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ANALYSIS: Spanos has decisions to make on coach, GM

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by CoronaDoug, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    What happens with the Chargers over the next several weeks will almost certainly determine the job status of head coach Norv Turner, and it could even usher in the end of the A.J. Smith era.
    With that said, it is interesting to note the financial blow team President Dean Spanos would absorb and also the dynamics of making both those moves.
    Dropping Turner and Smith at season's end, moves Spanos was in the process of evaluating even before Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Bears, would leave the Chargers on the hook for more than $12 million.
    Exact numbers are not known, but sources place Turner's salary at approximately $3 million per year on a contract that runs through 2013. Smith's compensation averages slightly more than $2 million through 2014.
    At this point, it is apparent only a drastic turnaround will save Turner, as the Chargers have lost five straight and are in last place in the AFC West, in grave danger of missing the playoffs for a second straight season. Spanos also has wondered about repeated game management decisions, and after five years it is possible Turner has been given enough time to get done what no Chargers coach ever has – win a Super Bowl.
    After all, Marty Schottenheimer was fired after a 14-2 season, his departure coming in part because Spanos and Smith believed he had taken the team as far as he was capable.
    Might this be premature? Sure, the Chargers (4-6) could beat the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars over the next two weeks. Simultaneously, the division-leading Oakland Raiders (6-4) could stumble. The Chargers were 4-8 in 2008, which quarterback Philip Rivers said "felt worse" than the Chargers' current 4-6. That season ended with an 8-8 record and a little playoff run.
    But even late last week, word had begun to circulate in league circles about Spanos' escalating concern about the state of his franchise in the hands of Turner -- who has the second-highest winning percentage in team history at .608 (45-29) -- and even Smith, the man Spanos has given virtually complete control of football operations over the past nine years.
    Spanos has been a staunch Turner supporter, he and Smith practically seeming to relish their defense of the much-maligned coach who many Chargers fans have seemingly been waiting to fail since the day he was hired in 2007. Spanos, too, is said to be struggling with the difficulty of fairly evaluating Turner given the state of a roster depleted by injuries and a spate of recent questionable roster decisions by Smith.
    The Chargers are seeking public help for a new stadium and doing so amid mushrooming rumors of an impending move to Los Angeles, and they have a sinking season ticket base that grows more imperiled with each loss.
    The villagers, as some might call them, have their pitchforks and torches and appear ready to storm Chargers Park if Turner remains.
    However, firing Smith along with Turner presents more challenges.
    That would leave Spanos the question of structure within the football operations side of the franchise – most revolving around the fact that current director of college scouting John Spanos is waiting in the wings to take over as general manager.
    Even since Smith signed his contract extension on the first day of 2008, the rough plan has been that he and Dean Spanos would move on after ’14, leaving Spanos’ sons, John and A.G., to run the team’s football and business operations, respectively.
    There are three conceivable scenarios for bringing in a new coach and general manager.
    1. John Spanos could assume GM duties but defer to a powerful head coach who would have final say on personnel decisions. This would be a reversal of the organizational structure Dean Spanos has always had.
    2. John Spanos could become the general manager ahead of schedule, simply sliding into Smith’s role and assuming total control of football operations. That might limit the Chargers’ choices for coaches, but there would also be no shortage of candidates.
    3. The Chargers could hire a new personnel man to replace Smith, leaving John Spanos in apprentice mode for a few more years. It might be difficult, but not impossible, to find a G.M. willing to be a bridge with a limited span.


