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Green Zone League Articles

Final Piece to the Puzzle? AFC West
By Garth Pearce
Special to gzl-football.com

For this series of articles I will take a look at each team, division by divison, and take my punt at what is keeping them from achieving the ultimate goal of any Madden league...winning the Super Bowl. We all realise our teams aren't perfect and strive for that extra player, that added progression or even just 1 more year to develop your team and strategy into a championship contender. From this stand point I'll aim to pinpoint that one glaring aspect that seems to be holding a team back.


Small Pieces A noted failure of this team so far has been the lack of a reliable running game. Knowshon Moreno has not proven his worth in the current system and it's been his back up, Kevin Smith, who has given a glimmer of hope that pounding the rock can be beneficial to gain yardage. We can all tell though that Smith is not the long term answer as his physical talent and skills are just not up there to be a top and consistent runner. Obtaining a quality back would take this team a step closer to achieving that Super Bowl glory.

Final Piece This outfit has an abundance of youth across the board that needs some time to develop into effective starters. Howard Christensen is in the midst of his best season yet but can still do with more time to develop into a truly awesome weapon. Edmond Gates can become the foil for Demaryius Thomas as Garcon gets older and compliment Christensen's growth. Janoris Jenkins needs a few seasons of experience to get his awareness up to starting calibre, whilst linebackers Kevin Minter, Shea McClellin and Khassem Greene can do with some solid development to up their game. That's quite a few guys to progress at once but they'll definitely help the team along as they go.


Small Pieces What is a big piece for the Broncos I see as a small step for the Chiefs, and that is developing their younger guys into quality starters. The main focus here is on their two rookie receivers in Justin Hunter and Terrance Williams. With the amount of feeding they were getting from Andrew Luck it's no surprise that they will explode in ability over the next couple of years into two top notch passing targets. The other side of this coin is getting their corners into the same area of capability. Marquis Robinson and DeMarcus Van Dyke are likely long term prospects for the Chiefs and need some focus to improve their skills to the top level

Final Piece He finally came on song this year and was looking worthy of his number 1 pick, but the one thing holding the Chiefs back from glory is a healthy Andrew Luck. He had the Chiefs powering along until injury took him out for almost the entire year. If this man can stay healthy than the Chiefs are likely to be a wreaking force out of the AFC West as we all try and keep up with their passing game.


Small Pieces The Raiders are the third team that require a little more time to get some youngsters up to prime time calibre. In this case it's a need for nearly the entire secondary to get with the program and learn game skills to the max. Corners Camden Pietarila and Shareece Wright, along with safety Mike Greenfield all need some progression loving to max them quality defenders. Alongside this it's about time the Raiders found a permanent solution at strong safety to take over from the old fart carousel they've employed the past two seasons.

Final Piece I'm loathe to say this but at the end of the day it's the weak point that everyone picks for this team...Michael Vick. As far as QB's go he's a scrambler and most knock him for that, but my thoughts on this matter go another branch, and that's the fact that he's LEFT HANDED! As far as Madden goes it shows a lack of love for the left handed throwing mechanic as opposed to the natural right handed version. The Raider's will milk the life out of Vick but in the next couple of seasons will need a right handed replacement ready to take the reins.


Small Pieces How do you knock the reigning Super Bowl champs for not having all the pieces to the puzzle? Well their below standard performance this year shows that something isn't quite right and we know they made off season moves to change the team. But beyond that it would seem that success in Charger land should be placed on the shoulders of Blaine Gabbert, who has this nasty habit of getting injured. After sitting significant time in the past 2 years (so much as to not be at the helm for the Super Bowl win), one questions his position on the team due to constant injury and their proven success without him. If he can stay healthy the Chargers can only get better, however it may be worthwhile to move him on for a more resilient gun slinger, or better yet, revamp the offensive line to give him more protection. Apart from the right tackle most of these guys look mediocre at best, so it'll take a lot of development or some new additions to shore up this leaky wall.

Final Piece The most glaring obstacle to success would appear to be in the other half of Gabbert's offense, the wide receivers. Vincent Jackson is a big loss to this team this year and Keenan Allen is just not there yet to take his place and an injury looks to be holding him back even more. With even more offensive emphasis placed on the run it becomes critical that the passing game can step up to share the load.
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