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Better to be lucky

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/7168974?CMP=OTC-K9B140813162&amp;ATT=5" target="_blank">Fox Sports</a>

    By Jay Glazer

    <img src="http://msn.foxsports.com/id/7168918_36_3.jpg" title="Chargers GM A.J. Smith could have very easily ended up with Michael Vick ... and the resulting headaches." alt="Chargers GM A.J. Smith could have very easily ended up with Michael Vick ... and the resulting headaches." align="right" height="236" width="190" />Sometimes a team's success in this league is based upon the players NOT taken rather than the players a team has actually drafted. No team is more lucky to have NOT drafted certain players than the San Diego Chargers.

    They're not just the best team in the league on paper, they are also the luckiest team on the planet.

    Consider this: they were very, very close to being the franchise that would have had to stand up at a press conference and talk about suspending their quarterback, Michael Vick.

    "Vick was our selection," Chargers GM A.J. Smith told me the other day. "He was our pick unless we could have gotten the player we wanted in the draft, draft picks and Tim Dwight. Tim Dwight was really the sticking point of that deal and for a while they wouldn't do it. We would have moved on and taken Michael.

    "A few days before the draft Atlanta asked if they threw Tim Dwight into the deal would we make the trade. LT (LaDainian Tomlinson) was our target if we traded back. We had one more backup plan in case he wasn't there but we were confident we could make this trade and get our guy."

    Smith and Alex Spanos could have very easily been the center of the media storm this week rather than Arthur Blank and Rick McKay.

    "Does that mean all the bad things that happened to him would happen here?" asked Smith. "Would he have traveled the same roads? I don't know. Does that make us lucky? In this case, yes, but who knows what would have happened."

    What Smith does know, however, is that he'll probably never have to face questions like the ones Blank had to answer about Vick when it comes to Tomlinson, who just so happens to be on his way to becoming the greatest running back to ever play the game.

    And don't forget, the Falcons deal also allowed San Diego to draft Drew Brees instead of Vick and it was Brees who got this team back to its winning ways.

    Which brings us to the next high-profile quarterback the Chargers decided NOT to select in the draft.

    The Chargers were just as lucky when it came to the next player they decided to pass on - Eli Manning. Considering the controversy that the younger Manning has had to deal with in his short time in New York and his lack of success, the Chargers again must feel like they have a lucky leprechaun hanging out in their backyard.

    The Chargers selected Manning with the intention of trading him, considering he and his representatives were strongly insisting he would never play for San Diego. So instead of hanging out in the sun in La Jolla, Manning gets to travel the icy winter roads of East Rutherford and fight his way through controversy.

    "To have a championship team you need to be good, injury free and lucky," said Smith. "Sometimes luck is what doesn't happen. When we heard Eli and Archie Manning and their take, we knew we'd still draft him. I knew the team that wanted to make the deal and even after I drafted him, I knew it would happen. Is that luck? I don't know. We just reacted to a bizarre situation."

    In reacting to that situation, they happened to pick up star QB in the making Phillip Rivers, some guy named Shawne Merriman who may be the game's best pass rusher and Pro Bowl kicker Nate Kaeding among other things.

    Yeah, I'd say that's pretty darn lucky. Or at least half lucky and half good. There are other teams in this league when they've faced slam dunks they still couldn't seem to get it right.

    Not trading RB Michael Turner could also turn out to be one of those lucky moves if something were to happen to Tomlinson this year. Even though Turner was on the trading block in the off-season, Smith held tight to a high bounty for his backup running back, a player who many personnel men in the league are convinced will eventually be a Pro Bowl back.

    One thing about Smith is he's a man who emphatically stands by his convictions. He was emphatic with the Eli situation, selecting him when his camp in essence threatened and dared him not to. In Turner, Smith is going the same route, insisting to everyone who calls that Turner is his for the year regardless of how much compensation is thrown his way.

    "Again, luck is part of the formula for success but you better have good players and a smart-decision maker under center under pressure," said Smith. "Forget the front office, the GM, the coaches, you need great players first."

    Great players they certainly have and fortunately for them, none of them have dogfighting on their record.

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