Recent mediocrity for the San Diego Chargers has heightened some chatter for the jobs of both General Manager A.J. Smith and Head Coach Norv Turner over the past few years, but never quite to this decibel level. With five losses in their last seven games however (the only two wins against the sorry Kansas City Chiefs), expect the volume to only increase over the coming weeks.
Early in GM Smith’s career, many considered him a personnel genius. Moves like landing undrafted free agent hoops star Antonio Gates and turning him into one of the greatest tight ends that the NFL has ever seen. Selecting future Pro Bowl running back talents like Michael Turner in the fifth round or Darren Sproles in the fourth round only gave further credibility to his résumé.
His reputation has quickly deteriorated from the firing of Marty Schottenheimer and hiring of Turner to draft busts and his failure to replenish a talent base badly undernourished on the Bolts’ roster. The lack of attention shown to the aging, makeshift offensive line is showing with quarterback Philip Rivers running for his life on a regular basis. The off-season retirements of stalwards Marcus McNeill and Kris Dielman were basically swept under the rug as if nothing had changed. In short, Smith just hasn’t lived up to his job description in recent years.
Clearly neither have Turner or Rivers however as these two started out like a house of fire, but now can’t seem to make the necessary adjustments during games to stop throwing the ball to the opposition. Rivers has accounted for 17 touchdowns this year, but given the ball to the other team 14 times via interception and put the ball on the turf a staggering nine times already. Turner’s lack of malleability has in part contributed to Rivers’ demise, but both are on the hook for their inability to alter their current paths toward self-destruction.
There certainly aren’t many bright spots left on this San Diego roster, but a change in philosophy from a front office standpoint would be the best place for the team to begin retooling. Kicking the current regime to the curb is the only option now for a franchise that needs a complete makeover at this point.
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