By Nick Shook
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As we hurtle toward the regular season, check out our division-by-division primers highlighting players and storylines to watch in 2017. Nick Shook tackles the AFC West below.
Most significant changes from 2016
DENVER BRONCOS: Trevor Siemian was often left running for his life in Denver last season, cutting down the Broncos‘ title defense at the knees. Denver has since attempted to upgrade the offensive line, adding former Cowboys guard Ronald Leary and Raiders tackle Menelik Watson (who was atrocious in Oakland in place of Donald Penn late last season), and drafting left tackle Garett Bolles, who won the starting job in camp. Denver’s season will ride on how well this rebuilt unit performs, in both giving Siemian time to work and the running backs — including newcomer Jamaal Charles — room to run.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Kansas City bid adieu to Jeremy Maclin, opening up a bigger role for second-year dynamo Tyreek Hill, who returns with plenty of hype in his saddlebags. We can’t talk about the Chiefs without mentioning Patrick Mahomes — though if things go smoothly, he’ll spend 2017 wearing an earpiece and a ball cap. The Chiefs lost Spencer Ware to a significant knee injury, thinning out their backfield while also creating an opportunity for preseason sensation Kareem Hunt. A bigger role should also be expected for wideout Chris Conley. Bennie Logan will attempt to replace the departed Dontari Poe at nose tackle, and Chris Jones is ticketed for enhanced responsibilities with Jaye Howard now in Chicago. Continue reading