AFC West Blog
The Raiders announced Monday that the future starts now.
As first reported by FOX Sports' Jay Glazer and later confirmed by the team, second-round rookie quarterback Derek Carr will start over veteran Matt Schaub on Sunday versus the Jets.
The plan since the draft, at least according to head coach Dennis Allen throughout the summer, was to have Schaub start right away while Carr sits and learns. But Schaub was awful in three preseason games, throwing no touchdowns, completing barely half of his passes and averaging just 4.6 yards per attempt. He didn't play in the fourth week of the preseason due to tendinitis in his right elbow.
That's when Carr took advantage. Carr started that preseason finale versus the Seahawks and completed 11 of 13 passes with three touchdowns. He even manufactured a 12-play, 68-yard touchdown drive against most of Seattle's first-team defense. Four days later, he got tabbed as the regular-season starter.
Wide receiver Vincent Brown was a fantasy sleeper heading into the 2012 season. Unfortunately, he's still sleeping, and now he'll have to find a new city in which to get his wake-up call. The Chargers cut the 25-year-old Brown on Saturday.
After posting a few solid games as a rookie in 2011, Brown's 2012 season was wiped before it even began due to a broken ankle during the preseason. He put up pedestrian numbers in 2013 and couldn't really make a dent in the Chargers' rather thin receiving corps. His last month with San Diego was spent on the sidelines as he nursed a calf injury. He hasn't practiced since July 25.
Derek Carr has some good timing. Just a few days ago, it seemed all but certain that Matt Schaub would be the Raiders' starting quarterback on Sept. 7 versus the Jets. Then he came down with a case of elbow tendinitis that forced him to miss Oakland's preseason finale, opening the door for Carr to impress his coaches and possibly reconsider their stance of Schaub as the starter.
Carr certainly didn't disappoint. He completed 11 of 13 passes Thursday night against the Seahawks for 143 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers. His first drive of the game, which covered 12 plays and 68 yards, ended in a touchdown and came against some of the Seahawks' best players, including Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.
In the morning after Carr's performance, Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle told Pro Football Talk he believes there's a 100 percent chance that Carr starts the regular-season opener.
Broncos head coach John Fox was asked about Wes Welker's health and responded with some positive news concerning the five-time Pro Bowler.
"He's in the exercise mode right now. He won't be back out there until he's completely well," Fox told KOA-AM radio Wednesday morning, via Broncos public relations vice president Patrick Smyth.
One of the most productive fantasy kickers around won't be around for the Broncos' first four games this season. Matt Prater has been suspended for that amount of time for violating the league's substance abuse policy. According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, the suspension is alcohol-related. Prater has been in the league's alcohol program since getting charged with DUI in August 2011. The suspension is expected to be announced Monday.
"I've made some mistakes," Prater said. "I'm accepting full responsibility. I'll learn from it and come back a better person. I want to apologize to my teammates, my coaches, the Broncos' organization and the fans."
According to Prater's agent, Harvey Steinberg, the NFL initially threatened to suspend Prater for a full year, but an agreement was reached to knock it down to four games.
Last year, Prater made 25 of his 26 field goal attempts, set an NFL record with 75 extra points and finished second in the league with 150 total points. Since the Broncos have their bye in Week 4, Prater won't be eligible to return until Week 6.
Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker has not considered retirement after sustaining a concussion during Saturday night's preseason game versus the Texans. The 33-year-old Welker has now suffered three concussions in one year, but Broncos head coach John Fox says that retirement "has not been brought up at all." Welker is questionable for the Broncos' Week 1 game against the Colts.
Wes Welker took a big hit to the helmet area from Texans safety D.J Swearinger during the Broncos' Saturday night preseason game. Welker left the field immediately and was taken in for further evaluations. It was later reported by head coach John Fox that Welker had suffered a concussion. This is the third time Welker has suffered a concussion in his last 10 games, including the preseason. His availability for the regular-season opener is currently in doubt.
Broncos running back Montee Ball is expected to make his preseason debut today against the Texans, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post. He underwent an appendectomy on Aug. 4 and returned to practice Tuesday. Ball went through 11-on-11 drills and took handoffs with the first-team offense Thursday. After the practice, Ball tweeted, ""Heeeees baaaaaccckkk!"
Charles is not expected to play in the Chiefs' third preseason game versus the Vikings Saturday night, according to ESPN's Ed Werder. Charles had been sidelined recently with a foot injury, but was able to return to training camp this week. Still, the Chiefs apparently see fit to rest Charles for the game, which is often referred to as a "dress rehearsal" for the regular season.
Tom Krasovic certainly loves himself some Malcom Floyd. The U-T San Diego writer has pinned the "MVP" tag on the 32-year-old wideout for the second time in five weeks. Krasovic wrote Tuesday that Floyd was the Most Valuable Player of Chargers training camp "in a runaway." This comes about a month after Krasovic named Floyd the team's spring MVP.