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Time for Spanos to ‘flex’ on Smith

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Jan 23, 2009.

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  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    By Michael Silver - Yahoo sports


    As the acerbic and autocratic general manager of the San Diego Chargers, A.J. Smith is a man consumed by his own power.

    Sometimes Smith gets to flex, like he did on the night nearly two years ago when the coach he detested, Marty Schottenheimer, was fired by Chargers CEO Dean Spanos after having led San Diego to a 14-2 record. From that point on, the Chargers were Smith’s show, and he made sure everybody knew it.

    On Wednesday, however, Smith disrespected the wrong dude.

    Responding to a relatively benign statement by LaDainian Tomlinson on the star halfback’s website that he has “NO intentions of leaving San Diego,” Smith brazenly mocked the most beloved player in franchise history.

    Mimicking LT’s quote almost word for word, Smith told the San Diego Union-Tribune, “My first reaction was we both have similar feelings. I have no intentions of leaving San Diego. San Diego is where my GM career started and where I’d like it to end. I also have nothing but love and the utmost respect for this team, the players and the Spanos family. I have absolutely no control over how long I will be with the Chargers.

    “As for now, I am the Chargers’ GM, and I have major decisions to ponder for the organization now and in the future. My recommendation to Dean Spanos will be what’s in the best interest of the team – both short and long term. That’s my job. That’s what Dean hired me to do.”

    To which I say: Did Spanos also hire Smith to be the biggest pompous *** in the Western Hemisphere?

    Make no mistake: Deciding whether Tomlinson will remain with the Chargers, at least privately, is part of Smith’s job. Snidely tweaking LT in public, whether it’s an attempt to bait him into asking for a trade or simply a glimpse into Smith’s power-mad psyche, is part of the reason his job should be in jeopardy.

    It leads you to believe that A.J. stands for Antagonistic Jerk.

    Certainly, the debate about Tomlinson’s future with the Chargers is a legitimate one. His 2009 cap figure is $8.8 million, and at the start of next season he’ll be 30, an age when premier running backs typically start to decline. Given his drop-off in production and recent propensity for injuries, it’s fair to ask whether that process has already begun.

    LT’s numbers were down in 2008, partly because of a nagging toe injury, and also because the Chargers, under Norv Turner, have moved away from the power-running attack favored by Schottenheimer. He has been restricted in each of the past two postseasons because of a knee sprain and groin tear, respectively.

    Further impacting the decision is the fact that San Diego, which allowed halfback Michael Turner to leave via free agency a year ago, only to watch him emerge as an MVP candidate for the Atlanta Falcons, seems to have another potential star in scatback Darren Sproles, whose contract is also about to expire.

    The franchise could decide to ask Tomlinson, who has three years left on his contract, to take a pay cut. Or it could try to trade him. If those efforts fail, the Chargers may decide that cutting the future Hall of Famer after eight seasons is the best option.

    Personally, that’s not an option I would choose, but I can understand its logic. However, embarrassing and antagonizing the halfback who was voted the NFL’s co-Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2006 – the same season he was voted the league’s MVP after rushing for 1,815 yards and scoring a record 31 touchdowns – is deplorable.
    It’s also a strategy that is liable to backfire.

    Because of Tomlinson’s commendable comportment as a player and his impeccable off-the-field conduct, he is revered by a fan base that isn’t likely to respond positively to Smith’s diss. For supporters of a franchise that has never won a Super Bowl and has played for the Lombardi Trophy only once, LT’s accomplishments and classy reputation serve as an immense source of pride.

    Tomlinson is similarly popular in the locker room, and his recent attempts to play through a painful groin injury – he even ran for a touchdown in the team’s first-round playoff victory over the Indianapolis Colts before giving way to Sproles, who came through with the game of his life – have only enhanced his status.

