AFC West minicamp preview: Coping with change


As the teams get set to begin offseason workouts, the Broncos are undoubtedly the class of the AFC West. Can anyone challenge Peyton Manning and Co.?

The Denver Broncos ran away with the AFC West last season, but it's been a busy offseason for the division. San Diego and Kansas City have new coaching staffs, Oakland and the Chiefs have new starting quarterbacks and there was plenty of activity in free agency and the NFL draft.

All of those moves will begin to show later this month, as teams take to the field for minicamps and OTAs. Denver sits atop the division and, barring a Peyton Manning injury, offseason workouts aren't going to change that. The OTAs will, however, begin to settle rosters and help identify which teams could challenge the Broncos this season.

The organized events kickoff with rookie minicamps before teams begin OTAs and go through mandatory minicamp in June. Here is a look at the offseason schedules for the four AFC West teams.

Denver Broncos

OTA: May 20-22, May 29-31, June 3-6

Rookie Minicamp: May 10-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 11-13

With a loaded roster coming off a 13-3 season, the Denver Broncos are in good position heading into offseason workouts. There are few, if any, glaring holes on either side of the ball. The Broncos added some depth in the NFL draft and should enter the season as one of the top contenders for not only the AFC West, but the Super Bowl.

That said, Denver's first OTA will be the first time the team has taken the field in an organized event since their disappointing playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The Broncos will have some work to do as they transition to a new offensive coordinator and work in some new faces like receiver Wes Welker.

For more on the Broncos, visit Mile High Report.

Kansas City Chiefs

OTA: May 14-16, May 21-23, May 28-31

Rookie Minicamp: May 10-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 4-6

With a new coaching staff, front office and a re-tooled roster, the Chiefs will look considerably different when they take the field for workouts. Romeo Crennel and Matt Cassel are gone, with Andy Reid and Alex Smith now leading the way for Kansas City.

Reid and Smith will draw a lot of the attention, but a considerable amount of focus will also be on Eric Fisher, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. With Branden Albert still a Chief, Fisher will likely begin his NFL career at right tackle. Even though they are workouts, Fisher won't get a soft landing in the NFL as he attempts to block Tamba Hali and others.

For more on the Chiefs, visit Arrowhead Pride.

Oakland Raiders

OTA: May 20-21, May 23, May 28-30, June 3-6

Rookie Minicamp: May 10-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 11-13

Dennis Allen returns for his second season in Oakland, and when the Raiders open up offseason workouts there will be a new face under center. The Carson Palmer era came to a quick end earlier this offseason, and now it's Matt Flynn penciled in as Oakland's starting quarterback.

The Raiders will be without number of familiar names when workouts begin, especially on defense. Matt Shaughnessy, Michael Huff, Rolando McClain, Mike Mitchell, Desmond Bryant, Philip Wheeler, Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour are no longer with the team, leaving a number of holes to be filled. A few players have already been penciled into the open spots, but others will begin making their case for more playing time when workouts begin.

For more on the Raiders, visit Silver and Black Pride.

San Diego Chargers

OTA: May 13-15, May 20-22, June 3-6

Rookie Minicamp: May 10-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 11-13

Mike McCoy is familiar with the AFC West, but the upcoming offseason workouts will be the first OTAs of his career as an NFL head coach. McCoy moved from the Broncos to Chargers this offseason, although he isn't likely to draw the most media attention.

Instead, the media will likely be focused on one of the newest Chargers, as former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o takes the field as an NFL linebacker for the first time. Te'o, the Chargers second round pick, is one of a few rookies who could play a significant role for the Chargers this season.

The Chargers will be the first of the four AFC West teams to take the field as a full squad, as OTAs begin on May 13.

For more on the Chargers, visit Bolts From the Blue.

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