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Talk of town: GM, his coach gab it up

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    By Kevin Acee

    <!--- END:BYLINE --->
    February 21, 2007 <!--- BODYTEXT --->A.J. Smith talked with his new head coach yesterday more than he talked to his old one all of the previous year.

    How many times?

    “I couldn't count,” the Chargers general manager said. Suffice it to say it was infinitely more than the two times he and Marty Schottenheimer conversed since March.

    With two men running the team hardly acknowledging the other's existence, the Chargers went 14-2 in 2006 and had a season of great hope unravel only when a couple of players went numb in the brain in a playoff game. Still, Smith believes improved communication and an air of mutual respect between the head coach's office and his is only going to help the team in its ultimate quest.

    “The only improvement will be when we go to the playoffs each and every year and win some games,” Smith said. “ . . . It doesn't mean anything until you get to the playoffs and win.” How well does Smith see this new relationship working?

    He and Norv Turner – the man Smith and team President Dean Spanos chose to replace Marty Schottenheimer – will sit down soon and Smith will bring his new head coach up to speed on personnel decisions that must be finalized.

    That is Smith's baby, a genre in which he has excelled for some time, methodically and swiftly building what many consider to be the NFL's finest assemblage of talent.
    Smith has everything plotted out. His mind is all but made up on these issues. He certainly did not consult with Schottenheimer on them.

    Yet as he and Turner discuss the tender to put on restricted free agents, where to draft a receiver or a safety, what free agents to pursue, might the head coach change the general manager's mind on something?

    “He could,” Smith said without hesitation. “That's what you call open-ended communication.”

    Smith knows the public perception that Turner was hired as his puppet. He shakes his head, more disgusted than troubled.
    “There are two guys that have to run the show,” he said. “The head coach and the general manager have to work together.”
    As Schottenheimer did, Turner has control over the hiring and firing of his staff and who is on the 53-man roster come September. But in a functional relationship Turner will talk about those hires with the general manager – just as Smith must approve signings of players and trades with Spanos.

    “This thing is well-defined for me and A.J.,” Turner said yesterday between meetings with his assistant coaches. “Once you enter into it with that understanding, it's easy to know what it is.”
    Smith believes this union will work because of a comfort level that was built up over time.

    It was in informal conversations – often with feet up on the table, a cup of coffee in hand – that a bond and respect was formed between Turner and Smith in 2001, when Turner was the Chargers' offensive coordinator and Smith was assistant general manager.

    Turner said yesterday based on his getting to know Smith's philosophy on evaluating players back then, he was not surprised how quickly Smith rebuilt the Chargers.

    They spent much time that year talking philosophy – mostly how to build a team. They talked player evaluation, particularly comparing notes on old Dallas and Buffalo players. Turner was offensive coordinator of the Dallas teams that beat the Buffalo teams for which Smith was pro personnel director in Super Bowls in the 1992 and 1993 seasons.

    “The relationship was there that I'm comfortable with,” Smith said. “That's a good thing, because I need to share my inner thoughts with someone, confidential information.”
    Smith will not say it, but there was an obvious lack of trust between himself and Schottenheimer.

    Everyone wants to know what the genesis was of the “dysfunctional” relationship between Schottenheimer and Smith.
    Schottenheimer has said he doesn't know. Smith won't be specific. But it's pretty simple.

    They were different people, for sure. Certainly, Smith did not agree with everything Schottenheimer did as a coach, but contrary to popular opinion, he did not meddle. Mostly, Smith did not respect Schottenheimer's input on personnel.

    “We both wanted to win a world championship,” Smith said yesterday. “Our thoughts and ideas on how to achieve that were galaxies apart.”
    Respect, a similar philosophy and a friendly relationship are not required. Nor do they guarantee success, Smith knows.
    But he sincerely believes their existence gives the Chargers a better chance at the Super Bowl title that has eluded them.

    “I don't have a crystal ball,” Smith said. “The point is you've got a good person you can work with, and you can chase a championship together.

    You don't know if he can (win a Super Bowl).

    But when you're convinced the one you have can't, you have to make a change.”

    • Like Like x 1
  2. PhillyChargerFan

    PhillyChargerFan Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2006

    :icon_rofl: :icon_rofl:

    Nice dig AJ!!!!!!!!!! :icon_rofl:
    • Like Like x 2
  3. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2006
    Well, AJ just said it all. He was convinced Marty could not win a title.
  4. Boltdiehard

    Boltdiehard Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    AJ is a fucin azzhole.

    I love it.

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