Keeping Tabs on the AFC West: Did Peyton Manning cheat his way back on the field?

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Why Dan Rubenstein believes Manning's comeback raises some red flags, why the Chiefs specials teams are feeling special again and what Raiders owner Mark Davis thinks about playing on a dirt infield.

Welcome back again to Keeping Tabs, where Bolts From the Blue aggregates the news from around the division into a single post for your reading ease and convenience. I'm aware that the Chargers were hard to watch last night, but maybe reading about the other teams in the division will help take your mind off of it and lend you a little perspective. After all, the Chargers aren't the only team with some rather large problems to overcome.

Denver Broncos

The Pick Six

  1. Although rookie CJ Anderson's injury didn't turn out to be as bad as it first seemed, he'll still miss significant time.
  2. Safety Duke Ihenacho has been a huge surprise in Broncos training camp, as he continues to make a serious run at the starting job, but it in no way shocks his college coach.
  3. Running back Knowshon Moreno sat out of a recent practice with a bruised knee, which isn't helping his cause to move up the depth chart.
  4. Broncos executive Tom Heckert returned to his job on Thursday after serving a 30-day team-imposed suspension for his DUI last June.
  5. The Broncos and Chris Kuper agreed on a restructured contract, as ankle problems have relegated the veteran guard to a backup role.
  6. With Elvis Dumervil now in Baltimore, the Broncos are waiting to see who emerges to replace him as the on-field leader of the defensive line.

Under Review

Broncos linebacker Von Miller has been in hot water as of late for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, but now his troubles have extended a little further. Miller was arrested on Sunday for failure to appear in traffic court after he was cited for driving without a license last October. Certainly there are worst things a guy can do than blowing off traffic court (See: Hernandez, Aaron), but the bad decisions are starting to pile up and it's obvious that some maturity issues exist here. The Broncos, of course, will be inclined to turn a blind eye to Miller's knucklehead ways as long as he continues to be one of the league's best pass rushers, but the red flags are certainly there. Oh, by the way, Miller is set to become a free agent in 2015, so the decision on whether it's safe to back up a couple of Brinks trucks for him despite the issues looms heavy.

Muffed Punt

Did Peyton Manning cheat his way back on the field last season?



That's what she said:

"We certainly hope that he is here."

-Peyton Manning, on Von Miller.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Pick Six

  1. While Jamaal Charles' foot injury isn't considered to be serious, he won't play in this week's preseason game against the 49ers.
  2. It may not be an anomaly that the Chiefs first-team offense didn't target an outside receiver at all during their game against the Saints last week.
  3. Quarterback Alex Smith continues to play it cool as he prepares to face off against his former team.
  4. The Chiefs depth chart hasn't been tweaked since the start of the preseason.
  5. Rookie offensive tackle Eric Fisher continues his painful training camp, as he added to his host of injuries with a shoulder injury last week.
  6. Although the Chiefs lost their preseason opener against the Saints, the fellas at Arrowhead Pride were encouraged by the performance of the starters.

Under Review

Fox News reports that Kansas City's special teams are feeling "special" again after Dexter McCluster's 55-yard return against the Saints last week. It appears the rumor that McCluster would be returning punts again for the Chiefs - after being inexplicably removed from punt return duties for the last two seasons - turned out to be true. The last time the Chiefs returned a punt for a touchdown was in 2010. Any Chargers fan should remember that quite well, as it was a product of San Diego's historically bad special teams unit that season. With this one decision, Reid and the new coaching staff seem to be demonstrating more brains than Romeo Crennell.

Muffed Punt

With Alex Smith taking the high road on the preseason game against the 49ers, it would be expected that the other side would play it cool as well, right? However, Greg Roman, the 49ers' offensive coordinator, may have taken it a little too far when he referred to Smith as "a nameless faceless opponent" over the weekend. Dude, where's the love?

That's what she said:

"If he gets beat, he just goes back in there."

-Andy Reid on the performance of Eric Fisher in his NFL debut.

Oakland Raiders

The Pick Six

  1. Left tackle is now a huge problem in Oakland, as Jared Veldheer suffered a partially torn triceps recently, but there's hope he may be able to return late in the season.
  2. A fan at Silver and Black Pride offered a review of the Raiders' version of the read-option with Terrelle Pryor at the helm.
  3. Dennis Allen thinks it'll be a fun experience to square off against his mentor for the first time.
  4. With Jared Veldheer injured, Alex Barron just went from out of football the past two years to an NFL starting left tackle in a matter of months.
  5. Wide receiver Brice Butler has started to work his way up the depth chart and is developing a connection with Matt Flynn.
  6. Rookie cornerback DJ Hayden is expected to be cleared to play in the preseason game against the Bears next week.

Under Review

Levi Damien of Silver and Black Pride believes the Raiders' offensive tackle situation is now the worst in the division after the Veldheer injury. Considering the Chargers plan to roll out a career backup and a rookie as bookends this season, things must be pretty dire in Oakland. So it shouldn't be long then before Matt Flynn is on the sideline and Terrelle Pryor is running the read-option all over the place - which scares me to death, by the way. Stay healthy, Matt.

Muffed Punt

Raiders owner Mark Davis called having to play on a dirt infield in the NFL a "travesty." I can't disagree with Davis here, but he's also part of the problem. The 49ers are currently building a new stadium in nearby Santa Clara with plenty of room to accommodate another team, yet Davis hasn't been receptive to the idea of sharing it - and in fairness, neither have the 49ers, but that's where the league comes in. How can you preach player safety but then remain passive while players continue to play on a surface that significantly increases their injury risk? With the state of the California economy, the league should be actively working to encourage the Raiders and 49ers to share, yet they continue to remain silent on the sidelines. You can't have it both ways here, NFL.

That's what she said:

"There may not be a worse offensive tackle situation in football."

- Levi Damien of Silver and Black Pride, on the Raiders offensive line post-Veldheer injury.

Credit goes to SDNativeinTX for helping out with the Chiefs section of this post

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