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PARIS: Smith has work to do, questions to answer

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by sdbound, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. sdbound

    sdbound Well-Known Member

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    By JAY PARIS - jparis@nctimes.com | Posted: February 28, 2010 11:17 pm

    [​IMG]

    For the last six years, Chargers general manager A.J. Smith has addressed the media after the season. But he decided to cancel the session this year. (NCT file photo)

    Scout's honor -- the old one has some work to do.

    Chargers general manager A.J. Smith cut his NFL teeth while carting a clipboard and stopwatch. He ascended the executive ranks by learning quickly the value of a solid evaluation.

    So with Smith and his Chargers posse at the scouting combine in Indianapolis, they need to be keen. Because Smith's touch on his last four first-round picks has been one of misses instead of Midas.

    Smith's tag of the "Lord of No Rings" was solidified after he plucked Larry English, Antoine Cason, Buster Davis and Antonio Cromartie off the board. While English's resume is still to be determined, the other three have been as disappointing as desirous.

    That's among the reasons why Smith has a long wish list inside Lucas Oil Stadium with his team springing leaks across the roster.

    The backfield is in motion -- out of town, with LaDainian Tomlinson kicked out and pending free agent Darren Sproles soon having his tires kicked by prospective employers.

    Cromartie is being shopped like a used car with chipped paint and a questionable motor.

    Tight end Brandon Manumaleuna, a free agent, could be reunited in Chicago with Mike Martz, his former coach with the St. Louis Rams who's now the Bears' offensive coordinator.

    Wide receiver Malcom Floyd could flee; special-teams ace Kassim Osgood probably will.

    The return of aged nose tackle Jamal Williams is uncertain. The right guard spot, a position the Chargers have been trying to upgrade annually, is a mystery.

    All good issues to discuss with the Lord of No Rings. Too bad he canceled his annual state of the Chargers session with the media, which he held for the last six years before the start of the new NFL calendar in early March.

    In a sense, Smith is acting like two of his players did after the playoff loss to the New York Jets in January. When it came time for linebacker Shaun Phillips (who head-butted a Jets player) and Vincent Jackson (who kicked a replay review flag and being in handcuffs before the game) to stand tall and down their medicine like men, these two school kids sneaked out the back door.

    Say this about Nate Kaeding -- he couldn't kick that day, but he answered postgame questions like a true pro.

    But Smith doesn't like having his feet put to the fire -- especially with cameras rolling. He decided that carving out 45 minutes to stare into a red light wasn't worth his time. That the fans' best link to the Chargers' brain trust can be short-circuited because Smith said so.

    It's clear that Smith would rather avoid hard-hitting inquiries, much like Cromartie avoids ball-carriers.

    Smith did agree to meet with certain media members individually, but he declined my request through a team spokesman.

    That leaves me wondering how the Lord of No Rings would answer the following questions:

    -- Did you notice that Tomlinson thanked nearly everyone with Chargers ties in his exit speech, except for Smith and coach Norv Turner?

    -- How could you have allocated some $13 million to running backs, only to have the Chargers rank near the bottom of the league in every rushing category?

    -- Philip Rivers is clearly a premier quarterback, but how did you settle for only a third-round draft pick as compensation for Drew Brees, who's one of the NFL's elite players and recently led the New Orleans Saints to their first Super Bowl title?

    -- How did you construct a defense that wasn't physical and was lacking all season? We get it -- Williams got hurt. Big deal. Name one Chargers defender who's considered a blow-up-the-ball-carrier type? I don't call any NFL player soft, but the Chargers' defense is better suited for two-hand touch.

    -- Will you retain Cromartie? If he went two-hand touch on the Jets' Shonn Greene in the playoffs, that would have been an improvement. It's tackle football, and Smith burned the 19th overall pick on a player who treats running backs as if they have leprosy.

    -- Do you realize how ridiculous you sound when you play the character card every year, how you brag of a roster that's nearly filled with more characters than character: Cromartie, Phillips, Jackson, Shawne Merriman, and the list goes on?

    -- What about Kaeding? There's not a nicer man, but he's not paid to be the second coming of Gandhi. How about bringing back John Carney as a kicking consultant, and if Kaeding falters, Carney is in place?

    -- Has the hiring of Turner worked? Is this team closer to a Super Bowl title after three years under Turner than when he took over a 14-2 squad? We were told that Turner's strength was excelling where Marty Schottenheimer couldn't -- in the playoffs. But Turner has lost three of his last four playoff games; he's 3-3 with the Chargers. Where is the progress, and why did Turner receive such a lengthy contract extension?

    Questions, questions, questions. Unfortunately, the Lord of No Rings is tone deaf when I ring him.

    Just maybe, he'll return from the land of the Indianapolis 500 with an improved plan for a team going around in circles: good in the regular season, a car wreck in the playoffs.
     
  2. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    Pro Football 2010 Draft Guide (Ok, dorky I know but its 7 bucks) and it has an article studying the draft success of a 5 year period 2004 draft through 2008 draft.

    It breaks it down into three categories and takes all drafted players and Breaks em into a percentage.

    For the chargers the findings were the following

    % still on 09 Opening Day Roster: 55.3%. 4th Best in the League

    % of which were starters: 34.2%. 2nd Best in the League only to the Giants (36.4%)

    % of which were Pro Bowlers: 18.4%. Best in the League. Next best is New York Jets at 13%. This means that roughly one out of every 5 players drafted by the bolts will be a Pro Bowler.
     