    Before getting there, though, Spanos has to decide whether a new G.M. would do better or whether Smith deserves another shot with another coach.
    While Smith has made some missteps in the draft of late and failed to bring in the type of impact players the Chargers so desperately need, injuries have played a major role in creating some of the holes on the team. Spanos, too, credits Smith with rebuilding the Chargers in 2003 and ’04, helping the team go from having the second-worst record in the NFL over an eight-year span to having the fifth-best record over the past seven-plus seasons.
    And the owner of a team in the bottom half of revenues among the 32 NFL teams, in a bad economy with dwindling ticket revenues must also decide if he wants to eat $5 million a year over the next two seasons and another $2 million in 2014 for men no longer in his employ.
    Perhaps helping Spanos is the fact Turner and Smith are football men who would certainly not retire.
    Turner, who is in his third head coaching job, has never sat out a season in 27 years in the NFL. He has held three offensive coordinator positions between his head coaching gigs. League executives opined last week it is likely that Turner would get an offensive coordinator job for 2012, which could save Spanos up to half what he would owe Turner.
    Smith, a scout and personnel man since late 1970s, would also try to work again immediately. League sources indicated that there will be at least four general manager jobs opening.
    League sources said the Raiders will be looking for a GM after the season, having given total control to head coach Hue Jackson this season. Sources said there is dissension in the organization’s hierarchy over the Carson Palmer trade and the contract given to Aaron Curry after they acquired him in trade.
    In Jacksonville, both GM Gene Smith and head coach Jack Del Rio could be out. Smith turned down a contract extension last season.
    The Miami Dolphins are being frustrated in their preliminary search for a high-profile head coach that would have total control. Sources said former Chiefs president Carl Peterson, who has been advising Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, is still a candidate as GM there if they don’t find anyone else.
    St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is looking to blow up his front office and hire a new coach. Kroenke, according to a league source, is compiling a general manager list right now.
    Smith might have to take less than total control if he were to be hired elsewhere, but he likely would in that he never had total control until taking this job.
    It is not known to what extent those other owners have already made their decisions, though league sources were at least willing to put them in pencil.
    Here, it is unlikely a decision waits until January. But Spanos is virtually certain to let the season play out before actually making a move.
    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/nov/21/spanos-has-decisions-make/?page=1#article
     
  2. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    "Even since Smith signed his contract extension on the first day of 2008, the rough plan has been that he and Dean Spanos would move on after ’14, leaving Spanos’ sons, John and A.G., to run the team’s football and business operations, respectively."

    Get ready for years of misery!
     
  3. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    The only decision Spanos will make will be based on profitability.

    These clowns could give a crap about winning other than how it affects their bottom line.

    For chrissakes - they support Rick Perry. Do you honestly believe that they can objectively find their way out of this mess when that's their political mindset?

    Might as well move the team to Texas now & snuggle up to that boob nice & comfy.
     
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  4. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    John Spanos coordinates the team’s scouting efforts in preparation for the NFL Draft. He spent the 2003-05 seasons as a pro and college scout and 2006-07 seasons as assistant director of college scouting. He also assists in contracts and managing the salary cap.
    Spanos first started working for the Chargers in 1995. While in high school, he worked summers as an assistant in the team’s football operations office. From 1998-00 he worked under the direction of Ed McGuire, who schooled him in contract negotiations and managing the salary cap.

    From 2001-03, Spanos served two stints in the NFL’s Management Council office in New York, learning a wide range of league procedures, reviewing new player contracts and assisting in the League’s salary cap reconciliation process.

    So how have the drafts worked out since he took over in 2008? Buddy Nix anyone?
     
  5. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Not to support baby Spanos, but didn't Nix get fixated on LSU & bring us the Buster Davis/Jacob Hester dynamic duo?

    The draft is certainly a very imprecise science but it seems to me that there's a strong possibility that someone's ego is overriding scouting reports.
     
  6. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    Can AJ override a Spanos? I have been curious about this for a while.
    Yes you have a point about LSU.
     
  7. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Well, my only insight into that answer is ..... who backs the paychecks?
     
  8. starry

    starry BoltTalker

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    But would another team take Turner or Smith, in the roles they had here anyway? Norv may get an OC position somewhere.
     
  9. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    Is this news to you? I have heard about this plan for the last couple years
     
  10. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    There are a lot of rumors that those picks are why he left only days after the draft. He supposedly opposed those picks so much, that he "retired" only 2-3 days after the draft. Darren Smith and Acee have said that the Buster pick was Norv's pick.
     
  11. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    WTH would you expect AJ's boys to say? :rolleyes:
     
  12. paddyirishman

    paddyirishman BoltTalker

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    And I bet Rick Perry couldnt name three current Chargers players
     
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  13. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    He can't name 3 current departments of the US gov't. :p

    But hey - maybe Spanos & Co. can create some more of those minimum wage jobs like his boy crows about creating in Texas.

    Smoke & mirrors
     
  14. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    That has absolutely no relevance to football or the operation of a team what so ever. :rolleyes:

    Yeah! I gave you the rolly eyes!

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Blow me. :eek:
     
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  16. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    giddy up
     
  18. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    I would expect him to blame Nix instead of blaming it on AJ's boy Norv
     
  19. FCBolt

    FCBolt Well-Known Member

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    Actually, given the angle Buck is taking on that point, it is on-topic.
    imo, since their goal is to maximize profit, the Spanos crew can objectively find their way out of this. And given their financial goals it's no surprise they're trying to float Perry. When the bottom line is all that counts, Perry is your man.
    Unfortunately for them, Perry is sinking faster than Norv or AJ. What'll be interesting (in a watching-paint-dry-on-a- slow-motion-train-wreck type of way) is seeing how they'll sort out the most profitable move: keep the coaching staff and/or GM and lose ticket sales, or hire new guys with some associated probability of boosting ticket sales. Critical thing there is that new guys have to be good at what they do. So sure, they'll objectively find their way out of it. But that doesn't mean that the Chargers will be any better for it. But I guarantee you the Spanos Bros bank accounts will.
     
