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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, May 8, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm">USA Today</a>

    So, how did the Hatfields and McCoys get through the Chargers' draft?

    General manager A. J. Smith and coach Marty Schottenheimer, who have been at odds during the off-season, had their biggest test since their latest dustup during the draft. There is no weekend more important for a general manager and coach to be in concert, and it was especially worth watching this time around as many sour notes have been revealed about their relationship.

    So when Smith reached for first-round pick Antonio Cromartie, a cornerback with a huge upside but just one college start, some were curious if Schottenheimer was involved in making the selection.

    "Absolutely," Schottenheimer said. "I'm excited about it. I've always said at the outset I like big, physical corners."

    Schottenheimer was also reminded he likes big, physical offensive linemen. And it seemed the Chargers had a bigger need there in that starting left tackle Roman Oben's foot injury remains a concern and the team is breaking in a new quarterback in Philip Rivers.

    But Schottenheimer seemed OK with the pick. Smith declined to offer a reporter the chance to talk to him about his fractured relationship with Schottenheimer - team president Dean Spanos had to wrap both parties' knuckles in an off-season meeting.

    How this meeting of the minds between Schottenheimer and Smith works out during the season is worth keeping an eye on. Schottenheimer must feel the heat in that Spanos has said he expects to go deep in the playoffs. Schottenheimer might also have a case of personal global warming in that Smith didn't hire him and describes their relationship as nothing more than professional.

    That relationship was further strained this off-season when Schottenheimer said he preferred keeping Drew Brees around instead of letting him skip off to New Orleans.

    So if the season goes sideways early, where the blame is placed will be curious to gauge. Then again, the team could make the playoffs for the second time in 11 seasons and claim its first playoff victory since 1995. If that happens, the two might become buddy-buddy.

    It is risky to predict. Just like it's foolish to speculate if Cromartie will rebound from a serious knee injury which kept him from playing last year and become a shutdown corner.

    "Any pick you make in the draft is a gamble," Schottenheimer said. "That's the way this thing is set up."


    -The Chargers signed 15 undrafted free agents, including San Diego State wide receiver Robert Ortiz. The other players were: WRs Sean Coffey (Missouri) and Mark Simmons (Kansas); QB Brett Elliott (Linfield); CBs Cletis Gordon (Jackson State), Anthony Mims (West Virginia) and Steve Gregory (Syracuse); RB Tyronne Gross (Eastern Oregon) and Bryson Sumlin (Fresno State); DE Patrick Massey (Michigan); DTs Brandon McKinney (Michigan State) and Alvin Smith (Oregon State); C Nick Mihlauser (Washington State); G Jason Murphy (Virginia Tech); FB Shawn Willis (Oklahoma State).

    -Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding has converted 41 of 49 field goals in his first two years. But his kickoffs have been weak, which forced the team to burn a sixth-round pick on K Kurt Smith of Virginia. "Our thought was if we could get a guy who could do that, we much rather have people starting at the 20-yard-line, or thereabouts, than give them the opportunity to run it back," coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "If you got a guy who can create field position for you, that's very, very important."

    -Dennis Abraham was promoted to director of pro scouting and John Spanos was named assistant director of college scouting. Abraham, 35, was the assistant director of pro scouting while Spanos, the 26-year-old son of team president Dean Spanos, was a Chargers pro and college scout.

    -ILB Tim Dobbins, the team's fourth-round pick, was miffed his name wasn't called sooner during draft weekend. "I didn't have a team in my mind, but I thought I who go earlier," he said. "This puts more fuel in the tank. I'll use it as motivation to do better than guys picked higher than me."

    -The Chargers will get their first look at their new players during rookie orientation practices during a May 13-15 mini-camp, with the veterans joining them in the final session.

    -The team's regular mini-camp, which is open to the public, will be held June 9-11.

    -The Chargers have had their stadium lease with the city of San Diego amended and are now able to speak with other San Diego County cities. On Jan. 1, the team can explore opportunities outside the county. In addition to the possibility of relocating to Los Angeles, Anaheim or Pasadena, San Antonio and Las Vegas have expressed an interest in talking to the team.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was very surprising, especially for me." - Chargers CB Antonio Cromartie, on going 19th overall in the draft despite one college start and missing last year with an injured knee.





    UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers): WR Drew Haddad.


    EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: LB Howard Hodges; RB Calvin Murray.

    PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: LB Stephen Cooper; OG Kris Dielman; S Clinton Hart; WR Kassim Osgood; DE Jacques Cesaire; LB Carlos Polk; FB Andrew Pinnock; LB Matt Wilhelm.

    PLAYERS ACQUIRED: TE Brandon Manumaleuna; S Marlon McCree; TE Aaron Shea; CB Raymond Walls; WR Rashaun Woods.

    PLAYERS LOST: QB Drew Brees; WR Reche Caldwell; CB Sammy Davis; CB Jamar Fletcher; OG Bob Hallen; LB Ben Leber; TE Justin Peelle; DE DeQuincy Scott; OL Courtney VanBuren; S Jerry Wilson.

    MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.

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