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AFC West Update: Preseason Action Is Underway

Posted Aug 11, 2017

With rookies within the division making their NFL debuts, here's a look at this week's edition of the AFC West Update.

NFL preseason action is underway, and several rookies have made their debuts. While the results of the preseason might not mean anything in terms of standings , it’s a vital time for coaches and general managers to evaluate the talent on the roster. A majority of the high profile guys around the league most likely won’t see the field, but who’s to say the next star isn’t waiting for his opportunity.

With all the teams in the AFC West taking the field this week, let’s take a look around the division.

Denver Broncos

Thursday night, the Broncos went toe-to-toe with the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The quarterback battle in Denver continues to be one of the main headlines surrounding the team. Against the Bears, both Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch received some playing time, but the only passing touchdown of the evening came from Kyle Sloter.

For the Broncos, wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both hauled in a reception, which was about the extent of their evening; no sense in risking their health. On the other side of the ball, it was another routine outing for the defensive powerhouse. Even though linebacker Von Miller wasn’t on the field, veteran cornerback Chris Harris, Jr., picked up the slack by corralling an interception.

Again, preseason scores don’t matter, but I’m sure members of the Broncos were pleased to walk away with a 24-17 victory. Their next game will take place August 19 against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., at Levi’s Stadium.

Kansas City Chiefs

While the Broncos kicked off their preseason last night, the Chiefs will have their turn Friday night against the 49ers. Coming off of very different 2016 seasons, the two teams will collide at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

Prior to tonight’s matchup, Head Coach Andy Reid stated earlier this week that each of the team’s quarterbacks would have the opportunity to strut their stuff for a quarter. With Alex Smith still designated as the team’s starter, I’m anxious to see how No. 10 overall pick Patrick Mahomes II does in his NFL debut.

Smith and Mahomes have different play styles; Smith is often pegged as a short pass guy, as opposed to Mahomes who was known as a gunslinger at Texas Tech. Over his last four seasons as a Chief, Smith has totaled a record of 41-20, so it’s hard to imagine that Mahomes will supplant Smith as the starter. But as the Dallas Cowboys showed last year with quarterback Dak Prescott, don’t count out the rookies.

Kickoff for tonight’s game will start at 6:00 p.m. PT, and can be viewed on NFL Network.

Los Angeles Chargers

Of the members in the AFC West, the Chargers will start their preseason last, with the Oakland Raiders taking on the Arizona Cardinals Saturday. Sunday, the Bolts will host the Seattle Seahawks in their new home, the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

This will be the team’s first time playing in front of its new crowd, even though San Diego is only 114 miles away from their new stadium, so I’m sure plenty of  fans will make the trip. The young players on the squad are experiencing a variety of nerves ahead of their game, and I can only imagine what how it feels for them to know their first two draft selections, wide receiver Mike Williams (No. 7 overall), and offensive lineman Forrest Lamp (No. 38) won’t be able to participate due to injuries.

Following their game this Sunday, the Chargers will take the field again August 20 against the New Orleans Saints.