Chargers general manager A.J. Smith, it appears, has shown why he is in the upper echelon of NFL general managers. Unlike the vast majority, he has somehow managed to get all of his draft picks signed and into training camp in a timely manner. But he also did something that the other NFL teams did not do – he didn’t sign a single free agent during the offseason.
Smith told the San Diego Union-Tribune that “You go to the market when you have losses or you’re unhappy with the people you have.” At first glance, the statement makes it appears that he is very satisfied with the team that he currently has. It could be that; however, I think it is more a matter of Smith using conservative fiscal management and keeping the team relatively youthful, as opposed to getting a “free-agent rental”.
Apparently, other GM’s and sports publications share that sentiment; for example, Bill Polian, president of the Indianapolis Colts, said that the Chargers are “the most talented team” in the NFL. The Sporting News determined the team is within the top five at running back, tight end, guard, center, linebacker, offensive tackle and defensive end. And Scouts, Inc. stated that the Chargers have the league’s best running backs, tight ends, linebackers and offensive line. A ringing endorsement if ever I saw one. Now if head coach Norv Turner can manage to mesh th eexplosive offense and the promising defense together, then a Super Bowl is within reach.
There’s some good and bad about Turner to consider. Firstly, his overall win-loss record. Now granted his win-loss record in not stellar. But at the same time, he didn’t have the personnel that he now inherits down in San Diego. So now it’s safe to say that he can’t use that as an excuse; after all, offense is his calling card. There’s also the matter of the confirmed fact that the Chargers really liked playing for former head coach Marty Schottenheimer. But perhaps that can be overcome over the curse of their training camp as cohesiveness as a team will be key for the teams’ future success.
The Chargers have the components in place to put together a very successful 2007 campaign. Assuming everything goes according to plan, there’s no reason whatsoever that they shouldn’t go to the Super Bowl. The Patriots and even my beloved Colts can’t match what the Chargers have, personnel-wise, which is a scary thought going into this season.