Chat with Bill Williamson
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com AFC West blogger Bill Williamson will stop by to talk about the NFL offseason.
Williamson joined ESPN.com in 2008 after four seasons covering the Denver Broncos for the Denver Post. He previously covered the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks.
Send your questions now and join Williamson to chat Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Bill Williamson (2:03 PM)
Hi everyone, let's get rolling.
Hey Bill. Earlier this offseason Al Davis acknowledged that the Raiders are still rebuilding and (in his mind) are a couple of years away from making a Playoff-run. If that?s the case, why wouldn?t he trade guys who won?t be here for that run, like Burgess, Fargas and Walter now for some draft picks instead of losing them and getting nothing in return?
Bill Williamson (2:04 PM)
I'm with you, Erik. If the Raiders should build for rhe future by trading an aging player (especially Burgess) they probably should.
Anthony (Douglas, MA)
Bill, I think it is obvious to everyone that Russell is a bust. It's obvious that his work ethic and conditioning are disgraceful. It's hard for your average fan to watch, considering he doesn't take the responsibility of being a team leader and the number 1 pick seriously. A team won't follow an overpaid, overweight, ill-prepared quarterback.
Bill Williamson (2:06 PM)
I don't think you can call Russell a bust yet. Has he been great? No. But he is a work in progress. This is a huge year for him. If he doesn't make progress this year, then maybe we can revist the "bust" talk.
what are the odds you see kc picking up plax or marvin harrison to add some more leadership in the recieveing corpe??
Bill Williamson (2:07 PM)
Pretty slim at this point.
Who will have the bigger year Darren McFadden or Felix Jones?
Bill Williamson (2:09 PM)
I'm a big McFadden guy, so I'm going to go with him. The thing about McFadden is, his numbers may never be huge becuase he is not considered an every-down back. But he will make an impact nboth in the ground and air game.
Is San Diego about the only divison lock among all the divisions?
Bill Williamson (2:12 PM)
I hate to say anyone is a lock. But I really like the Chargers' chances. I think one of the other teams would really have to step it up to win this division.
Sue (Elizabeth, CO)
Orton or Simms?
Bill Williamson (2:16 PM)
Who do I think will win the job in Denver? It has to be Orton, doesn't it? He is the guy new Denver coach Josh McDaniels handpicked and he fits the system well. Plus, he has much more recent playing experience than Simms does. If Simms wins this job, it will be a major upset. But I hear has looked good and he's hanging in there well. It'll be fun to watch.
Where are all the alarm bells now that Russell has improved greatly in OTA's? His last 6 games of the season we're fantastic considering age, the lack of protection, and lack of talent around him. He's had one full season how bout you tell your fellow analysts to save the bust label for someone who isn't showing strides after their FIRST year in the league at the most difficult position to play!
Bill Williamson (2:17 PM)
Let's all just wait and see on Russell. Let's also wait and see about his proetection and his receiver help. I'm not so sure it has improved that much.
Bill, do you think Michael Bush is the new Michael Turner? In that his stock will rise more and more until he becomes a starting RB for another team?
Bill Williamson (2:19 PM)
Well, I like Bush and I think he has a chance to be good. But he needs to show he can stay healthy and he needs to show he can be a consistent threat. And Oakland needs to show it is ready to give him a chance for more carries.
Brenton (Los Angeles)
I am hearing zero chatter about Ellis and where he will end up. What are the odds that he is in Bronco Blue and Orange come training camp?
Bill Williamson (2:21 PM)
I've been looking into it and you're right, it has been quiet. I'm hearing New England and San Francisco. But I've also heard there are up to seven teams interested and Ellis may start making vists soon.
jules (san juan(PR))
Great Blog Bill! Over/under, Broncos 8 wins, top 10 in offense top 20 defense.
Bill Williamson (2:22 PM)
Over/udner on 8 wins? Got to go under at this point. The Broncos won eight games last year. I don't think they are better right now.
Kevin (San Diego, CA)
Hi Bill-What do you think the chances are that the Chargers and Phillip Rivers agree to an extension before the season starts? Also, any chance they are able to re-sign Rivers, Gates and Merriman at some point? Or will one or two of them end up somewhere else in the future. I see them signing two of them, but not all three.
Bill Williamson (2:25 PM)
I still think there is a decent chance Rivers and Gates will be signed before the start of the season. The Chargers like tying up their vets early and both of these players are priorities.
Pete (North Hollywood)
Bill - have you heard anything about the right side of the Chargers O-Line? it must improve over last year. With McNeil coming due for an extension on his rookie contract (and the galaxy of stars also coming up for extensions), they really need to establish some stabililty. It was a major flaw for us last year. AJ likes Clary, but my Mom liked me, too.
Bill Williamson (2:27 PM)
I think the Charegrs are happy with thier tackles right now. If they struggle in 2009, there could be changes next year.
Is this LT's last year in San Diego?
Bill Williamson (2:28 PM)
If he continues to get hurt at key parts of the season and his production goes down, yes, I think it could be his final year in San Diego. It was close to being his last year in San Diego last year.
Bill (New York)
It seems that there is a lot more energy in Dove Valley right now than in previous years. What do you make of this and do you think it will translate to wins?
Bill Williamson (2:30 PM)
There is always an influx of energy when a new coaching staff comes in. There is a whole new way of life in Denver these days.
Matthew Shaw (Fayetteville NC)
Would you say the Broncos defense has improved from last year or not?
