By Cody Strahm @CodyJStrahm on May 27, 2014
The AFC West was one of the league's best divisions in 2014, with three of its four clubs qualifying for the postseason. A big reason for that success was the division's superb quarterback play. How do the AFC West's passers stack up? Check out these rankings.
After a decent season in relief duty for Sam Bradford in St. Louis, Kellen Clemons signed with the San Diego Chargers this offseason to backup Philip Rivers. He's far from starting caliber, but Clemons can make enough throws to hold down the fort if need be for the Chargers.
Former Texans quarterback Matt Schaub once threw for 4,770 yards in a season. He once possessed a 90-plus quarterback rating for five consecutive years. He's been one of the league's better quarterbacks in the past. Last year, however, something just wasn't clicking for him. His decision making and accuracy faltered as the Texans stumbled to the worst record in football. A change of scenery -- even Oakland -- could produce a bounce-back effort.
Alex Smith will probably never register prolific statistics; that's just not his game. But what he can do -- and what he did last season -- is take what the defense gives him and protect the football. As the Chiefs' schedule becomes more difficult in 2014, though, Smith may be asked to carry the offense more than he did a year ago. If he can do so successfully, his critics should continue to dissipate.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has always been on the cusp of something special, and in 2013, he produced arguably his best season as a pro and led San Diego to the second round of the playoffs. To build off of that success in 2014, Rivers' supporting cast must continue to elevate its game. Regardless, Rivers, with excellent arm strength and accuracy, has solidified himself as one of the top passers in the game.
What can be said about Peyton Manning that hasn't been said already? Statistically, Manning had arguably the most impressive campaign in NFL history last year. Defying all odds, Manning was somehow more effective than ever at the tender age of 37. Obviously, his performance in the Super Bowl left a lot to be desired, but it didn't negate how special Manning's play was leading up to that game. 2014 could be his last chance to earn a second ring.
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