Tag:A.J. Smith
Posted on: November 28, 2011 8:59 am
Edited on: November 28, 2011 1:55 pm

Chargers season has 'snowballed out of control'

V. Jackson sits in dejection as Denver beat San Diego (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Slightly lost in the bright light emanating off Tim Tebow and his teammates in Denver’s overtime win against San Diego on Sunday was the fact the Chargers lost their sixth-straight contest after a 4-1 start.

That means they most likely can forget about making the playoffs, and coach Norv Turner can forget about coaching next season in San Diego. That means general manager A.J. Smith’s job also might be in danger.

So, what the hell went wrong with this team (aside from Sunday’s Tebowing experience)? Could be just plain old stupidity.

“We do the dumbest (stuff),” Shaun Phillips screamed out loud after the game, via the San Diego Union Tribune. “I’ve never been on a team that does the dumbest (stuff) all the time.”

And the worst part of that is …?

“It comes at the worst times,” left tackle Brandyn Dombrowski said. “… We’re killing ourselves.”

Remember, the Chargers actually took a 10-0 lead vs. Denver and looked decent enough in the early part of the game, and you had to figure that if they built a big lead, the Broncos would have to rely on their passing game -- which, as we know, is hardly their biggest strength.

Even though Tebow didn’t complete his first pass until late in the first half, the Chargers couldn’t take enough of an advantage and build up a big enough lead. Plus, they kept making those same silly mistakes that have plagued them all the way to a 4-7 record.

Or as Phillips said, “We keep doing the same old caca, then you’re going to keep getting caca.”

But credit goes to Philip Rivers, the quarterback in the league who’s had the most disappointing year, for the best quote of the day about the state of his team.

“It’s just snowballed out of control,” Philip Rivers said. “… There’s nothing I can say to make it sound good. It’s about as bad as it gets.”

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Posted on: September 28, 2011 5:04 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 5:12 pm

Stop me if you've heard this: Bob Sanders to IR

B. Sanders was placed on the IR list by San Diego (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

When the Chargers signed safety Bob Sanders to a one-year deal in March, this was the reaction from general manager A.J. Smith: "We have always held him in high regard. He's a smart, physical, instinctive player. His intensity and playmaking ability can make an immediate impact on our defense."

Smith, though, forgot this caveat: “… When Bob is, you know, healthy.”

Which he hasn’t been for much of his career and which he’s not right now, as the Chargers proved today when they placed Sanders on the Injured Reserve List while signing former Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris, a three-time Pro Bowler who was cut by the Colts in the preseason.

Sanders seemed on his way to having a nice bounceback year -- I, sigh, put him on the Top Ten list of comeback player of the year award possibilities -- recording 12 tackles through the first two games of the season. But he missed last week with a knee injury. And though it sounded only two days ago like the swelling in his knee would keep him out only a short time, that diagnosis apparently changed.

"My career is not really about showing people how tough I can be," Sanders said earlier this week. "I've been down that road. Right now, I'm just trying to be smart."

And now he’s gone for the season.

“All we wished for Bob was good health and hoped to turn him loose to do his thing, which was being one great, physical, highly-competitive player,” Smith said in a statement. “It didn’t work out for him or us, and we wish him the very best. He was with us a very short time, but made a positive impact with our team in many ways, and I’ll always appreciate that.”

Where can Sanders possibly go from here? It’s impossible to answer because the guy is never healthy. After this season, he’ll have played only 48 of 128 possible games in his eight-year career, and you have to wonder if another team will take a chance on a player who’s never participated in a full NFL season.

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Posted on: April 21, 2011 3:50 pm
Edited on: April 21, 2011 3:53 pm

Hot Routes 4.21.11: Who will replace Brady?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • The National Football Post’s Andrew Brandt thinks Roger Goodell’s letter from last month to the players is beginning to work (as far as dividing and conquering the NFLPA goes). But Brandt also points out there could be cracks in the owners’ foundation at some point as well.
  • Yesterday, we told you about a report that there was a major internal rift in the NFLPA and that as many as 70 mid-tier players have broken away from the trade association and signed on with another law firm so they can have a seat at the negotiating table. Well, the Biz of Football refutes that story. 
  • The roof repair for the Metrodome is underway (with a cool pic, as well).
  • Who loves crepes? Former Patriots LB Matt Chatham apparently. Chatham is opening a crepe restaurant where he will attempt to market the thin, delicious pancake-like meal into an everyman food. The name of the restaurant? Skycrepers, of course.
  • Chargers GM A.J. Smith, welcome to the hot seat. The awesome response from Smith: “I have a small fan under my desk that cools down my seat and makes it tolerable so I can work. I have a refrigerator right here, and if it gets really hot, I leave the door open for about 20 minutes. Between the two of ’em, I get by.”
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Posted on: April 3, 2011 2:34 pm

Offseason Checkup: San Diego Chargers

Posted by Will Brinson


Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups.

2010 was a weird year for the San Diego Chargers. They had all the tools necessary to contend for a Super Bowl, and in a season when parity reigned supreme, that should have equated with success. It didn't, though, because the San Diego got off to one of its patented slow starts, performed epically horrible on special teams, and couldn't close out inferior teams.