    You have to give respect to get respect, and how much respect do you think Smith’s players have for him right now? If he can treat someone of LT’s stature this rudely, it stands to reason, the rest of them have a pretty good idea of what might await them when they become the least bit expendable.

    Smith’s attitude, undoubtedly, is something along the lines of, I’m the boss. Who cares?

    The thing is, his boss should care. In this economy, Spanos doesn’t have the luxury of not caring.

    The Chargers are a franchise stuck in an unfavorable stadium situation, and there is plenty of tension between the team and the city of San Diego, which recently filed a $170,000 breach of contract suit against the organization. The Chargers managed to sell out Qualcomm Stadium for their playoff game against the Colts, but up until three days before the game they were no sure bet to avoid an embarrassing local blackout.

    Working over the face of the franchise isn’t the best way to win over the paying customers – especially given the dubious credentials of the perpetrator. While Smith has shown an aptitude for evaluating personnel, he’s also the guy who, arguably, has overseen a franchise on the decline. The Chargers followed that 14-2 season in ’06 with a 10-6 effort in ’07 and this year’s 8-8 mark. Playoff upsets of the Colts in each of the past two years took some of the sting out of that disturbing pattern, but the bottom line is that San Diego was an unsuccessful onside kick recovery away from missing out on the ’08 postseason.

    Again, Smith has made some shrewd draft picks and free-agent signings, but it’s not like we’re talking about the second coming of Bill Walsh. The longtime scout was promoted to general manager in 2003 after the death of his boss and mentor, John Butler, and he carries himself like a man who is football royalty.

    In reality, as a pair of writers who regularly cover the Chargers (North County Times columnist Jay Paris and Bernie Wilson of the Associated Press) have dubbed him, Smith is “The Lord of No Rings.”

    We saw this season that Smith seems to have undervalued All-Pro outside linebacker Shawne Merriman (currently the sixth-highest paid player on the defense, and not happy about it). Even his most conspicuous success, the ’04 draft-day trade for quarterback Philip Rivers, comes with a caveat: Smith allowed Drew Brees, now a perennial Pro Bowl performer for the Saints, to bolt via free agency, getting zero compensation in return.

    As I wrote back in December, Smith has been too quick to sign unproven players to contract extensions, a self-serving tendency that may have chipped away at the team’s collective competitive drive.
    If I’m Spanos, a genial and reasonable man, I’d use this opportunity to take a hard look at where things are with the franchise. And even if I were to conclude that Smith is an excellent talent-evaluator, I’d still view him as an atrocious manager.

    It’s not like Smith is the only guy who can effectively judge football players. If Spanos wants a guy who knows personnel and has a concept of how to treat people – and how to represent the franchise with dignity – there are plenty of ways he could go. There are men who meet that description inside the franchise (player personnel director Jimmy Raye, senior executive Randy Mueller) and outside of it (Cardinals player personnel director Steve Keim, Falcons player personnel director Les Snead, just to name two great candidates off the top of my head).

    Two years ago, when Schottenheimer and Smith were no longer on speaking terms and the franchise was reeling from a playoff defeat to the Patriots, Spanos stepped in to restore order. Flummoxed after both of Schottenheimer’s coordinators (Wade Phillips and Cam Cameron) were hired away as head coaches, and put off by Marty’s desire to bring in his brother, Kurt, as Phillips’ replacement, Spanos made the tough call to get rid of a coach who’d just produced the best regular season in franchise history and was 35-13 over three years.

    In a statement released by the team after the firing, Spanos was remarkably blunt, stating, “In the plainest possible language, we have a dysfunctional situation here. Today I am resolving that situation once and for all …”

    Now Smith is involved in another situation that, because of his inability to shut his pie hole, is rapidly degenerating toward dysfunction. Gee, what seems to be the common denominator here?

