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No-nonsense tough love from Smith

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    [​IMG]


    By Nick Canepa, UNION-TRIBUNE COLUMNIST
    Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 10:11 p.m.


    A.J. Smith won't admit it — what else is new besides the cotton gin? — but the Chargers’ general manager has sent a message that isn’t exactly hidden, one he should have mailed long ago to familiar addresses. And the postage stamp on it was a hammer.
    It isn’t as though Smith cut Ronnie Lott, but when Kevin Ellison, who in 2009 started nine games at strong safety as a rookie, was pink-slipped Monday, Smith’s players and the football world got the memo. And it wasn’t a Hallmark card.
    It was more like: “You screwed up, Kevin, and lost your privilege. Hope you enjoyed your year as a Charger. Have a nice life. Don’t let the door hit you in the butt. Hugs and kisses, A.J.”
    When Ellison was busted in Redondo Beach last month, allegedly caught with his hands in the apothecary jar — police said they found 100 nonprescription Vicodin pills in his automobile — he was finished as a Charger. Head coach Norv Turner ordered him to stay away from minicamp, hardly a hearty welcome-back gesture.
    The team’s sixth-round draft choice out of USC in 2009 may have started, but it wasn’t because there were All-Pros he had to beat out. As it was, Smith used a fourth-round pick in April’s draft on safety Darrell Stuckey, whom they apparently admire.
    So Ellison became more than expendable. Maybe he would have made the team had it not been for this transgression, maybe not, but when a second-year starter gets axed before training camp, you don’t have to be Enrico Fermi to figure out the reason. If not for the arrest, no chance he’s cut before August.
    If this sort of thing had happened to Philip Rivers — that will be the day, but we all can remember when Brett Favre had a painkiller problem — the ax wouldn’t have fallen. No question. But Ellison, by all accounts not a bad kid, was a fringe starter at best, and the last thing this team needs is another player on a police blotter.
    Ellison isn’t the first athlete to have off-the-field problems during the seven years Smith has been on the bridge, and he won’t be the last. But, clearly, the GM has grown weary of phone calls informing him one of his own is in need of King Stahlman.
    There once was a time when this sort of thing — after all, what Ellison did was not a capital crime — would have been hushed up. Don’t for a second believe it didn’t happen in San Diego, as well as other NFL ports of call. But it’s hard to get away with anything anymore, not with information flying around like pollen, not with everyone carrying a camera phone playing paparazzi.
    “I don’t know anything about messages,” Smith said. “I’m not going to get involved in how you people see me in this role. We just released four players, and one was Kevin Ellison. We did our evaluation and decided to go in another direction.”
    Again, Smith won’t say it. Maybe Ellison wouldn’t have been a Charger in September, but my guess is he would be one today if not for his arrest. I have no idea if Ellison’s problem runs deeper than 100 Vicodin pills, but by cutting him now, Smith did the safety a favor.
    “It’s much more difficult making another team once training camps start,” Smith said. “This gives Kevin a chance to catch on somewhere.”
    Smith is one GM with eyes and ears everywhere. It’s not easy to slip anything past him, and when it does, it eats at him, because he knows he’s the football boss, the one responsible for investigating and recruiting player personnel.
    “We’ve had plenty of time to evaluate,” Smith says. “And there’s still time for upgrades or trades, if we feel that’s what we need to do. We are constantly evaluating everybody.”
    Truth be known, LaDainian Tomlinson’s falling out with Smith began when the GM began evaluating him in 2008 after many years when no evaluation was necessary. If that seems heartless, so be it. I believe Smith cares for his players. If he falls out of love with them, and them with him, well, he isn’t firing himself.
    “You know our criteria,” he says. “Everyone is under evaluation, on work ethic, character, performance, and how you conduct yourself on and off the field, during the season and offseason. The evaluation process is constant.”
    If anything, Smith hasn’t been tough enough on some of his players who have found trouble. Vincent Jackson is just one example. When the receiver got his second DUI, wasn’t that plenty? There’s something to “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”
    Smith should stop handing out second hall passes. Not that he has to run a priory school, but enough is enough. If these guys don’t get the message and are kept around, you can become the Bengals. Smith is a GM, not a social worker.
    “There are lots of reasons why you’re a Charger,” Smith says. “There are lots of reasons why you’re not a Charger.”
    Kevin Ellison doesn’t have to guess why he isn’t one June 23. He has a court date July 7.
     
  2. Ray Dahayder

    Ray Dahayder BoltTalker

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    I like this line:

    If these guys don’t get the message and are kept around, you can become the Bengals. Smith is a GM, not a social worker.

    exactly. We have plenty of examples of teams that spiral into the ground when they get too many of these bad apples on their team. Attitude and character are paramount. Do you think JaBustus Russell is unemployed because he's not physically and athletically gifted? His problems are his character..... Rivers is as good as he is not just because of talent but of who he is and how he approaches life and his work.

    Merriman has lost something in his play. Granted, there were injuries, but is it just coincidence that his decrease in performance coincides with his increase in outside activities and troubles?
     
  3. nickelbolt

    nickelbolt Fuggedaboutit

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    ad nauseum
     
  4. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    truer words.

    :tup:
     
  5. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure the steroids have nothing to do with it.
     
  6. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    I am also sure the hiring of Cotrell and Rivera had nothing to do with it, after all, his numbers have gone down every year since Wade left while Ware's numbers have gotten better since Wade's arrival. The defensive game plan changed once Wade left, and both Merriman and Phillips #'s were effected. Then throw in the injury, and that is a perfectly understandable explanation for Merriman's fall off. Especially since his failed roid test was 6 months before the season even started, and he had passed 21 tests up until that point, and ever test since (According to the Commish at the time)
     
  7. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

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    I like this explanation better.

