AFC Notes: Broncos, Lynch, Bills, Blount

Tony Romo now being out of the picture for the Broncos turns them back to their incumbents, whom the franchise has praised this offseason. Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch now will have a full-fledged competition for Denver’s starting job, and despite the first-round investment the Broncos made in Lynch, he may have an uphill battle edge going into the team’s offseason workouts. Siemian indeed has the upper hand going into the Broncos’ first Vance Joseph-led program, James Palmer of NFL.com notes.

Joseph himself told Palmer that “players want to play for” Siemian and “they want to win for him.” The Broncos’ staff believes Siemian “played at a higher level than many assume” last season, per Palmer. Conversely, Joseph identified leadership and grasp of Denver’s offense as areas Lynch needs to improve upon.

Mike McCoy did well to tailor previous Broncos offenses to the strengths of Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow before incorporating much of Peyton Manning‘s Colts concepts into the 2012 Broncos’ playbook. Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com writes that observing whether or not McCoy can tailor an offense to Lynch’s strengths will be worth monitoring this offseason. Earlier this year, Lynch looked like the player the team wanted to win the job. Lynch being a first-round pick might mean that’s still the case, but Siemian looks to have a big backer in Joseph just as he did in Gary Kubiak.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions.

  • Under the terms of the Seahawks extension Marshawn Lynch signed in 2015, he’s set to make around $9MM this year. While the Raiders refused to outbid the Vikings for Latavius Murray on an offer far less than that, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes that the Bay Area native would mean more to this Raiders team than just as a running back. Although only one back (Le’Veon Bell) is set to take up more than $7MM of his team’s cap this year, Florio points out that Lynch could do well for a wounded Raiders Oakland-area fanbase that just saw the franchise agree to move (again) only to say it’s going to play the next two years in Oakland. Lynch’s productivity history, the Raiders’ lack of a proven every-down back on their roster and the ball-carrier’s Bay Area popularity give Lynch leverage in Florio’s mind. Of course, this running back draft class is believed to be quite deep, which could negate some of Lynch’s leverage.
  • Lynch would be a good fit behind the Raiders’ power-based run game, Bucky Brooks of NFL.com observes. He’d allow the aforementioned complementary backs — Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington — to serve in similar roles that they did last year, with Brooks noting Lynch’s presence would help stop defenses from shifting too much attention to Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
  • The Patriots have an offer out to LeGarrette Blount, but Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes the bulldozing running back is probably looking for the team to increase the guaranteed money in said offer. While Blount has continued to circle back to the Patriots in recent years, Reiss believes this is a take-it-or-leave-it proposal due to the deep running back class.
  • The Bills are going to feature an easier-to-comprehend defense under Sean McDermott, according to Breer. “You can see the schemes are simple, and intended to help the players play fast,” a Bills veteran informed the reporter. Rex Ryan‘s defenses were not known for their simplicity. Buffalo ranked 19th in total defense in each of the past two years.
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