In the first installment of ranking the AFC West, I look at the quarterbacks. There is potential for some good QB play in the AFC West but also just as much potential for some lackluster QB play. We know what to expect from the man at the top of the list, it's the rest of the quarterbacks who come with some question marks.
Here is how the AFC West teams stack up at quarterback.
1. Denver Broncos - Peyton Manning
Well, duh. Manning is an elite quarterback, plain and simple. Last season people questioned if he could return from his neck injury. He did. No further questions at this point.
2. San Diego Chargers - Philip Rivers
Some would tell you Phillip Rivers is an average quarterback. I don't disagree with that. But he has shown the ability to turn it on at a moment's notice and has all the talent to be a great quarterback any given Sunday. The Chargers may not have been to any Super Bowls with him but he has been one of the better quarterbacks in the league for much of his career.
3. Kansas City Chiefs - Alex Smith
Smith lands here because of what he showed in San Francisco two seasons ago with some decent coaching. He will get decent coaching in Kansas City under Andy Reid. Smith had many seasons of pretty ugly play so he must prove he wasn't simply a product of the system under Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco.
4. Oakland Raiders - Matt Flynn
The great unknown. He has had two fantastic starts in his NFL career and nothing else. He is criticized for having a weak arm but that can be overblown in the NFL. There have been a lot more "weak armed" but smart quarterbacks who have succeeded in the NFL than strong armed dopes. He could thrive in the Raiders' West Coast Offense. He is the right kind of quarterback for it. But after two starts in Green Bay and getting beaten out by rookie Russell Wilson in Seattle, we still just don't quite know what to expect from him.