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View from the Top with Dean Spanos

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    View from the Top with Dean Spanos


    Chargers President Dean Spanos talks about the outlook for this year’s team, the uncertainty of next season and the organization’s thought process behind long-term contracts.

    The regular season is just weeks away. Your team has won four consecutive AFC West titles. What gives you hope you can win a fifth-consecutive title?

    “I would say that the most significant thing is continuity. We have the same basic core players, plus Norv has done an outstanding job as head coach the last three years. We’ve overcome some great adversity in these last three years with early injuries and tough starts, but finished strong in December. I think that says a lot about the team’s character, to overcome adversity early in the season.
    “We’ve had some great seasons, but haven’t been as successful in the playoffs, obviously, as we would have liked. I believe you learn from those experiences and get better. We just have to keep getting back into the playoffs every year. You can’t win a world championship if you’re not in the playoffs.”

    What do you think of your new running back Ryan Mathews[​IMG]?
    “He’s exciting. Watching him this summer during the offseason and now in training camp, he’s shown that he is the type of running back we’ve been looking for. He’s averaging nearly five yards a carry, and he is going to get more and more playing time as the preseason goes on. Norv and the coaching staff are very optimistic that he is the type of running back that we need on this team to help us be successful. He’s versatile, powerful and has that special burst in his legs.”

    Have any of the other new players caught your eye?
    “I like Cam Thomas[​IMG]. Nose tackle is going to be very competitive. Cam is a big, tough, aggressive guy. I’d like to see him work himself into a key role at nose tackle during the season.”

    How about the veterans we added this offseason?
    “I think (Donald) Strickland and (Nathan) Vasher both are going to bring veteran experience to this team that we need. I think both guys have shown well this preseason. Strickland looks like a playmaker.
    “And I think adding Randy McMichael[​IMG] makes this one of the best tight-end groups in the league, and (9-year veteran wide receiver) Josh Reed[​IMG] gives us another experienced player at that position.”

    What do you think of Norv’s comment that this year’s team could be the best since he’s been here?
    “Obviously it’s subjective. I think every year our team is the best team. I think Norv’s feelings are a reflection of the continuity among the players and him having been here for three years with nearly the same coaching staff. I think all that plays into Norv’s thinking. It just keeps getting better and better every year, the more you can play together while continuing to bring in talented new players. I know he really likes some of the new players that we’ve brought in.”

    He (Norv Turner) talks a lot about our team being bigger, stronger and faster. That seems to be one of his mantras this year.
    “Yes, that’s one of his themes this year … bigger, stronger, faster. It definitely seems appropriate.”

    Is there an update on the team’s efforts to build a new stadium in San Diego?
    “We’ve been focused on the downtown site. As most everybody knows, there’s a study in progress by the City of San Diego to determine if lifting the cap on the tax increment on development downtown would make sense for future development, not necessarily just for a stadium, but for infrastructure costs and other types of development for the city. That is going to be an 18-month study, but in the next six-to-nine months we’re going to get an idea of how a stadium could possibly fit down there after lifting the cap on the tax increment. Hopefully, we’ll know if it’s feasible.”

    Unfortunately, one of the two preseason games didn’t sell out and the game was blacked out locally. How are sales going for the regular season and are blackouts a possibility this year?
    “Obviously we want a stadium full of Chargers fans every week to give us the best possible home-field advantage and help us win. That’s the bottom line. Exciting football and winning. And a full stadium also allows our games to be on local TV. Unfortunately sales are down slightly from a year ago and it’s looking more and more like blackouts are a real possibility this year. We’re definitely sensitive to our fans and the economic climate out there. We’ve maintained the same ticket prices for three straight years and made our payment plans more flexible.
    “Overall we feel extremely good about the team and the exciting football our fans will see, and that’s what’s going to bring the fans out.”

    There is a lot of speculation about next season and the possibility of a labor dispute. Has that effected how you’re doing business?
    “Speaking only for the San Diego Chargers, as an owner, I am concerned about the uncertainty surrounding next year. That uncertainty extends well beyond our own league and I know that the broader economy has had a big effect on our fans and business partners. Many of them have been affected and they are anxious. As far as the football team goes, we are approaching the 2010 season the way we approach every season, which is to put a team on the field that can contend for a Super Bowl championship. And I think we’ve done that and I am very optimistic about our team. On the labor situation, we have had to work with a system that is quite different from what we have had for many years and of course we don’t know what will follow. I hope that we can reach a new agreement as soon as possible because that will be best for the clubs, the players and our fans.”

    Someone said the league’s television partners will pay the NFL in 2011 whether the season is played or not. Is that true?
    “No. It is hardly the first time that a television contract has had that type of provision in it. That goes back in my experience at least to the early 1980’s. More to the point, it is nothing more than a financing mechanism. The networks aren’t going to hand over large amounts of money to us, and if they don’t get a product [in return] tell us to go ahead and keep that money. We will have to give it back to them and take reductions about what we get from them for future years. It is no different than borrowing on a home equity line. You still have to pay it back with interest.”

    Two players – Vincent Jackson[​IMG] and Marcus McNeill[​IMG] – are not in camp and may not be for quite a while. Does that affect your outlook for the season?
    “Absolutely not. I feel great about this team … the chemistry in the locker room. I feel one of our strengths is the depth on our team. And that’s the key word … team. No individuals are above the team.”

    Within the last year, you extended large long-term contracts to Philip Rivers[​IMG] and Antonio Gates[​IMG]. What is the process that takes place in deciding which players the team signs to long-term contracts and is that possibility for Jackson and McNeill?
    “As we do with all players, the four of us (Dean Spanos, A.J. Smith, Norv Turner, Ed McGuire) get together and look at each player’s individual situation on its own merits. We take everything into account and always make our decisions based on what’s best for the organization, both short-term and long-term. As I said before, all of our decisions are based on putting a team on the field that can contend for a championship now and in the future.
    “What Marcus and Vincent should do is come into camp, sign and go to work, and let’s see how it goes from there.”
  2. Bergo23

    Bergo23 BoltTalker

    Sep 28, 2006
    Its so incredibly important for Deano to support AJ on this one...and he was loud and clear, I am not paying players who put themselves above the team.

    Would be be better with Mcneill...sure...but he has a serious long term concern with his health (given stenosis)...I understand he wants his one big pay day...but if he would have played for this year at 3.2 (still enough to feed his grill for plenty of time!)...he might already have that long term deal he covets in his bank account.

    We we have a different passing game without VJ, yes...but I like what our receiving core brings...and what Joiner has done to make them better. Remember Norv started out as a receiver coach...so they know what they have.

    The biggest thing to offset VJ and Mac is a better D and running game, the two most important formulas for winning in the playoffs (outside of staying healthy).

    I do think KC will be alot better, so we will get tested then. Hopefully by the second half when our schedule gets tougher we will have the running game in high gear and Rivera's boys gelling together.
  3. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2005

  4. ThunderHorse17

    ThunderHorse17 Lone Wolf

    Apr 10, 2010
    I agree with Dean. This is one hellova SB contending team we have put on the board this year.
  5. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2006
  6. Aggieman

    Aggieman I bleed blue and gold

    Aug 14, 2008

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