NC Times: Smith sheds light on Chargers' direction

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#GoIrish #Aztecs #SDGulls #Raiders #THFC #RipCity
Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA

SAN DIEGO ---- Chargers general manager A.J. Smith gave a state of the season address Tuesday covering such topics as head coach Marty Schottenheimer, quarterback Drew Brees and the playoffs.

Here's what we learned. Schottenheimer is not going to be fired, Brees' future is still very much in the air, and the failure to make the playoffs was bitterly disappointing to Smith, the third-year general manager.

-- First, his relationship with Schottenheimer: "Coach will be back in '06, there never was a doubt," Smith said. "Marty is fine. We are fine. Everything is fine."

There were several reports that a rift had developed between Smith and the head coach.

"I don't know where the rumors come from," Smith said. "But if you hear something, and someone asks you and you say it is fine that should be good enough."

Schottenheimer has two years left on his contract.

-- Then there's Brees. Just one year from being named to the Pro Bowl, the quarterback dislocated his throwing shoulder and suffered a torn labrum.

The injury and subsequent surgery may take a long time to heal.

"I talked to Drew Brees today in transit and had a good conversation," Smith said, "and I'll be in touch with him after the surgery. There is nothing more to say on it because we need to find out what we are doing after the surgery and go on from there."

The surgery will keep Brees away from a planned vacation to Thailand with his wife, Brittany.

Smith said it will be Brees' choice as to who will do the surgery, either Dr. David Chao of the Chargers or Dr. James Andrews of Birmingham, Ala ---- a noted orthopedic surgeon.

-- Smith's overall view of the 9-7 season that found the Chargers missing the playoffs after losing three of their final four games: "Extremely disappointing. Absolutely disappointing because I thought we were a good football team with very, very good players," Smith said, offering no excuses.

"And I don't care about the East Coast schedule. Whatever the number is that gets us to postseason, get it done. We didn't get it done, and I don't like the fact we lost four home games. In order to build a championship team I don't believe you can afford to lose four home games. So, we didn't go to postseason, and I'm not a happy guy, especially when I think we were talented enough to go."

-- On why the team didn't make the playoffs: "Was it coaching was it players or did I not do a very good job of bringing in players to give the coaches an opportunity to be more successful?" Smith said. "I have to look at that hard. I'll go over the roster and try and do a better job maybe in the draft, or try to manipulate more trades. We will try to get more players in here to get it done."

-- On the possibility of losing offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips: "It is that time of year where there is a lot of movement," Smith said.

With eight head coaching jobs open, both Phillips and Cameron should get looks. The Chargers granted the Houston Texans permission to talk to Cameron.

"I think it is great for our people to be considered, but at the same token, you hate to lose some people because it is for your football team that they are good coaches," Smith said.

The GM said that he will have a cooling off period before really taking a hard look at what the team's needs are.

"We are letting the dust settle around here," Smith said. "We are not pressed. We will let it all go for a couple of weeks or more, then it's decision time for the entire football team. I know the quarterback situation is marquee in everyone's minds. But we will deal with it."