DEN: How much difference will Russell Wilson make?
Broncos GM John Elway’s quarterback woes have been plentiful outside of the Peyton Manning years. Lately he assembled a roster that should compete and Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater couldn’t do enough to keep them competitive. On paper he’s the missing piece. He’s got a weapon at every skills position and a violent runner in the backfield in Javonte Williams. Melvin Gordon III is a backup in this offense, which goes to show you the depth it has.
With Wilson leaving Seattle to “ride” in Denver, the offense will be a choir singing “pass” more than run. Wilson didn’t like that the Seahawks ran so often, which is why the game script will be tailored to address those concerns.
KCC: What’s life like after Tyreek Hill?
Whenever I am breaking down a team, I don’t like dwelling on players that aren’t on the roster. But it’s hard to deny the Chiefs will be a different beast in 2022. The Hill and Travis Kelce combo destroyed defenses. Double Kelce and leave Hill one-on-one with a defender. If you had two defenders who could keep up with Hill, you leave Kelce in single-coverage. Play zone and Patrick Mahomes will pick your defense apart. Blitz Mahomes and he’ll make you pay.
Take Hill out of that equation and Kelce is sure to be doubled more. Juju Smith-Schuster needs to rediscover what it was like to be a top receiving option. Then Marquez Valdes-Scantling needs to show more than what he did in Green Bay. Skyy Moore is a different receiver too, out of the slot. And yet none of them come remotely close to commanding the attention that Hill did. Dare I say, the Chiefs might become more conventional?
LAC: Did Brandon Staley learn his lesson?
Sometimes you just have to kick a field goal. Other times, you just have to secure a tie. Staley’s stubbornness to go for it on 4th down works if you’re playing Madden on your Playstation. In real life though, you last longer in this league when you coach and play smart. It’s great to be aggressive and the Chargers are loaded this season, but you can’t leave points off the board in a game that often comes down to seconds and inches.
LVR: Where do the Raiders stack up in the division?
After Josh McDaniels was hired as the Raiders’ head coach, signing Davante Adams, and trading Amari Cooper, where does this team stand? It’s hard not to be excited for the changes, and it will be thrilling to see how much better the Raiders are. However, it’s wise to curb your enthusiasm a little. Consider the Chargers, Chiefs, and Broncos all stacking their decks high for the 2022 season.
The Raiders made other small moves like signing Jarrett Stidham, Brandon Bolden and Ameer Abdullah, that fill roles commonly seen in McDaniels offense. Hunter Renfrow could either disappear (because of Adams) or flourish (like Julian Edelman or Wes Welker). If Darren Waller stays healthy, he’s unstoppable. And at the end of the day, can Derek Carr run this offense?