Statistically, though, it was all there. Philip Rivers was a machine on offense, piling up big stats despite throwing to guys like Legadu Naanee, Patrick Crayton, Randy McMichael and Seyi Ajirotutu. Part of what got those A-listers on the top of the Bolts' receiving stats was injuries (well, most was injuries), and part was the holdout of Vincent Jackson. Oh yes, and Mike Tolbert -- just like everyone expected -- was the team's leading rusher.

Defensively, San Diego thrived despite not having an elite pass-rushing presence. In fact, just like on offense, they were the No. 1-ranked team in the league. And yet, again, no playoffs. It's a really odd conundrum, frankly, and it's either a really weird fluke or it's indicative of a bigger problem within the organization. Given the Chargers' typically annual success, the jury's still out on the latter, but another slow start and sloppy manner of missing the playoffs could change that in 2011.

Special Teams, Depth

It's not all that hard to pinpoint the problems for the Chargers in 2010. Pretty clearly, special teams cost them a couple of wins and therefore a shot at the postseason (plus, likely a divisional title). 

Of course, fixing special teams is much easier than, say, fixing a giant hole at quarterback, and it's entirely possible that with the right personnel moves, the Chargers will be fine in that area in 2011. In fact, once some veterans were plugged into the special teams unit, San Diego was much better at the third leg of football than it was earlier in the year. (At that point, though, it was just too late.) 

Perhaps the bigger problem for the Chargers in 2011 will be the status of certain players. Vincent Jackson was franchised, but depending on how the CBA shakes out, he could be gone. It seems somewhat reasonable that he's around for one more year. Malcolm Floyd could be out the door as well, meaning the Chargers' depth at wide receiver could be crushed back to late-last-year levels. If Kevin Burnett, Stephen Cooper, Eric Weddle, Jacques Cesaire, Travis Johnson leave, the defense is going to take a hit too. It's part of the problem with the way A.J. Smith built the team -- if the labor negotiations don't favor the league, San Diego's depth suffers.

1. Defensive End
As might have been said 5,000 times in these previews thus far, it's a pretty good year to need depth at defensive line. So it wouldn't be surprising at all to see the Chargers nab a defensive end with their first-round pick. J.J. Watt, Cameron Jordan and Adrian Clayborn are all highly likely/possible picks for San Diego at No. 18.

2. Linebacker
Shaun Phillips had a monster year in 2010, but San Diego needs to beef up their linebacking corps, unless they actually think that Larry English can end up performing to his first-round expectations. (And, speaking of which, not exactly a great last pair of years in the first round for A.J. Smith, huh? Ryan Mathews and Larry English aren't exactly justifying their top-20 status.) English could still justify the selection, but there's some serious talent that would fit San Diego's scheme in guys like Robert Quinn, Akeem Ayers and Ryan Kerrigan, the latter two of whom should fall to 18 pretty easily. Quinn's a guy that would be a steal at 18 and could also be a trade-up target for Smith if hops up the board again in 2011.

3. Wide Receiver
Talk about an up-in-the-air position for the Bolts: if Jackson and Floyd end up leaving, they're going to need some serious help here. Buster Davis isn't going to pan out and while Antonio Gates should technically qualify as "depth" at wideout, having Naanee and Ajirotutu as the top receiving options just isn't going to cut it. Smith and Norv Turner know they can have success with less than elite talent, though, so seeing them take a wideout with an early pick would be a bit surprising.

Look, the Chargers are capable of winning it all in 2011. Statistics don't mean everything (obviously), but if a team is the top offensive AND defensive team, it means there's enough talent on the roster to bring home the Lombardi Trophy. Living up to the lofty expectations this franchise has set for the past few years in 2011 will require two things: not making simple mistakes and actually remembering that football starts in September.

It would help, too, for the Bolts to address some of their defensive needs as well. And for their last two first-rounders -- English and Mathews -- to play up to their potential. Should all of that happen in 2011 and the Chargers don't win the division and/or at least make a run to the playoffs, it's entirely possible that Norv Turner's job could be on the line once again. At this point, there's no viable reason for a team with this much success -- statistically speaking -- not to be converting their high-end performance into more wins.

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Posted on: March 21, 2011 4:30 pm

Hot Routes 3.21.11 workouts and lockouts

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

  • The Panthers will be on hand for Georgia wideout A.J. Green’s pro day. Probably wise not to read too much into that. Green is impressive, but being drafted first overall?

  • Surly Chargers GM A.J. Smith wanted to be part of the labor negotiations, but his request was quickly denied by the NFL.

  • Jeff Blumb has resigned from his position of PR Director of the Packers. This comes just days after fellow Super Bowl XLV PR Director Dave Lockett of the Steelers resigned.

  • Tiki Barber is coming back to the NFL because he (ahem) loves the game. Many have speculated that the soon-to-be 36-year-old running back could join his twin brother Ronde in Tampa Bay.TBO.com says forget it.

  • Bears president Ted Phillips is very honest about the team’s sloppy grass field. He says, “frankly, it’s been part of our home-field advantage.”

