AFC West mailbag

A Merry Christmas mail call:

Jerry from San Diego wants to know if it’s a good idea for the Chargers to give equal carries to running backs Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert.

Bill Williamson: I don’t see a problem with it. What’s the downside? In Week 14 against Kansas City, Mathews and Tolbert each had 16 carries. In Week 15 against San Francisco, the two running backs each had 17 carries. I don’t think the Chargers will make a conscientious effort to have each player end up with the exact same amount of carries each game. I think that is more of a coincidence. But I do think the San Diego coaching staff wants Mathews and Tolbert to be in the same range of carries. These are two talented players and the combination of Mathews, Tolbert and the change-of-pace running of Darren Sproles can wear down defenses. Think about it: Three fresh running backs combined with San Diego’s silly-good passing game. That’s difficult to stop. San Diego’s offense is getting healthy and this running attack could help make this unit special down the stretch.

Jared from San Jose wants to know if I think Oakland receiver Jacoby Ford is for real.

BW: Yes, indeed. I like Ford. What’s not to like, though? The fourth-round pick has made an incredible impact. I say you put him on the field as a starting receiver and return man and enjoy the show. Ford could have a DeSean Jackson-like impact on the league before long. He is special. He is truly one of the reasons why spirits should be high in Oakland.

Mikey from Kansas City wants to know if I think the Chiefs will be a playoff contender beyond this season.

BW: No doubt about it, Jerry. This is just the start of the process in Kansas City. If the Chiefs win the division this season, it will be a bonus. This is a young team and a new program. The Chiefs are set for the future. They have a strong coaching staff, an effective quarterback and running game and a good, young defense. The Chiefs will only add to the program and get better in the next few seasons.