    I was more trying to make the point that it isn't as black and white as Ray D was making it out to be by pointing out there could be other factors.
     
  8. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    Cool. I also don't get where people say he has outside issues. He has the Tila crap that blew over quickly when the world realized she was nuts, and he had the roid thing that is now 3-4 years old. Other than that, he has had no issues that I can remember
     
  9. Zeus

    Zeus BoltTalker

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    Ellison was one of our slowest starting safeties. He didn't contribute on special teams and would only be used really in run stopping plays. He is better than Hart, of course just about anyone is. He will find a place somewhere else, however I am unsure if he will be a starter.

    Overall he was a decent player who in a crowded roster with guys who don't get in trouble and can play special teams he didn't make the cut.
     
  10. Ray Dahayder

    Ray Dahayder BoltTalker

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    As Tiny Turner said, "What's love got to do with it?"

    Or maybe that was Michael Turner......
     
  11. sdchrger

    sdchrger Well-Known Member

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    Tiny Turner? :icon_huh:
     
  12. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Tina Turner
     
  13. sdchrger

    sdchrger Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. :lol:
     
  14. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    Tiny Tim.
     
  15. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    :lol:
     
  16. Aggieman

    Aggieman I bleed blue and gold

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    To call him attention-seeking would be quite the understatement. A self-anointed "party animal," he represents a culture that many find distracts from the game. He had a gig with Fox Sports, talks trash on twitter, and genuinely seeks attention and affection anywhere he can. People don't like that, and many think A.J. doesn't like his more nonchalant attitude that obviously goes with being so focused on off-the-field distractions. That is why plenty of fans dislike Shawne Merriman.
     
  17. LV Bolt Fan

    LV Bolt Fan Well-Known Member

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    Bull ****!

    Other than the Tia thing......When has be been in trouble with partying? I want to see facts!

    Fox was no big deal, neither is twitter unless you have a account.

    Other than his sack dance, you don't and haven't heard much about Merriman.

    I want you to put up facts or Shut Up!
     
  18. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

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    He pretended to hit someone with a Singapore cane once at a WWE pay per view!
     
  19. LV Bolt Fan

    LV Bolt Fan Well-Known Member

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    And he was there with Nick Hardwick and a couple of other players. I say we cut them all! :icon_tease:
     
  20. Holy_Bolt

    Holy_Bolt Well-Known Member

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    Except he has not risen to the level of play that is now controverial (steroid year). I have my fingers crossed that he will...but I won't hold my breath.
     
  21. LV Bolt Fan

    LV Bolt Fan Well-Known Member

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    I guess a serious knee injury had nothing to do with it? :icon_shrug:
     
  22. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    I alreqady addressed this. Go back to page one and you will see it. The Steroid thing was 6 months before the season, and even Goodall has said he had passed 21 tests prior to the failure, and every test since. If you know anything about Roids, you will know that it doesn't stay in your system, and since there is no reason to think he did it more than once, it is totally ignorant to think it had anything to do with his amazing year 6 months after the failure.

    The biggest problem was that be brought in that moron Cottrell who had him dropping into coverage nearly every play. Coincidence that once Wade left, he #'s dropped (As did Phillips) and Demarcus Ware's numbers improved drastically.

    Go back and hide under your rock, and try to look at reality instead of the BS you just feel like believing
     
  23. sdchrger

    sdchrger Well-Known Member

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    Why do you bother with football forums when you are so locked in an opinion that you are completely closed to any other perspectives?

    Don't you think just for a moment that Merriman's dramatic drop in producition could be the result of multiple factors?

    Personally, I believe that changing defensive schemes from Wade, to fat Teddy, to Rivera have played a part.

    I also think that his injury was a major factor. I also think that he made the choice to skip surgery right after the season and that choice cost us him for the entire 2008 season. It was a selfish choice that hurt the team.

    I also think his focused has changed. His first two years he was a football player and only a football player. More recently, it is very clear that he enjoys the spotlight and has gone "Hollywood" to an extent.

    As to his suspension and possible use of performance enhancing drugs, no one here know what the truth is. To state your opinion as fact is both ignorant as irresponsible. My opinion based upon the available facts is that Merriman was on performance enhancing drugs. The key factors that lead me to that conclusion are that you either believe Shawne's explanation or you do not. The tainted supplement excuse has been used for years across many different sports and I have yet to see when it has been validated with factual information. In addition, Shawne stated himself that he was going to work to clear his name and reputation but to my knowledge he did nothing of the sort. Secondly, it's been well documented that a player can beat the tests and the program if so inclined David Boston gained 40 pounds of muscle without testing positive and everyone with two eyes knew he was on the juice. Lastly, all other factors included, Merriman is nowhere near the physical force that he once was. Even when he wasn't making a play, he was blowing up players almost every down. He would go thru 330lb tackles and blow up running backs. I haven't seen that player in years.

    I don't even know why I'm bothering since I already know that your response will be myopic and lacking in reason.
     
  24. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    I absolutely do think it could be multiple reasons, steroids are just not one, and based on everything that is known, there is no way roids was a factor. When you pop for roids in April, and the season doesn't start until Sept, science proves that the effects of roids on the body would be well out of the system in the 5 month period between his popped test, and the 1st game.

    I don't exactly is the reason for his drop off, I just know it wasn't roids, and that is all I am pointing out. People that keep saying roids are just completely ignorant to the facts.

    The only fact you know is that he did roids once, since he passed 21 tests prior to that failure, and every test since. So to say he "was on roids" is ignorant.
     

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