AFC West mailbag

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
Weekend mail call:

Ryan from San Diego: Being an AFC West blogger you must be loving what the next decade will hold in store for two rival quarterbacks Cutler and Rivers. I was wondering what you thought of Cutler opening his mouth to Best Damn Sport Show about his feelings towards about Elway and Rivers. For all the crap Rivers has received for being a trash talking QB, he has at least left it on the field. Seems rather ironic and hypocritical for Cutler to call out Rivers on it. Also since you used to write for the Denver newpaper how did you feel about him showing up Elway, as well as the rest of the NFL QBs regarding his arm strength? Whether its true or not is seems very arragont for a QB that hasn't done anything at any level yet, college or NFL. That being said Cutler and Rivers both bring certain qualities that are valuble. Cutler has the edge physically, arm strength and mobility. Rivers has those intangibles that champions are made of and that couches and players love; leadership, tenacity, football smarts and that IT factor that couches talk about that go beyond physical gifts. They are also both very accurate passers. Their rivalry could be bigger than Brady vs. Manning given the fact that they are guaranteed to play each twice a year and unlike Brady and Manning, genuinely seem to dislike each other. Both have very bright careers ahead of them and I'm sure they'll both hold Superbowl trophies one day. Sorry for the length of the email but I appreciate your time and hopeful reply back.

Bill Williamson: I think Cutler's comments and Rivers' penchant for yapping are a bit overplayed. So they talk -- so what? They are leaders on their respective teams. They shouldn't be meek. On the field, both are very good players who will be around for several years and they should be rivals for years to come. That's great for football. I think that should be the focus, not what they say.

Jason from Sacramento: Bill, the Chiefs will be looking for a starting qb next year, and Matt Stafford aint it. Wouldn't JP Losman, or even Alex Smith make sense?? I can live with Brodie as the #2, but we need a starter and I think a change of environment would help either of those two
BW: Interesting, Jason. But I do think the Chiefs need to find their franchise quarterback next year (If they decide Croyle isn't it). Smith or Losman would be stopgaps. The Chiefs are trying to build a winner. They need to do it with a young franchise type, not a retread.

Jon C from Loma Linda: do you think Jamarcus Russell is a bust?
BW: Jon, I think it's too early to say that. Russell has a lot of work to do and needs to become a more accurate passer. But he is young. His struggles are not uncommon. Yes, he needs to get better but time is on his side.

Shon from Louisville: Why is michael bush not getting more playing time. He has good speed, size and great hands. Bush was making progress with limited touches while Justin Fargas was out
BW: The San Diego Union Tribune reported this week that he was nearly traded to the Chargers. I don't understand why Bush isn't playing much. I think he is a good weapon. The Raiders need to rely more on the running game these days as Russell finds his way, and I think Bush needs more carries.

Gary Hunter: I am probably the only person in the world who does not know what the GU stands for on players uniforms and helments. Help!
BW: Hi Gary. It is a tribute to Gene Upshaw, the Raiders' Hall of Fame guard and executive director of the NFL player's union, who died this summer from a short bout with cancer.

Tyler from Los Angeles: When I hear people discuss Philip Rivers, they almost always knock his arm strength, yet I just watched a game in which he consistently threw gorgeous, accurate deep balls (against New England). In fact, I've never seen him struggle with deep passes in all the time he's been in San Diego. I DO remember Drew Brees having a tendency to underthrow receivers during his tenure as a Charger. What's the deal with this arm strength criticism? Are sports pundits watching different games than I'm seeing or has "Philip Rivers has a weak arm" become an excuse for them to not do their homework and actually analyze his strengths and weaknesses as an NFL QB?
BW: I'm with you, Tyler. I have no problem with Rivers' arm. He aired it out pretty well against New England, didn't he?