  • Pat Yasinkas of ESPN wanted to clear things up and make it known that the Buccaneers, not taxpayers, paid for their own practice facility.
  • Everybody seems to be getting on Red Ryan for comparing himself to Babe Ruth. Physique-wise, he’s not far off.

  • The lockout could cost Robert Mathis $160,000 in workout bonuses. We’re guessing he won’t be the only one impacted in this way.

  • The Madden ’12 cover is being determined by a fan vote. (Bears fans are voting for Aaron Rodgers, Steelers fans are voting for Ray Rice….you get the idea.)

  • The Titans are working out Colin Kaepernick, who is Vince Young minus the drama.

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Posted on: December 27, 2010 8:47 pm

Norv Turner will remain SD's coach

Norv Turner will keep his job as San Diego's coach (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

For all of us who thought that Chargers coach Norv Turner would get the ax this year (especially after the team didn’t make the postseason), well, I guess we were wrong.

Team owner Dean Spanos said today that the jobs of Turner and San Diego GM A.J. Smith are safe and sound.

Your explanation, Mr. Spanos?

“I’ve learned the hard way,” Spanos said, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. “Your GM and coach have to be two individuals who work together. It’s very difficult for some teams; I’ve been through it. I like the working relationship at this level.

“We’re as disappointed as anyone. But I look to 1996 to 2003, when we couldn’t even get (beyond) 8-8. We’ve turned it around, to where we’re a good team and a good organization. There’s a lot of continuity, but we’re still short.

“The easiest thing in the world is to start over. Who the hell do I go hire? Blow the whole thing up? We’re a pretty good team but we have to make the right moves. We’ve fallen. It could have been our draft picks or our free-agent moves. But we have a good core, and I don’t care what anybody says. I’m not afraid to make changes. If I thought it was warranted, I would do it. We have a good foundation here.”

So, that’s that.

Although we could talk about Smith’s hard-nosed handling of Vincent Jackson or the propensity for Turner’s squads to start the season as slow as a tortoise who slips in molasses while on its way to mate with a slug, I suppose there’s not much point. For another season, Smith and Turner are safe.

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Posted on: November 29, 2010 7:20 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 7:28 pm

Report: Vincent Jackson to miss 2 weeks

Posted by Will Brinson

Vincent Jackson's 2010 has been, um, unproductive, to say the least. He held out for a long-term contract (A.J. Smith said thanks, but no thanks), served a suspension for his second DUI and served a suspension for the roster exempt rule before eventually signing his tender.

He returned to the field on Sunday night against the Colts, but did nothing, leaving the game in the first quarter with a calf injury. NBC's sideline reporter Andrea Kramer is now reporting (via her blog I think?) that Jackson will miss two weeks with a groin and a calf injury, after undergoing an MRI on Monday.

Here's the weird thing -- Kramer reports that Jackson injured his groin at the end of last week in practice and then injured his calf during pregame warmups while overcompensating for the groin injury.

However, Jackson was never listed on San Diego's injury report leading up to the game. So, there's certainly some inconsistency there, at least in terms of the groin report (there had been some rumor that he'd hurt his left calf before the game and then injured his right one during it) and what the Chargers told the public and the Colts before the game.

If Jackson misses two more weeks, it could be a pretty devastating blow to his free agency hopes, as he'll have -- at best -- three regular season weeks and however long the Chargers are in the playoffs to boost his stock. Considering the multiple reasons he missed time this season, it's safe to say that it can't get any lower right now.

And it doesn't help the Chargers either, since they expected him to be a "major contributor" when he returned.

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Posted on: October 29, 2010 5:33 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2010 5:33 pm

V-Jax officially joins Chargers

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

WR Vincent Jackson officially ended his ugly season-long holdout today and signed a one-year tender with the Chargers.

Since GM A.J. Smith placed him on the Roster-Exempt list, Jackson - whose original salary for the season would have been $3.2 million before it was slashed to $600,000 - will miss the next three weeks and will be eligible to play Nov. 28 vs. the Colts.

Jackson “I’m happy Vincent is here,” Smith said in a team release.  “I have no doubt he will go to work, work hard and quickly get into game-shape. Once he starts playing in games, I don’t think it will take him long for him to be a contributor and help us.”

Said Jackson in that same release: “It feels good to be with my teammates. I’ve missed football more than you can imagine. Right now I’m just looking forward to being able to practice and get back on the field. My only concern is doing whatever I can to contribute and help the team win. The future will take care of itself.”

Jackson will join a Chargers offense that ranks first in the NFL in passing yards with an average of 317.4 yards per contest. In Jackson’s absence, Malcom Floyd - who's struggling with a hamstring injury currently - has moved into that so-called No. 1 WR spot, though TE Antonio Gates leads the team with 35 catches for 540 yards and eight touchdowns. Meanwhile, RB Darren Sproles is third on the team in receptions. Aside from that, the WR depth is pretty thin.

Getting a top-quality WR who’s tall and unusually gifted will be a pretty good Thanksgiving gift for Chargers QB Philip Rivers. And for the Chargers who are among the NFL’s most disappointing teams this season.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com