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  20. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    No he doesnt! No he isnt!

    [​IMG]
     
  21. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    [​IMG]
     
  22. airbolt

    airbolt BoltTalker

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    Yea, stick politics in in it Melanoma, why don't you go start a human chain across the Chargers HQ's parking lot.?

    In order to predict the future you have to understand the past.

    Gene Klein in many ways was a bad owner as well, but he smelled a rat and did not want to sell the team to Spanos, he accurately perceived Alex Spanos as a big-mouthed rube, and a Raider groupie. ( unfortunately Spanos had a right to match any offer due to his minority ownership stake ). The dummy was fooled by his friend Al Davis, who he sought out for advice early in his ownership (unbelievable). Al provided a lot of misdirection & fed Alex's feeble mind with b.s. That's how we ended up with some of the Raider riff-raff in the front office for a few years. Alex (dumb) and Dean (dumber), no accident this team is screwed.

    Spanos hated Don Coryell, he merely put up with him due to Don's popularity. As soon as he had a good opportunity he fired Don and replaced him with Al Saunders. (who has never been a head coach since). One of the biggest reasons he liked Saunders is Al wore a shirt and tie, along with a sport jacket on the sidelines. Old man Spanos created a very paranoid locker room, and treated the Chargers like they were a crew in his construction business. Finally even dumb Dean told Dad it was time to retire.


    The son is a very slow learner, he has presided over two GM versus HC battles (and took the wrong side both times) and now he's allowed the situation to get so bad that the Chargers have become the joke of the NFL.
     
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  23. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

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    I'm not sure if he can name 3 COLORS.
     
  24. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    Word is that they will change the tam name to the LA Spanos. There could be a nephew Spanos in line for a coaching job.
     
  25. rickochey

    rickochey BoltTalker

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    The Chargers will become just like the Bengals with John and A.G.. I have no problem with family working together but to give your kid such a high position with questionable experience is questionable. I know Daddy Spanos gave Dean control with questionable ability and now he wants to continue that legacy with his kids. WOW. I think they should both go work for another team before in any position before 'given' a job. Learn something new a different approach and bring experience to the team.

    I hope I am wrong with my predictions but looking at Deans 'No Pride" in the Chargers I wish he had half the heart/emotion and the desire to win as much as Mark Cuban, Jerry Jones, Dan Schneider, AL DAVIS, Steinbrenners. Looking at Deans past with Beathard/Ross (trading 1st round picks) and now with AJ/Norv (not signing free agents) is it obvious Dean is still trying to figure out the best way to win for le$$. yeah yeah yeah Dream teams don't always work but when this team was rebuilt in 2002 they took good FA and they had explosive years (Foley, Flutie) the formula is right there on how to retool. If Norv stays another year it is clearly obvious that Dean is not trying to win anytime soon.
     
  26. Brundlefly

    Brundlefly Well-Known Member

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    Is it questionable?
     
  27. rickochey

    rickochey BoltTalker

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    I don't understand your question.
     
  28. Harley

    Harley BoltTalker

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    word out'a stockton is spanos is just another low level crook who made good...the second generation will be the same kind of crook without the scrappy street smarts of robbing people at knife point.
     
  29. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Hmmmm .... sounds like a pretty familiar theme.
     
  30. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    Acee already has his mouth around the next Spanos. I guess he feels like he needs to start early...

    Q
    Glen Donaldson, san diego
    Kevin in your article about the GM you give three options; why is there not a fourth -- that you put off making your son the GM and get a guy in here that can draft ... a GM that puts winning a championship over getting to "the tournament" and see what happens?
    A
    Kevin Acee
    Pretty sure one of my options was that they would hire another G.M. in the interim ... Now let me make this clear: There is no chance that John Spanos will be general manager in 2012. In fact, while he definitely will SOME DAY be in charge of football operations and likely have more "football input" than his father, John might always have a "general manager" (director of personnel) underneath him ... John Spanos has been groomed for running the football side of the business since he was a teenager. Go ahead and resent him for his last name, if you must. But you need to respect that he's worked hard to prepare for taking over something that is important to him. He's extremely smart, and while winning and losing is how he will ultimately be judged as GM/president/whatever, fans will enjoy getting to know him.
     

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