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A.J. leaves a lot to the imagination

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by CoronaDoug, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. CoronaDoug
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    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    A.J. leaves a lot to the imagination
    BY
    THURSDAY, APRIL 1, 2010 AT 12:02 A.M.


    Contact Tim:
    (619) 293-1033
    E-mail

    RSS | Twitter | Bio, archive

    A.J. Smith has announced the need for a running back, which is a little like peanut butter announcing a need for bread.

    It’s perfectly obvious, is it not? As plain as the noses on your football. We hold this truth to be self-evident: that when the Chargers lose two of their three players at one position, their general manager is obligated to replace them. In matters pertaining to personnel, however, A.J. Smith specializes in saying only what goes without saying.

    Anticipating Smith’s moves is all about intuition and inference, established patterns and perceived preferences, and the best hypotheses are little better than hunches. Generally speaking, your guess is as good as mine, and probably better. If the Chargers’ next running back is as elusive as is their GM, however, he will make LaDainian Tomlinson look like a man moving a mule.

    “I understand the passion of the fans,” Smith said yesterday, “and they may or may not agree with some of the moves that we do. And I can’t help that. The one thing that we do agree (on), where we’re all on board, is we need a running back. Other than that, it’s just speculation and opinions about what we need to get better.”

    Like many of his peers in pro football, Smith operates on a tightly circumscribed need-to-know basis. Though he sometimes signals his displeasure with a particular player — Antonio Cromartie, for instance, or Donnie Edwards — by confirming suspicion that that player is on the trading block, his default position is elaborate equivocation.

    He doesn’t want players alarmed by the knowledge that they’re considered expendable. He doesn’t want aggrieved agents tying up his phone and inciting their clients. And, perhaps primarily, he doesn’t want any of the other 31 NFL general managers to be able to predict how he might deal with a specific set of circumstances. (A season without a salary cap, for example, or outside linebackers with a penchant for the police blotter.)

    Smith can speak so long and say so little that insomniacs should download his oratorical obfuscations to their iPods. And, in the main, I’m OK with that. Smith’s responsibility to the public is his product, not his process, and that product is 71-41 during his seven years of stewardship.

    Yes, he has yet to deliver a Super Bowl. Yes, he spent a first-round draft choice on Buster Davis. Yes, he sometimes takes a harder line than is absolutely necessary and is given to long-standing grudges. Still, if Smith’s record has not yet earned him the benefit of the doubt, Chargers fans ought to be able to appreciate the strategic value of vagueness in matters of grand strategy.

    Though the public’s appetite for pro football appears to be insatiable, and has given rise to round-the-clock reporting on items that could easily pass for trivia (most recently, disclosure of the NFL’s preseason schedule), satisfied curiosity is not an inalienable right. Much as we might like to know how the Chargers intend to address their numerous needs, whether Darren Sproles will be traded (and create a need for yet another running back) and how a growing stockpile of future draft choices might be used for immediate impact, you don’t win a poker game by showing your hand.

    We are left, then, to consider the clues in the absence of hard information. Smith’s history has been to avoid high-profile free agents and to hoard draft choices for targeted trades. He has also admitted to making pre-draft trips for the specific purpose of throwing rivals off the scent. Thus while Smith’s presence at the Fresno State “Pro Day” workout of running back Ryan Mathews may have been a sign of sincere interest, it may also have been a deliberate smoke screen.

    Personally, I’m bracing for a blockbuster. I’m still not convinced the Chargers will carry Sproles as a third-down back/kick returner at $7.28 million. I’m wondering whether Smith is trying to put the pieces in place to trade up to draft Clemson running back C.J. Spiller or (be still my heart) Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. (Just to be clear, the preceding sentence should be considered idle speculation and not a bona fide rumor. But remember where you read it first if it happens to happen.)

    “Really, the fans do exactly what I do,” Smith said. “They bring in players (in their minds) and remove them from the organization. They fire coaches. They hire coaches. And they also, I’m sure, some of them would like a new GM and they want a new GM tomorrow.”

    “Or yesterday,” he was told.

    “My job,” Smith continued, “is to do exactly what (fans) do and what I’m trying to do here — which is old news — to try to build a playoff-caliber football team, which is very difficult to do in itself. And trying to maintain a playoff-caliber team, with the comings and goings on a yearly basis, is twice as hard …

    “The mystery that’s out there is what’s going on. Those fans that are out there that truly love the Chargers, just hang in there and support us. We’re trying to win them a championship, and us. We have not got it done yet. We are not good enough yet.”

    You knew that already, of course. What you don’t know is by design.

    Tim Sullivan: (619) 293-1033; tim.sullivan@uniontrib.com
    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/apr/01/aj-leaves-a-lot-to-the-imagination/
  2. Buck Melanoma
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    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I already posted in the AJ Mock Drafts thread. :icon_tease:
  3. CoronaDoug
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    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    Thank [​IMG] Buck! :lol:
  4. matilack
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    matilack #therealagent47

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    AJ is a master of smokescreen, and he has to work extra hard this year because our needs are so incredibly obvious, RB and NT.

    I got to say it seems like a bad sign for Mathews fans like me that he went to the FSU Pro Day.:lol:

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