The Chargers are the perennial champions of April, May and June.
That success hasn’t always translated to the fall and winter, however, and that’s gotten the attention of those in charge.
When Dean Spanos decided to keep GM A.J. Smith and coach Norv Turner this offseason, it surprised many, and put the pressure squarely on them to produce.
“Dean’s let me come back for my 10th year and I haven’t won for him,” Smith told Nick Canepa of U-T San Diego. “I think Dean made a tremendous statement staying the course, but I don’t know how that went over. He’s the owner and I have no complaints. None. And a lot of GMs can’t say that.
“But I got hired to win a world championship and I haven’t done it. In my view, it’s not going at all well. When I sit back and assess myself, I’m disappointed. Nine years and no world championship. Five trips to the postseason and five failures, and I don’t like it. It’s what drives me.”
Of course, not getting so much credit in the offseason might not hurt after last year’s lifeless 8-8 season. After being favorites for so long, a little underdog mentality might not hurt. And Smith’s already embracing that role, installing Denver into the chair they used to sit in.
“To get to the playoffs, we’ll have to get through our division,” Smith said. “This is a good division, and now one of the greatest quarterbacks has plopped himself down in the middle of it. I just hope Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos don’t leave us in their dust.”
Smith’s protesting a bit much there, but he has made numerous changes this offseason. Former defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was offered up after one year on the job, and they’ve retooled their roster, drafting heavily on defense early, and bringing in waves of new receiving targets for Philip Rivers after losing Vincent Jackson and Mike Tolbert.
Will the new look and new attitude work? That remains to be seen. If it doesn’t, Smith and Turner might not get many more chances to talk their way around it.