AFC West mail call

Posted by ESPN.com' s Bill Williamson

The midweek mail:

Doug from Westminster: Bill, When will we know for sure how many games Brandon Marshall will miss? I heard he may only miss 1 game. Is this true? Thank you.

BW: Marshall is appealing his three-game suspension. It will likely only be a two-game suspension if he complies with some specific and attainable guidelines. The appeal is this week. There is a chance it is cut down to a game but don't count on it.

Dan from SF: Bill, I love the blog. I know you're not a doctor but I was wondering how effective you think Merriman is going to be with 2 torn ligaments? Would the Chargers be better with a fully healthy Tucker or Harris playing opposite Phillips? Thanks.
BW: That is a fine, fine question, Dan. Merriman said if he has surgery it would take six months to heal. So I think he may be feeling that he will give it a shot and play as long as he can. If he can't play any longer, then he would seek the surgery but at least he'd get some playing time. As for Tucker and Harris, the team really likes them. The Chargers just paid Tucker over the next four seasons. They think he is the long-term answer. Merriman is a free agent after 2009 and the team loves Tucker for the future. He had a three-sack game last year and the Chargers think he can contribute now. So, in conclusion, Dan, I think the Chargers are comfortable with Tucker, but will take anything Merriman can give him this season.

Sean from Cedar Radips: In my fantasy draft I got two AFC west receivers in Dwayne Bowe and Eddie Royal. Bowe was impressive last year but with an awful cast around him, how do you think he will fare this season? Also, is it safe to say that Royal will put up some good numbers in the #2 spot and potentially #1 with Marshall out?
BW: I think you are safe with Bowe. He is one of the Chiefs' best weapons and he and Brodie Croyle have a good working relationship. He will put up numbers. I like the Royal pick because it is out of the box. The Broncos love this kid and he will start. He has a chance to get plenty of balls opposite Marshall this season. Royal is no sure thing because he has to prove himself first, but he could be a huge steal.

Joey from Richmond, Ca.: Hey Bill,I wanted to ask your opinion on Jamarcus Russel.How do you think he looked this pre season,and also how did he stack up with the other quarter backs in the afc west.
BW: I think Russell is a work in progress. That is no knock. Russell has made good progress this camp and Raiders coach Lane Kiffin believes in him. But he's a young quarterback. It will take time. He is certainly a physical specimen and he has a huge arm. I think he will improve steadily but there will be growing pains this season.

Peyton from Martinsville, Va.: Bill, Where do the Raiders turn with Drew Carter going on IR and the WR spot being extremely young and thin? Both draft picks, 4th rounder Arman Shields of Richmond and 7th rounder Chaz Schillens from San Diego St., both have potential, but Schillens is the only one who has shown big promise in the preseason. Hopefully bringing in a nice veteran like Joe Horn or Terry Glenn could help shore up a big position of need.
BW: Peyton, Oakland needs to find someone and fast. There are a few veterans out there and the Raiders are considering several. It may take a few days but the Raiders can wait to see what happens during the final cut-down this weekend. But rest assured, there will be some help on the way.

Thanks and keep them coming.