AFC West Blog
Bay Area News confirmed Wednesday that Oakland WR Rob Streater has been cleared for contact following a concussion suffered from practice on Monday. He was active in warmups and drills on Wednesday but sat out of team contact drills. Streater is in a battle for WR2 duties with Greg Little and Denarius Moore, to play opposite former Packer WR James Jones.
ESPN Denver reporter Jeff Legwold has high praise for Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball, saying he's "shown vision in the run game, decisiveness in his cuts and consistent, quality work in the passing game." He predicts Ball's "poised for a big season and perhaps even the first 250-carry season for the Broncos since Reuben Droughns had 275 carries in 2004." This is clearly good news for Ball and Denver as they finally have a RB they can trust in all aspects of the game. Any running back in the backfield for Denver has to be able to run, catch passes and more importantly give solid pass protection to Peyton Manning.
Hillman has "usually been the running back up" in Broncos camp so far, according to denverbroncos.com. With Broncos RB Montee Ball solidly positioned as the team's starter, Hillman and Broncos RB C.J. Anderson are in competition for the lead backup role. While many saw Anderson as the better player coming in to camp, it looks like Hillman has the edge at this point.
The Oakland Raiders went out this offseason looking for more running back talent and they found Maurice Jones-Drew. With two backs that are capable of starting, Darren McFadden and Jones-Drew, the Raiders have an interesting situation to play with. The most likely scenario involves both backs in a committee running scheme. Sports Illustrated's Robert Klemko has reported, "Darren McFadden has the starting edge over Jones-Drew," indicating the Raiders may favor McFadden more in certain situations, resulting in more touches.
ESPN Oakland beat writer Paul Gutierrez reports "Marcel Reece's physical transformation is very noticeable" noting that Reece was up to 255 pounds in the offseason and is now down to 238 pounds in camp. Gutierrez also says he should be more involved in the pass game now that he is a lighter and fitter. Reece had 46 attempts, rushing for 218 yards and 2TD's last year and is expected to take on more of a full back role this season.
The Raiders' receiving corps is quite shorthanded right now. The most notable absence is Rod Streater, who suffered a concussion during Sunday's practice. Wideouts Greg Little and Juron Criner are being bothered by hamstring injuries as well.
On the first day of camp Emmanuel Sanders dropped a single pass. Sanders responded to the drop with, "My Grandma could have caught that pass." This moment motivated Sanders to go into the lab and closely watch the likes of Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and former Bronco receiver Eric Decker. Since the drop, Sanders has shown improvement and has caught tightly defended passes and had an amazing one-handed TD catch during Sunday's practice. The Bronco receiver is truly embracing his role as a student of the game and has shown great potential under Peyton Manning.
Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, in only the first week of training camp, confirmed that veteran QB Matt Schaub will start this season for the Raiders. When asked about who the starting quarterback would be, Allen responded "It's Matt. Matt's our quarterback" and then reiterated the statement again by saying "I'm really excited about Derek Carr, I think he's got a chance to be a top-level quarterback in this league. But he's young, and he's a rookie. That's a tough proposition in this league." There were questions of whether there would be a camp battle after the Raiders selected Carr in the second-round of the NFL draft after signing Schaub in the offseason.
ESPN's San Diego reporter made the statement "Ryan Mathews could be playing his final season in San Diego" after word came out that Chargers RB Danny Woodhead has signed a contract extension through 2016. This statement would makes sense with the Chargers also bringing in Donald Brown this offseason and signing him to a 3 year/$10.5 million dollar contract. Ryan Mathews has been benched for fumbling and injured throughout his time in San Diego, although when he was on the field last season, the Chargers leaned on him heavily and he became an impact player. There have been no contract talks and Mathews is scheduled to be a free agent after the 2014 season.
Just hours after a holdout was announced Tuesday night, the Chiefs have agreed to a new deal with Charles, ESPN's Adam Schefter says via Twitter. The 28 year-old back was scheduled to make $3.65 million during the 2014 season, a figure that is now much higher. The contract is reportedly worth $18 million through 2017. Charles is currently en route to training camp.