AFC West Notes: Broncos, Smith, Raiders

Chargers kicker Nick Novak, for the most part, likes the new point after attempt rules, Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego writes.

I think it makes my job that much more exciting,” Novak said. “There could be games where I may not get any work, just lighting up the scoreboard and scoring touchdowns, which is a good thing. Now, I have the privilege of kicking 33-yard field goals, maybe four of five a game — I call them field goals because they’re from 33 yards. And I may kick four or five (actual) field goals. My workload is going to go up. It’s exciting to showcase what I can do. I think it increases the value of a kicker, too. Accuracy is going to be a (more valued commodity).

However, now that the two-point scoring incentive is there, Novak is concerned that rushers may make a more concerted effort to block, which could lead to greater injury risk for players. Here’s more out of the AFC West..

  • Broncos defensive lineman Antonio Smith is being investigated in Texas for possible child abuse of a sexual nature, Mike Klis of 9News writes. The alleged incident took place in November, two months before Denver signed him to a one-year, $2MM pact. Only Smith’s $500K signing bonus is fully guaranteed from that amount, though a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy could put that in jeopardy.
  • The Raiders are set up perfectly for a 2016 spending splurge, Jason Fitzgerald of The Sporting News writes. If QB Derek Carr and LB Khalil Mack lead the Raiders to a respectable season in 2015, McKenzie will likely see the time being right to spend on high-quality players. At that point, the Raiders will have up to 16 unrestricted free agents and it’s unlikely any of them would be inked to an extension over the summer.
  • There’s a lot of talk about where the Raiders will wind up playing but that’s not a concern to head coach Jack Del Rio, as Scott Bair of writes. “We’re not naïve to know that there are things going on but, really, our focus is just on trying to be as good a football team as we can be,” Del Rio said. “Inside these walls, it’s all about football, about competing, about learning the system and challenging each other and building a brotherhood, beginning to get that chemistry and that bond and all of that.”
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