Chargers hoping change in personnel, perspective helps


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.

12 responses to “Chargers hoping change in personnel, perspective helps

  1. I don’t know if it’s accurate to say the Chargers are always off-season champs. Saying so is just a writer’s gimmick. But AJ Smith has significantly improved the Chargers this season, in free agency and what looks to be a very good draft.

    The addition of Jarrett Johnson and Melvin Ingram, the health of Larry English, plus Shaun Phillips, Antwan Barnes and Donald Butler. This is the best LB corps the Bolts have had since 2006 when Merriman was leading the league in sacks. The youth this team has on the DL, with the addition of Kendall Reyes and the return of Castillo. And the additions of Atari Bigby and Brandon Taylor next to SD’s lone Pro Bowler on defense – Eric Weddle. Two second-year CBs – Shareece Wright and Marcus Gilhcrist – ready to t step up. Add to that a new defensive coordinator – John Pagano – and this is not going to be the defense you’ve seen in SD the past couple of seasons.

    I expect the Bolts to lead the league in offense. Rivers, Mathews, Gates, Meachem, Royal, Floyd, Vincent Brown, McClain, Ronnie Brown. Protected/opening holes by Jared Gaither, Nick Hardwick, Tyronne Green replacing Dielman. This is the most stacked offense in the League. No defense is going to be able to stop this unit.

    But I would rather see pundits and rivals dismiss the Bolts this year. Let this team remain under the radar until opening weekend.

    The San Diego Super Bowl Express gets rolling July 25 when rookies report.

  2. The dream is over, Humdolt. Your players got old and the new ones aren’t as good. Rivers has a few years left, but look at what you have now compared to the players you had. Jackson, Tomlinson, the list goes on. When Rivers is done, you will be in the cellar again, whipping-boy of the AFC West.

  3. The San Diego Super Bowl Express gets rolling July 25
    And inevitably flies off the tracks the first week of January …… if not sooner.

  4. I dont care what joetoronto says, the chargers are a hellofa team.
    Theyre a long way away from whipping boys (aka raiders)

  5. @pftcensor: I can’t believe you deleted my post. You, much like charger fan, are petty and small.

    The losses of Jackson and Tolbert combined with the declining health of Gates will only force Rivers to carry more of the load. We saw the results last year when he tried too hard, look for similar results in 2012.

    Look for the chargers to fail to live up to the hopes of humbolt and the other fans of the powder blue. Again.

  6. “The losses of Jackson and Tolbert combined with the declining health of Gates will only force Rivers to carry more of the load. We saw the results last year when he tried too hard, look for similar results in 2012.”

    I admit that I am not always objective when it comes to the Bolts, but this just makes no sense. Jackson was a good player, not an elite receiver. Rivers has proven that he does not need an elite receiver, and frankly, the best passing teams in the league don’t have a “true number one.” Last year’s trouble was due to injuries on the line. Provided they stay healthy (see the last few games of 2011) they are a solid group.

    It’s fair to say Gates is aging, but to say his health is declining is just not true. In fact, he’s healthier now than he has been in years.

    Tolbert will not be missed on offense (maybe a bit on special teams). Mathews is a stud, and with a true fullback in front of him, he’s going to light it up.

    Can’t wait.

  7. Most fairweather fans in the league. Every season i see everyother car with a charger flag up and their fans barking about how they are gonna win the superbowl and as soon as they lose 2 in a row or 2 out of 3 all the flags go down and they are nowhere to be found. This is the same fanbase who needs to have some local dealership buy a bunch of tickets year after year so the games dont get blacked out. And thats when the team is winning!

  8. humb0lt says: Jun 16, 2012 1:41 PM

    The San Diego Super Bowl Express gets rolling July 25 when rookies report.
    Remember the last time the Chargers won anything? Yeah, neither does anyone else.

  9. And the Tooth Fair will bring the Chargers the SB Trophy once again.

    Geesh – there is a snowball’s chance in hell for this team to do deep in the playoffs and that is if Gates can regain his prior form AND stay healthy all year.

    What odds do you give on that? 🙂

  10. “Most fairweather fans in the league”

    I think you’re confusing Charger fans with a “nation” of bandwagoners.

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