Today's question: Who is on the hottest seat in the AFC West?
Jeff Legwold, Denver Broncos: Two of the division's coaches will be in their first seasons -- Gary Kubiak in Denver and Jack Del Rio in Oakland -- so it is difficult to put them anywhere near a hot seat. Still, the Broncos have owned the division since Peyton Manning's arrival in 2012 and have won four consecutive division crowns. So, purely from a get-it-done sense, Kubiak faces a high-pressure situation. The Broncos parted ways with coach John Fox, who won those four division titles and 38 regular-season games over the past three seasons. That's some heat for Kubiak. But Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie could be in the hottest seat. McKenzie assembled the league's oldest roster in 2014. The Raiders haven't had a winning record since 2002 and have seemed to be walking the oh-so-shaky line between rebuilding and reeling in too many thirtysomethings in free agency. And with the franchise's potential move to Los Angeles on the table to go with a new coach, McKenzie could use some good fortune.
Adam Teicher, Kansas City Chiefs: I'll go with two players, both quarterbacks. The Chiefs have tried to ramp up their offense by signing wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and improving their line. They still have two of the league's best players at their respective positions in running back Jamaal Charles and tight end Travis Kelce. So the pressure is on Alex Smith accordingly to deliver more than he has in his first two seasons with the Chiefs. They have been patient with him but might feel they need something better at quarterback if the Chiefs still can't get their offense going. The other is Denver's Manning. The way last season ended for him was ugly. He looked old, tired and broken down. Maybe playing for Kubiak will be rejuvenating for Manning. If not, his time as Broncos quarterback will go down as an extremely disappointing and underachieving period.
Bill Williamson, Oakland Raiders: It's Manning, although he has nothing to prove. The Broncos quarterback will be headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame the moment he is eligible. But if Manning, who turned 39 in March, has a poor season, he will be second-guessed. Manning considered retirement after he sagged late last season following a hot start and an incredible 2013. He had one 300-yard passing game in his final seven games of the 2014 season, including the Broncos' one-and-done postseason. If Manning's fade continues early in this season, he will be questioned for coming back. With a new coaching staff and an unsettled offensive line, it won't be easy for Manning to stave off Father Time for another year. But he's Peyton Manning. He came back from multiple neck surgeries. He's up to the challenge.
Eric D. Williams, San Diego Chargers: Chargers coach Mike McCoy is under some pressure this season. With Philip Rivers, Eric Weddle and Antonio Gates all entering the final year of their contracts, the Chargers are built to win now. But if they do not reach the postseason, San Diego will have missed the playoffs in five of the past six seasons -- and two of the three years McCoy has been the coach. With a potential move to Los Angeles looming, McCoy needs a good season for owner Dean Spanos to avoid hitting the reset button.