  3. Brundlefly

    Brundlefly Well-Known Member

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    This guy seems like an idiot.
     
  4. MasterOfPuppets

    MasterOfPuppets Charger fan since 1979

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    can you say "butthurt" ?

    does a sports "journalist" (using the term loosely) really need someone to explain to him that Brees was a FA with a very bad shoulder injury, that ONLY the saints wanted him, and in order to get something for him they would have to franchise tag him (which could have scared the saints away)

    in conclusion, this guy is a whinny little hack
     
  5. Scott the Rock

    Scott the Rock BoltTalker

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    Lord of no rings!!:icon_rofl:
     
  6. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    I guess AJ hurt his feelings by not talking to him... :lol:
     
  7. vmax

    vmax BoltTalker

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    This is a terribly written article, does this guy really do this for a living?
     
  8. szarmes

    szarmes I am the Walrus

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    I really hope AJ drafts at least 2 quality RBs in this draft..
     
  9. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

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    All my bias aside, I must agree. The writer makes some looong reaches to blame AJ, and is jumping to a lot of worst case scenarios for the future.
     
  10. Ride The Lightning

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

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    Any writer who brings up Brees 4 years after the fact is just grinding an ax.
     
  11. Savage Lizard

    Savage Lizard Charger fan at 7000'

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    Really? :icon_shrug:
     
  12. coachmarkos

    coachmarkos BoltTalker

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    I actually stopped taking it seriously right here:

    Did you guys know the right guard spot is a mystery? and that we've been trying to upgrade it annually?

    Here I thought we had veteran Mike Goff there for several years, until he was released and then drafted his replacement in Vasquez who started every game except the two he was injured?

    The guy is simply trying to find fault. It's pretty poor journalism.
     
  13. scratchnz

    scratchnz BoltTalker

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    ..and yet we have nothing to show for it!! ..nothing!:icon_shrug:
     
  14. scratchnz

    scratchnz BoltTalker

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    did it not occur..even for a moment..that maybe some of the reasons are justified?

    I dont agreee with everything in the article, but alot of it certainly rings true to me.

    AJ is going to have to prove his detractors wrong this year...otherwise its his head!
     
  15. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    He starts a 5 year contract this year, so he isn't going anywhere no matter how much people call for his head.

    But I do hope he does better this draft and gets more immediate impact
     
  16. Savage Lizard

    Savage Lizard Charger fan at 7000'

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    And do you think that is because of a lack of talent? Because if it isn't a lack of talent, then you're barking up the wrong tree.
     
  17. Kwak

    Kwak ....

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    Wow Paris has a major case of butt hurt. AJ didn't lube him up like he does Acee.

    Some of those same things in those articles have been the subject of a few rockhead posts around this and other message boards.
     
  18. Scott the Rock

    Scott the Rock BoltTalker

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    Yes really. Dude, after year after year of so close, almost and heartbreak since I was a kid, you just have to laugh about it. I want a ring just as bad as anyone. I actually had tears in my eyes after the loss to the pats in 06. I hope AJ proves him wrong. He does have a lot of holes to fill. More so I think he has to slap these players into men and see if they can search for greatness within their own skin.
     
  19. Cheapseats

    Cheapseats Loud, proud Charger fan

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    That sure did read like a "sky is falling" piece. The Chargers are close...and have been for a couple of years now. The GM has no control over age and injuries, but he definitely has work to do: plug the holes with talented players who want to win and get rid of players who are just partying and pulling a check. I would not panic if we went D-line first in the draft, quality linemen in a 3-4 defense are hard to come by. This draft appears to be pretty deep in quality running backs and I believe we can get someone that can either move the pile or go around it in the second or third round. I think we will be fine, AJ hits more than he misses on personnel issues. It should be fun to watch.
     
  20. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    Please go back and read this again. Most (not all) of these are valid points. He does take a couple of jabs at AJ but I see nothing wrong or incorrect with the rest of it. :icon_shrug:
     
  21. coachmarkos

    coachmarkos BoltTalker

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    respectfully disagree, but the statement about the right guard is completely inaccurate.
     
  22. Dublin Bolt

    Dublin Bolt BoltTalker

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    I thought the exact same thing as you. Vasquez is our right guard for next 6 yrs.
     
  23. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    And Goff was for the previous 5 years where he played very well.
     
  24. Kwak

    Kwak ....

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    Maybe it was the 3rd grade tone of the article and the "whaa" he won't return my calls ****.
     
  25. scratchnz

    scratchnz BoltTalker

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    You tell me what the problem is?

    If it isn't lack of talent...maybe its coaching?

    Its bound to be one of the other..isn't it? Which one are you going to hang your hat on, cos either way the blame rests with AJ...he brought in the players and he brought in the coaching regime!
     
  26. Savage Lizard

    Savage Lizard Charger fan at 7000'

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    Maybe it's just that our players are idiots at the worst possible time. :icon_shrug:

    People like to take shots at A.J. and Norv, but to me it just seems lazy and agenda driven.

    I have been a Chargers fan for a long damn time, and I am very pleased with the job A.J. Smith has done. Would I be happier if we won the Super Bowl? Of course! But I think this whole "we didn't win the Super Bowl, so A.J. Smith sucks" line of reasoning is silly.
     

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