This week is my NFC North preview of the AFC West.
This year, the NFC North pulled the AFC West and the NFC West as their divisions to rotate through.
Everyone in the NFC North (Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, and Vikings) will play everyone in the AFC West (Denver, Kansas City, Oakland, and San Diego).
Let’s preview that in alphabetical order.
Denver (2014 standing 12-4. Won Division.):
There was a lot of coaching turnover for Denver in the off-season. John Fox left for Chicago, so look to see that as a big game this season. John Fox will almost certainly have something to prove.
Instead of John Fox, Denver hired Gary Kubiak as their new head coach.
This is the guy they get to replace John Fox? Ugh.
It must be due, in part, to the relationship between John Elway and Gary Kubiak. Kubiak was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Denver between 1995 and 2005. The Broncos won the Super Bowl twice in 1997 and 1998 when Elway was the quarterback for Denver.
However, it wasn’t just John Fox that left. Fox took with him to Chicago (and I post their names here because it effects Chicago):
- Defensive Backs coach Same Garnes
- Special Teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers
- Defensive Line coach Jay Rodgers
- Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase
- Offensive Line coach Dave Magazu
- Assistant Special Teams coordinator Derius Swinton II
- Assistant Strength and Conditioning coach Jason George
- Offensive Quality Control coach Bo Hardegree
Umm … okay? I list these as well because WOW! Talk about a turnover of staff.
Kubiak hired (the more important ones):
- Defensive Coordinator Wade Phiilips
- Tight-Ends coach Brian Pariani
- Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
- Defensive Line coach Bill Kolar
- Linebackers coach Reggie Herring
A key position Denver lost in the off-season was Julius Thomas at tight-end. That will be critical to watch what happens there. Thomas went to the Jags to get paid. That’s all he will be doing in Jacksonville — winning will not be on the agenda.
2015 Denver Broncos schedule:
Kansas City (2014 standing 9-7. 2nd place in division):
The Chiefs are a team that we always think are going to be better than they are. Coach Andy Reid is still there, as is Alex Smith, Jeremy Maclin, Jamaal Charles, and, well … that’s it.
Here is their depth chart:
I really just have nothing to say about this team.
Oakland (2014 standing 3-13. Last place in division):
Come on, guys! You can do this! Raider Nation needs you!
I must admit, outside of Charles Woodson, I know nothing of this team.
Well, lookie-loo! The Raiders have a new head coach in Jack Del Rio. Here is JDR’s record as a head coach:
Not super impressive, eh?
From 2012 to 2014 he was the Denver Broncos Defensive coordinator and he served as interim head coach in 2013 when John Fox was out with heart surgery. Let me just say this. Do you hire someone who was fired as the head coach of Jacksonville?
Derek Carr is the quarterback and this will be his second year with the Raiders. Unfortunately, he did not shine as much as other rookie QB’s last year, as in Teddy Bridgewater. He played for Fresno State in college. Let’s hope he does not have a sophomore slump.
As for receivers, it looks like Michael Crabtree left SF to go to Oakland. The Raiders released James Jones (one-year deal with NYG) to pick up Crabtree and apparently draft Amari Cooper. Okay, I guess.
Running back is Trent Richardson (is he ever going to do good?) and Latavius Murray. Um. Sure, why not.
Here is the rest of the depth chart:
Here is the schedule:
Good luck Raiders, I hope you do well this year, just not against my Pack.
San Diego (2014 standing 9-7. 3rd place in division):
Ugh. I live in San Diego now and I really, really need to learn about my home team. More importantly, I need to find someone on the team I can root for…
Okay. Let’s investigate.
Head coach is Mike McCoy. Who the heck is that? Here is his resume:
Mike McCoy has been the head coach since 2013. The Chargers went 9-7 both years. Okay, fine then.
The quarterback is still the mega-annoying Philip Rivers. I just puked a little in my mouth at the thought of having to follow him. I refuse.
I need a good running back or wide receiver to root for. Let’s see, Keenan Allen is not a bad, well, not a great choice. He had 77 receptions last year for 783 yards. Meh. The tight-end is Antonio Gates and he had 69 receptions for a total of 821 yards. He gets my thumbs up approval as he was born in Detroit and attended Michigan State University which is my alma mater.
Well, hopefully their draft pick works out in regards to running back. Melvin Gordon, per NFL Network, is not impressing.
Here is the rest of the roster:
As for defense no names pop out to me besides Manti Te’o, but not for football reasons. It will be interesting to see who stands out to me as a newbie Chargers watcher. I won’t say fan yet. Last season, the Chargers had the 9th overall defense, so there is that.
Here is their schedule:
As of note, I had to look what the asterisk was for. Apparently, this season, the NFL can start flexing as early as October 18th? That’s a bit premature. Must be Goodell’s idea …
Well, that’s my preview. As always, GO Pack GO!