.

Chiefs

Some detractors of the Chiefs’ potential half-a-billion dollar extension for QB Patrick Mahomes point to the team’s ability to build the rest of the team while giving one player that much money. But having Mahomes on the team is a draw for other players to take less, like Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins who already accepted a pay cut this offseason rather than force his way to free agency. 

“How much money do I need? My family’s taken care of well,” Watkins said on SiriusXM NFL Radio, via Pro Football Talk. “Do I want I go to a team and lose and get 1,000 yards with a team that’s sorry. Or do I want to come back with one of the best coaches, the best quarterbacks, the best organization, the best team, the best wideout group — arguably — and come try to fight for another championship.”

Raiders

Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com notes that one year ago, Raiders QB Derek Carr was in a tumultuous situation, complicated by WR Antonio Brown‘s meltdown and eventual release.

Raiders HC Jon Gruden spoke about Brown and WR Tyrell Williams, who was also hampered by foot injuries in 2019.

“We felt we added one of the best receivers in the league a year ago, and he had frozen feet,” said Gruden of Brown’s cryotherapy incident.“And then we thought we had the best free-agent receiver and he had fried feet from plantar fasciitis. So, the feet were a problem for us last year. It’s hard to play when your feet are on fire, and his feet were hurting bad.”

  • Gutierrez notes that Raiders TE Darren Waller led the team with 90 receptions and that WR Hunter Renfrow was second with 49 catches. In 2018, RB Jalen Richard tied TE Jared Cook for the team lead with 68 catches.
  • He also adds that when WR Amari Cooper was the Raiders leading receiver, Carr played at an NFL MVP level and led the Raiders to the playoffs with a winning record.
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