AFC West mailbag

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The weekend mail call:

P.S. There were no questions from Chargers fans, who have been very helpful in filling the mailbag all preseason. I would love to hear from you soon.

Nicole from Eugene: If the Broncos don't make the playoffs again, do you think that Pat Bowlen will at least consider getting rid of Shanahan. I know he brought us 2 superbowls, but he seems to have gotten flat lately.

Bill Williamson: Nicole, Bowlen maintains that he will never fire Mike Shanahan. Bowlen says over and over that Shanahan will be his coach for life if he wants to be. So at this point you have to believe him. He thinks Shanahan is the best coach in the league, and he can't trust anybody as much as he trusts Shanahan.

AJ from Los Angeles: What's the scoop on chad jackson and raiders, any chance of them sining him after this weekend, he has a lot of potential, hard to use in NE with the receivers they had already. your thoughts?
Bill Williamson: Jackson worked out for Oakland earlier this week. But he left town without a contract. Jackson has since had workouts in Cincinnati and Miami. Jackson's agent, David Canter, said that Oakland was interested in his client and it could sign him at a later date.

Timo: Bill: Your doing aa great job...I come to you for the latest on the AFC West and my Raiders, thanks a bunch. I hear this every preseason from the so-called experts. How much should we glem from the exhibition games. Some say the preseason means absolutly nothing, see: New England. Others say it's a breakout year based almost entirely on the what they saw in the preseason, check Jay Cutler there. What are the biggest keys for you in the preseason to base your projections for the regular season ?
Bill Williamson: Interesting question. To be honest, I never really put much stock into the preseason until last year, my last season covering the Broncos. Denver's run defense was awful in the preseason, and it stayed awful all regular season. The offense had trouble in the red zone during the preseason and it continued into the regular season. For the first time, I saw a correlation from the preseason to the regular season. As for what I look for in the preseason, it is strong quarterback play on offense and fundamentals on defense. If there are major problems in these two areas, it could be a long season.

Pat from Omaha: Not too many people like Croyle. But if you compare his first 6 games to that of the Manning brothers first 6 games, he has fewer INTs, a better pass rate and better completion rate. And only 1 less TD then Peyton. Shouldn't we give Croyle a chance before we judge his playing abliity. Whats you feeling on Croyle?
Bill Williamson: I think he can be decent. He's a smart guy and seems to be a good leader. I don't know if we'll learn much from him this year because the Chiefs may struggle. Croyle's biggest problem may be his slight stature. It may be tough for him to stay healthy.

Big J from Sac: B-dub, thanks for taking my questions. I've been screaming for my Chiefs to trade for Lito Sheppard for months now, and I heard a rumor that KC might be one of the teams interested, is this true? I mean, if we were trying to get foxworth from the donkeys....
Bill Williamson: I think those "rumors" may have sprouted from a question I posed in a recent blog entry. I thought since Kansas City looked at Foxworth, perhaps it could make a run at Lito as well. Like you, I think it makes sense, but we'll have to wait and see.

Sam from Nampa, ID: I am excited about the Chief's youth movement and think that "King Carl" has finally got his act together. However, I don't have a ery positive outlook for this season. I think that 2-14 or 3-13 is realistic. What do you think their record will be at the end of the season?
Bill Williamson: Because of the Chiefs youth, I see them struggling early but showing improvement later in the season. I can see Kansas City winning five or six games. If this team were to win six games and show improvement in December, I think it will be a productive year.

Thanks and keeping them coming.