    It doesn’t matter anymore what the smart football decision is, for this has become a battle of egos playing out in the public realm, and only one of the principals has been smart enough to keep a lid on his emotions.
    At a tenuous time for the franchise, it’s A.J. vs. LT that has the fans buzzing. By trying to prove he’s more powerful than Tomlinson, to the point of humiliation, Smith is tarnishing the Chargers brand.

    Because of that, Spanos should assess the damage Smith is causing, summon him to his office and flex his power.

    Whatever the team decides to do with Tomlinson, giving Smith a swift and severe attitude adjustment is absolutely in the best interest of the Chargers.
     
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  2. Ride The Lightning

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

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    Michael Silver hates the Chargers. I stopped reading as soon as I saw his name.

    Biased jackass is biased.
     
  3. 17Rocks

    17Rocks Well-Known Member

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    :icon_eek:YIKES!! that one's gotta sting...
     
  4. Showmeyourbolt

    Showmeyourbolt Well-Known Member

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    Make Marty GM and fire AJ
     
  5. Ride The Lightning

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

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    Why, so we can resign Tamarack Vanover and let dudes like Welker get away?

    WORST. IDEA. EVER.
     
  6. nickelbolt

    nickelbolt Fuggedaboutit

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    You forgot the :icon_tease: at the end there...


    So Silver hates Smith? Wow. Shocking news.
     
  7. boltmanbz

    boltmanbz Well-Known Member

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    and dont forget cut seau and harrison and pick sammie davis over troy p, all the above marty has admitted to lol

    BTW im with you as soon as i saw Silver i knew it was going to be Garbage! even Scott and BR called him out on radio made him look like a dumb ***
     
  8. Boltage Bimbo

    Boltage Bimbo Well-Known Member

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    Sorry if you can't deal with the truth RTL. I usually don't like what Silver writes either but this time he's right.

    AJ's skill for finding talent is beyond compare, of that there is no doubt. But in the last 3-5 years his ego has has cost this team dearly. Marty spent 5 years of blood, sweat and tears to make that team come together at 14-2 and the next year would have went all the way if not for one thing: AJ's giant ego.

    Now this, directly mocking the star player that has been instrumental in getting his team this far. Are you kidding me? You want to talk about lack of professionalism, not to mention just plain childish. Spanos needs to put one very large boot up AJ's butt at the very least.

    It's time AJ finally did what's best for this team and put his ego on hold. Otherwise, that Lombardi will forever remain out of reach as long as he's in charge.:yes:
     
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  9. Ride The Lightning

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

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    Deal with the truth?

    :lol:

    Ok.

    :lol:
     
  10. StocktonBoltFan

    StocktonBoltFan BoltTalker

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    there is no doubt AJ overstepped his boundary here, even if its a forgone conclusion we let LT go, you keep your mouth shut and make sure LT is the first one to know whats going on. Time and time again AJ proves he can't be the better man and not bite when one of these reports comes to him for an article. And the past 3 drafts have sucked anyways, besides the rivers trade what has he done lately? And don't forget Buddy Nix had alot to do with the scouting that some people praise AJ for.
     
  11. Kwak

    Kwak ....

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    Yeah, I saw Silvers name and knew the piece was going to trash some aspect of the chargers.

    Dude really has a hard-on for AJ.
     
  12. Kwak

    Kwak ....

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    Marty was a great teacher, but as a game coach and especially playoff games, he was a failure. His .25 winning percentage speaks volumes.

    He let the coaching staff get raided (aside from the OC and DC, which you can't refuse if going for HC jobs). He wanted to bring in his under qualified brother as DC. He brought his departure on himself.
     
  13. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    Unless someone can show me an avaliable GM who can do what AJ has done, then bugger off. He's the best GM we can ask for and has built this team. That the writer and others have problems with AJ is their own problem
     
  14. nickelbolt

    nickelbolt Fuggedaboutit

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    Check out Ant gettin' all "bangers n mash" on us!!! :lol:
     
  15. Boltage Bimbo

    Boltage Bimbo Well-Known Member

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    Since when is 200/126 record a failure? There isn't a working coach right now that even comes close to that. It wasn't his play calling that lost those games, it was the players not executing them properly. (Not to mention the Patriots cheating...)

