AFC West Notes: Bolts, Wilkinson, Raiders

The COVID-19 pandemic will make rookies’ transitions more difficult, and quarterbacks will face a tough learning curve. As a result, Tyrod Taylor is expected to open the season as the Chargers‘ starting quarterback, Daniel Popper of The Athletic writes (subscription required). That arrangement may continue for a while. No. 6 overall pick Justin Herbert will likely sit at least eight games, Popper predicts, noting that the Bolts are preaching patience with their first Round 1 quarterback pick in 16 years. Anthony Lynn said in early April that Taylor was the Bolts’ starter “for now.” Taylor is undoubtedly a bridge quarterback again, but this bridge may be longer than the one the Browns used to get to Baker Mayfield two years ago.

Let’s look at the latest from the Chiefs’ three challengers in the AFC West:

  • Defensive lineman Damion Square and the Chargers have expressed mutual interest about another contract, Popper notes. The Bolts originally picked up Square in 2014 and re-signed him in 2017 and ’19. The former UDFA would provide a veteran presence on a defensive line housing Pro Bowlers Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and Linval Joseph up front but little experience behind them. Square, now 31, has seen time at defensive tackle and D-end with the Bolts. He started 11 games for the 2018 Chargers, registering three sacks that season.
  • The Broncos did not add a left tackle in the draft or free agency, planning instead to hold a Garett Bolles-vs.-Elijah Wilkinson competition for the job. The latter will be coming off surgery. Wilkinson underwent an ankle procedure in May, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic notes. Wilkinson, who filled in for Ja’Wuan James as Denver’s starting right tackle for almost all of last season, suffered a high ankle sprain in December. The ailment did not heal properly, postponing the fourth-year player’s recovery. Wilkinson, who signed his second-round RFA tender in April, still hopes to be ready for training camp.
  • Despite the coronavirus altering the construction of the Raiders‘ Allegiant Stadium, the team is eyeing July 31 as a completion date for the Las Vegas-based domed stadium’s “substantial construction,” Mick Akers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal notes. At least 16 workers have tested positive for COVID-19, and Akers adds the near-$2 billion project moved from two shifts to three to allow for social distancing.
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17 comments on “AFC West Notes: Bolts, Wilkinson, Raiders

  1. Simmons>Russ

    Taylor is a decent QB and will be able to take the Chargers to a decent record and that reduces the pressure on Herbert to come in and be effective.

    Will also help Tua get ready and come back from injury in Miami with Fitzmagic able to start ahead of him and let Tua get settled

    • Taylor is ‘decent’ but unless the running game and defense are leading the team, their record is still going to be bad. He’s not an upgrade over Rivers. They’ll be around 6-10 next year.

      • Simmons>Russ

        The o line did get better but the running game got worse.
        Taylor has a winning record as a QB and that was on a much worse Browns team.
        I respect him, he also made the pro bowl in 2015 and every opportunity he gets to start he does alright in until a new young QB to come in and take over.

        Not many 6th round pick QBs at 30 are starters with a pro bowl game and a Championship ring on their finger.

        Without looking at their schedule I think he goes 5-3 or 4-4 in his first 8 games. Then he either continues and goes about 9-7 or 8-8 or Herbert takes over and Henry leads them to a similar record probably 9-7.

    • jkoms57

      Man 2 things Elway doesn’t draft high enough:

      QBs and Offensive linemen

      Like is anyone at all excited about Drew Lock or is it just assumed he’ll be replaced next year

      • wagner13

        Elway drafts quarterbacks and offensive linemen high, but his track record is especially poor in this regard. His signal-callers are tall white dudes like Osweiler and the abominable Paxton Lynch. Meanwhile, Ty Sambrailo is just a swing tackle, while Garrett Bolles can’t put 2 games together without committing a penalty. On the other hand, Risner and Lock look fairly promising. His drafting has also improved in recent years, finding gems such as Simmons, Sutton, and Lindsay beyond the first round

      • Thomas Bliss

        I’m excited about Lock but I never once thought of him as a 1st round pick like some experts had last year.

  2. playicy

    Taylor will be an upgrade to an overhyped Philip rivers who was mediocre at best to say the least

    • wagner13

      You’re severely overestimating the talent of Taylor. While imperfect in his own right, Rivers didn’t have a chance last season when protected by the likes of Trent Scott and Sam Tevi

    • Have you actually watched Taylor in action? His entire game is short passes (like fourth option dump-offs), bombs, and scrambles. He is almost incapable of throwing 10+ yards downfield or hitting first and second options.

      And even with the plethora of interceptions Rivers had last year, he’s much better than Taylor. Taylor will get you–at best–game management with stats like 200 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT and maybe 40-50 yards rushing.

      • jamfed

        which Tyrod are you referring to? Browns Tyrod or Bills Tyrod? Neither team had WR’s like Allen, Williams, Henry or Ekeler.
        …expect fantastic Tyrod

        • wagner13

          I’ll admit Bills Tyrod never got a fair shot, but Browns Tyrod got outplayed by Baker. I’m not saying he’s horrible, but to suggests he’s an instant upgrade over an experienced veteran like Philip Rivers is short-sighted imo

      • Simmons>Russ

        I haven’t really watched much Taylor but you have to respect a bloke who was a 6th round pick, is a starter at 30, went to the pro bowl and is a super bowl champion.

        As far as you saying he struggles to throw 10+ yards passes for his career he averages 7 yards per throw, Aaron Rodgers averages 7.7 and is regarded as being great at throwing the deep ball. In 2019 Rodgers actually averaged 7 yard per throw. Not that Taylor is even near his level, ive haven’t seen much of him, but he must be somewhat decent to not be too far off.

        I think Taylor will be fine with a better o line this year and good WRers.

        • wagner13

          He’ll probably be league-average and a fantastic mentor for Herbert, but the upside will always be capped at about nine-ten wins with Taylor at the helm

  3. OCTraveler

    If Taylor goes 0-4 and if the Rams go 3-1 or 4-0, the fans in LA will be heading to the Rams games at SoFi Stadium instead of the Chargers. The Chargers will have no other option but to start Herbert.

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