We had a few special guests on Chop Talk this week from around the AFC West in an all-SB Nation show. Joining us this week were Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride, John Genarro of Bolts from the Blue, and Levi Damien of Silver and Black Pride. Each of these editors shared their thoughts on the AFC West and how the division could be shaping up this season. Although we are months away from any actual football being played it's never too early to get some predictions on the division this coming season.
I think they (Chargers) had a really good free agency, but they also lost a ton of talent. It's hard to lose a guy like Vincent Jackson, who was probably Philip Rivers biggest weapon along with Antonio Gates, who has been injured so much recently. From Vincent Jackson to Robert Meachem, I think that's a pretty big downgrade, but I think the Chargers are a lot like the Broncos and Chiefs, they're going to be right there and as long as they have Philip Rivers, they're going to be competitive.
I will completely agree with Joel on this one regarding Vincent Jackson. While I would have scoffed at the idea had the Chargers decided to pay Jackson the kind of money that the Buccaneers did, but I'm happy he's out of the division and one-less big time weapon for Rivers. The bottom line is that Rivers is still a good quarterback and that right there is enough to always give you a chance to be in the thick of the race.
This is the typical AJ Smith team where if everything goes right it could be amazing, but if it doesn't go right there could be problems. They brought in Robert Meachem, who can probably come in and produce for Vincent Jackson at about 75% of that level, and then they brought in Eddie Royal to be a 3/4 wide receiver that they really lacked last year.
I think Robert Meachem is a good player, but I don't think he's the kind of player that you have to game plan a defense around stopping him. Vincent Jackson is a bonafide No. 1 wide receiver that you couldn't gamble on leaving him in one-on-one coverage. I don't think Meachem commands that kind of respect. But with Philip Rivers throwing him the ball I still expect him to have a good season.
This is the toughest division in football right now. You've got four teams that all got better in the off-season. A lot depends on Peyton Manning's health, I personally think that he's fine. With that being the case I see the Broncos, as much as I hate to say it, and I think I just vomited in my mouth, they'll win the AFC West.
I don't think we'll get an accurate gauge on Manning's health until the day after he's taken a big hit. I am anxious to know how his body responds to that kind of force that you know he won't be subjected to until the season. But I will agree with Levi in that the Broncos should be the favorite to win the division if nothing else than they won it last year. I thought we were the favorites to win the division last year and until someone else takes that title away from you, it's yours.
These were just a few of the small bits from each guest on the show and if you want to listen to the show in its' entirety, just follow this link. Each guest was on for about 30 minutes.