If you've been around these parts long enough, you're familiar with j-man. j-man, whose name is Jason if you're looking to be more formal with him, is a Denver Broncos fan and someone that pays more attention to the rest of the division that most of the BFTB staff. Every so often, he has thoughts on it. Now, with free agency and the NFL draft looming, is one of those times....
These are j-man's opinions and do not necessarily represent my own nor should they be taken as the official opinions of Bolts from the Blue.
Denver is going to need another running back. Willis McGahee is too old, he fumbles too much and Lance Ball is a backup at best. The WR group is good, but they need a quick slot guy (maybe Wes Welker?).
Another offensive lineman could only help, since Ryan Clady is the only starter than can pass-block currently.
The DEs (Elvis Dumervil, Von Millers, Robert Ayers) were obviously a strength, but the Giants showed once again that you can never have enough pass-rushers.
The Broncos need a starting-level CB badly. Champ Bailey has 2-3 good years left, tops, at CB but could last a few more if they move him to Safety.
Needs: WR depth, 3rd Down RB, DE, CB and Safety
2012 Prediction: Denver will finish somewhere between 10-6 and 6-10. Jack Del Rio provides an upgrade on the defensive side of the ball, but the offense still has big issues.
You may have seen me recently saying at Arrowhead Pride that the Chargers are DONE. Let me explain. I meant that the window has closed on the current roster for being a super bowl contender. Obviously, after missing the playoffs two years in a row, they need to improve the team even to become a playoff contender before we can once again think of them as one of the best teams in the AFC.
The Chargers can certainly win the division, even without Vincent Jackson (who I think is gone).
Philip Rivers had a down year but looked like himself again in December. Ryan Mathews can be a great RB, but only in spurts. Antonio Gates is slowing down, which is not his fault.
Outside of Shaun Phillips, the Chargers haven't had a good pass rusher in at least two seasons. That's been the biggest thing holding them back.
Quentin Jammer is near the end of his career, at least as a shutdown CB, and the Offensive Line needs depth just so they can keep bodies on the field this year.
Needs: WR, OT, OG, DE/LB pass rusher, CB and RB
2012 Prediction: While this is not a bad team, I just do not know if Norv Turner can get more than 10 wins out of them even if everything goes right for him.
The Raiders essentially died on January 1, 2012 against the Chargers. Nobody was surprised.
I know their fans want to win now, but with Reggie McKenzie coming over from the Green Bay Packers and being stuck without cap room or draft picks (not to mention, a raw coach who for the job based taking the Broncos defense from awful to OK-but-still-giving-up-tons-of-points), they'll need to think long-term fixes.
When you're talking long-term fixes, Carson Palmer is not the answer.
Darren McFadden will go down in history as a great player that could never stay on the field.
The sloppy play and truckloads of stupid penalties is overshadowed by a poor back 7 (LBs and Secondary) that seemed to mail it in for some games.
Needs: Everything except K, P, WR, D-line, OT and RB
2012 Prediction: I have been wrong before, but I do not see how the Raiders can be as good or better than they were in 2011 in 2012. They're primed to take a big step back.
The Chiefs' 2-1 record over the last 3 weeks of the season will really help the rest of the division, as the Broncos, Chargers and Raiders will get better draft picks and easier 2012 schedules.
I hope the Chiefs keep Matt Cassel for as long as possible. He's too inconsistent to ever lead the Chiefs past mediocrity.
Kansas City's offensive and defensive lines are average at best.
Needs: QB, WR (if Dwayne Bowe leaves), O-line, D-line and CB
2012 Prediction: Getting Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry back will not help as much as you might think. They still won't be very good.