Bill Williamson (2:30 PM)
In the secondary, yes. But the front three is still very unsettled.
Jack (San Antonio)
Should the Raiders just go with 2 -backs (Bush and McFadden) as the predominate ball carriers? I don't see how you can get 3 backs the ball enough times to all anyone of them to be effective.
Bill Williamson (2:32 PM)
The three-back rotation can work if there is a plan. Last year, there didn't seem to be a plan in Oakland regarding the tailbacks.
marcus (Kansas City, Mo)
What do you think of the chiefs chances of improving this and challenging for the afc west title. We have some improvements to our team especially at the quarterback position with Matt Cassel.
Bill Williamson (2:33 PM)
I'd like to see a better pass rush and more receiving help before getting too excited about Kansas City this year.
What do you make of the new larry Johsnon? It seems like he is dedicated, which could mean a breakout year, but I am very skeptical.
Bill Williamson (2:35 PM)
Give Johnson credit. He is on board and he wants to be a Chief. He has a chance for a decent season, but he will be 30 in November, so don't expect 2,000 yards. But do expect him to be productive.
I can never get a question answered in here. Come on Bill! How do you think Denver's LB crew will do this year? Is Woodyard or Larsen a starter?
Bill Williamson (2:36 PM)
Patience, dude, patience ...I think both of these players are going to get long looks. Both were very good as rookies.
Can Jon Alston make a significant impact for the Raiders?
Bill Williamson (2:37 PM)
I think he is more of a backup and special teamer. But every team needs reliable backups and special teamers.
Bdub- love your show... Which Bronco defensive player will surprise people the most?
Bill Williamson (2:40 PM)
I'd say Woodyard. He's a playmaker.
Hi Bill. What AFC West Back Will have the best season?
Bill Williamson (2:41 PM)
Just a guess: LT.
Best stadium in the AFC West?
Bill Williamson (2:42 PM)
I like Invesco and Arrowhead. They are among the league's best.
Anthony (Los Angeles, California)
Where would you rank Philip Rivers against the rest of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL?
Bill Williamson (2:44 PM)
Top five or six. He's the real deal.
What do you think would be a good season for DHB this year?
Bill Williamson (2:45 PM)
Honestly? No. I think he may struggle. I'm not saying he is going to be a bust, but I think he be hot and cold as a rookie.
Any chance Charlie Frye makes the Raiders?
Bill Williamson (2:46 PM)
I think he is the favorite to be the No. 3 QB over Bruce Gradkowski and Andrew Walter.
help, im a kc fan and im frustrated with the lack of signings in the offseason. any hope?
Bill Williamson (2:47 PM)
Maybe next year, Will.
Jack (San Antonio)
Bill, can you give me an example where the 3 back system effectively got everyone enough meaningfull carries? I figure the Raiders will run around 30x per game.
Bill Williamson (2:48 PM)
McFadden: 15Bush: 10Fargas: 5
Excile1982 (WALTON NY)
We are trying to come up with a new tag for Oakland's HB's, because Three Headed Monster has been done so much in the past. So far we have such things as: The Big Bang, Hammer Time, The Perfect Storm, The Black Death, The Legion of Doom, Shake Rattle and Roll, The Autumn Wind, The Oaklnad Trinity, The tremendous trifecta, The Trampling Trio, Sanp Crackle and Pop, and The ObliteRaiders...What's your take?
Bill Williamson (2:49 PM)
Any other ideas ... The Al Davis trio anyone?
Looking Back at 2008's draft, what AFC West team did the best?
Bill Williamson (2:51 PM)
Good quesiton. It's very early, but you have to like that final Mike Shanahan class in Denver.
Victor (Covina, Ca)
Hey Bill, I actually submitted the Shake, Rattle and Roll name for the trio...DMC is shake cuz one shake move and he is gone.....Fargas is Rattle cuz he bounces of defenders like a pinball......Bush is Roll cuz he can Roll any defender over......What do u think?
Bill Williamson (2:52 PM)
Not, baad, not bad.
How many losing seasons will Pat Bowlen tolerate before firing McDaniels?
Bill Williamson (2:53 PM)
Depends on how bad the records are.
Hey Bill, how much better will the broncos be with the arrivals of B. Dawkins Renaldo Hill and Mike Nolan. Last year they had awful safety play and Slowik was not the answer. Thanks
Bill Williamson (2:54 PM)
Thee's no doubt, the safety play wll be much better than last year. And I like Nolan as a DC.
Robert (Springfield, MO)
Will Mike Goff help the Chiefsthis season?
Bill Williamson (2:56 PM)
For this season? Yes, sure. He's a pro.
TyKeemi (Kansas City, MO)
Who will be the team to beat in, lets say, 2-3 years?
Bill Williamson (2:56 PM)
In the division? It could be your team if the Chiefs make the right moves.
Bill who is your favorite player to interview in the AFC West?
Bill Williamson (2:59 PM)
Good question. Here are some of my favorites:Philip RiversNnamdi AsomguhaGerard WarrenAntonio GatesEric WeddleShawne MerrimanBrian WatersTyler ThigpenChamp BaileyRyan HarrisBrandon Stokley
JD (San Diego)
You asked chargers fan what their opinions were of Norv Turner, whats yours?
Bill Williamson (3:00 PM)
I think he always has to prove himself because of his perception. But I think he's the right guy for San Diego.
Bill Williamson (3:00 PM)
Hey guys, great hour. Thanks. Talk to you next week.