AFC West mailbag

Weekend mail call:

Vincent from Oxnard, Calif., wants to know if I think the Raiders are improved.

Bill Williamson: I think the offense is much better. It can sustain drives unlike last season. It seems like the running game is living up to its capabilities and it's being much more consistent than in the past. There are still issues with both the running and passing defenses being vulnerable. Oakland still has a ways to go, but it does seem improved this year from last year in some areas.

Matt from Overland Park, Kan., wants to know if I think the Chiefs will ever replace Matt Cassel with Brodie Croyle.

BW: It’s possible because it has happened elsewhere around the league. But I think it’s unlikely and a lot would have to happen. Cassel will be given a long leash as the Chiefs work with him to improve. He’d have to totally fall on his face and the Chiefs’ brass would have to decide that the only way they can win is if Croyle was inserted as the starter. Again, I think that’s a long ways off.

Matt from Denver wants to know how long I think Denver ownership will give second-year coach Josh McDaniels to produce dividends before making a change.

BW: I’d say, it’d be at least one more year. McDaniels has a lot of latitude and, obviously he’s used it. I don’t think we’ll see a change any time soon. In fact, I think the only way McDaniels is fired after next season is if Denver takes a major step backward. Ownership is very much in McDaniels’ corner at this point.