    As far as the coaching staff goes, they obviously wanted to go or they wouldn't have gone. Marty was smart enough to see that you don't want people working for you that don't want to be there. They have bad attitudes and produce crappy results, let 'em go.

    The only way he brought on his own departure was by refusing to be AJ's personal butt kisser. That's why he brought in Norvacaine, to numb his hemorrhoids for him while he kissed his butt.:yes:
     
  16. Ride The Lightning

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

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    5-13
     
  17. nflhof

    nflhof BoltTalker

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    I think Silver and Simers are sharing an apartment in Hillcrest now. They have FATHEADS of Marty and Al Davis on their shared Bedroom wall.

    Can't they please just go away and write about the Raiders and Broncos.:lol:
     
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  18. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    :lol: :yes: :tup: :icon_toast:
     
  19. nickelbolt

    nickelbolt Fuggedaboutit

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    Spanos may be the one to ensure that LT stays with the Chargers, but he ain't gonna taint AJs reputation as a hard ***.

    He trusts AJ. AJ told him to get rid of Marty if he wants to win playoff games.

    THE END
     
  20. SD Native WY

    SD Native WY Well-Known Member

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    I agree with some all that's been said so far..........Bottom line
    AJ needs STFU and be Professional with his statements! :yes: AJ's ego is out of control.
     
  21. Boltage Bimbo

    Boltage Bimbo Well-Known Member

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    At least he got his team there. There are only a handful of coaches (less than 5) working now that have even seen the playoffs 18 times or more. 18 playoff games in a 21 seasons, only 8 out of 21 seasons did he not make the playoffs.

    AJ's ego has gotten way out of control and Norv is not the answer.:no:
     
  22. Boltage Bimbo

    Boltage Bimbo Well-Known Member

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    Yeah just look how well we're doing with Norvacaine...

    NOT!:no:
     
  23. nickelbolt

    nickelbolt Fuggedaboutit

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    I know... it's awful... 3 playoff wins in two years with Norv.

    NO PLAYOFF WINS EVER WITH MARTY.

    Pretty awful. :lol:
     
  24. SD Native WY

    SD Native WY Well-Known Member

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    There are many reason we ie Marty didn't win in his last year in the playoffs #1 is injuries. Was that his fault. I am not a Marty lover nor hater but he was successful in his last season IMO.
     
  25. Boltergeist

    Boltergeist BoltTalker

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    Silver is right on the money with this one. A GM that has become so egotistcal that he can't wait to spout off at every opportunity to the media and rip his own players should be called out.

    SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE AJ!!!
     
  26. Kwak

    Kwak ....

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    PLAYOFFS. We all know what a great REGULAR season coach he is.

    I wasn't talking about the regular season.

    His **** gets all tight when he is under pressure. The Playoffs.
     
  27. nickelbolt

    nickelbolt Fuggedaboutit

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    STOP
     
  28. nflhof

    nflhof BoltTalker

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    Marty is freaking out because he wanted out. Can't we just let him go? Marty did a good job in SD, KC and Cleveland. He is on the Sirius radio now, sitting by the phone waiting for LT to call and help him with his next move. He failed in the playoffs because he was soft, and he plays to his favorites and that shows his weakness. Marty's weak a** game is gone. AJ is consistant and shows no weakness' and he will relent to only one man DEAN! :bolt::bolt::bolt::bolt:
     
  29. LV Bolt Fan

    LV Bolt Fan Well-Known Member

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    Maybe you can explain to me, how Norv is a puppet for AJ Smith in the thread I started. Nobody else seem's to be able to. :icon_shrug:
     
  30. Kwak

    Kwak ....

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    Who was injured in that loss to the Pats in SD? :icon_huh:
     
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