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Old 01-13-2009, 11:01 AM   #1
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009- Nick Canepa

So now that Pittsburgh has ladled its cold, bitter soup into the Chargers' bowl, we must ask: What's the next course?

The 2009 Chargers will be quarterback Philip Rivers' team, as was 2008's. But he doesn't have to be the sole proprietor. It also should be linebacker Shawne Merriman's team.

And, as we sit here now looking at the club's current roster – one soon to be tossed with General Manager A.J. Smith's Own dressing – it also should be tailback LaDainian Tomlinson's team.

Except, in this case, two out of three may be bad.

I'd wager a short part of what little I own that this great running back, this San Diego icon, has made his last juke and cut as a San Diego Charger.

Life without LT? Prepare.

He has three years remaining on perhaps the NFL's most lucrative running back contract. His salary cap number in 2009 will be $8.8 million, and when you consider he's now 30 and due to injury basically has been a nonfactor in the team's last two failed playoff runs, doing the arithmetic isn't necessary.

LT's fate will be a business decision and help, which the Chargers need in more than one area, will cost money. He makes a lot of it, and it's unlikely he will be asked to take a pay cut.

“The areas are glaring,” Smith says, knowing the Steelers smoked out the weaknesses.

Once cornerback Quentin Jammer went out with a leg problem in Pittsburgh, the defensive front seven was dominated and the Steelers went after Jammer's replacements with considerable success.

“When Jammer goes out of the football game,” Smith says, “that's too bad – too bad for the Chargers and good for Pittsburgh.”

Once that opened up, the Chargers couldn't stop the run and couldn't get to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, so they couldn't stop anything. Not a good cocktail and it burned the hell out of their throat. More help is needed on the line and at deep safety.

The right side of the offensive line, especially, needs shoring up. Without LT, there was an overwhelming inability Sunday to run the ball – unless you think 15 yards on 11 carries is good.

Darren Sproles, soon to be an unrestricted free agent, is a terrific runner, perhaps the most exciting player in The League, but he's not an every-down back. That much was evident Sunday. The Chargers were able to get away with him a week earlier, but the Indianapolis defense isn't Pittsburgh's, for one thing, and the Colts, not knowing the extent of LT's groin injury, still had to prepare for him.

The Steelers, despite spreading manure all week that LT was going to play, knew he wasn't. Tomlinson didn't help matters any when someone in his camp put the severity of the injury out there. It didn't come from the organization, which was furious.

So that's it. Am I pleased? No. All I can do is look at the team's running back situation. LT. Likely gone. Sproles. Could be gone. Michael Bennett. A serviceable journeyman. Jacob Hester. His future is at fullback. Mike Tolbert. An undersized fullback.

The only every-down back there is LT. Hard to believe he can be let go without a very good replacement. There are no guarantees Tomlinson won't get hurt again. There are no guarantees he won't.

But the Chargers know Sproles isn't an every-down guy.

“A lot of people say I dance around it and avoid the question,” says Smith, not exactly Baryshnikov. “Darren Sproles was drafted by the San Diego Chargers to help us in three areas – kick returns, spot play as a running back and catching passes out of the backfield.

“We will be pursuing Darren for exactly the same reasons.”

In other words, Smith has hard thinking to do over the next month as he begins to piece together the 2009 roster. It's beyond doubtful he can replace a Hall of Fame running back with another Hall of Fame running back, so he has to know there's a man in waiting somewhere before the cord is severed.

“You're assuming,” Smith says, “that, if we have to move on, we're not capable of getting another running back.”

I'm not assuming anything. All I can do is look at the chart, envision it without LT, and know for a fact he has no everydown back and he has a coach in Norv Turner who puts the run first.

As for the defense, even those with severe brain flatulence know the loss of Merriman to knee surgery was a disaster. The defense played better under coordinator Ron Rivera, but the great player couldn't be replaced, which is why we must wonder if LT can be replaced.

“I don't discuss injuries during the season,” Smith says. “The season's over now. Unless we figure out how to stop the passing assaults on this defense and get off the field and establish a sound running game, we will not get to where we want to go.

“We were not good enough in the postseason to go (on). We didn't stack up. We got our butts kicked. We missed Shawne Merriman.”

Finally. He said it.

But who's going to run the ball? He can't say.

In the end, this is A.J. Smith's team. As suspected.


http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stori...nepa/?chargers

---------

I can't say anything will surprise me about the NFL...but LT not being a Charger...not sure.

We all know the Chargers got burned by Michael Turner, but is it worth putting all their eggs into Sproles and maybe a draft pick.
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:07 AM   #2
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Seeeeeya LT!
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:09 AM   #3
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Hes been done for quite a while now.
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:09 AM   #4
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The Bolts should have traded LT last season, and kept Turner. And they should trade him this offseason, and keep Sproles. But they won't get anything for him, now. Perhaps a 4th; he's just too used up.

Let this be a lesson for us. You trade legends when you can, and get some value. Champ? I'm talking about you.
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:10 AM   #5
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I predict that the Chargers will not be a good team next year, and this season was the beginning of the wheels coming off the bus. Even with Merriman back they will be an 8-8 team next year and our new Jedi coach will be more than ready for them.
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:13 AM   #6
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If I was in Sandyeggo's FO, I'd be looking for a way to unload LT.
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:16 AM   #7
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I predict that the Chargers will not be a good team next year, and this season was the beginning of the wheels coming off the bus. Even with Merriman back they will be an 8-8 team next year and our new Jedi coach will be more than ready for them.
AMEN to that
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:21 AM   #8
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They would have to cut him. NO ONE will pay him that current salary and give up anything for a 30 yr old RB will lots of miles.
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:22 AM   #9
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I predict that the Chargers will not be a good team next year, and this season was the beginning of the wheels coming off the bus. Even with Merriman back they will be an 8-8 team next year and our new Jedi coach will be more than ready for them.
With the schedule the AFC West has to play next season... 8-8 will probably win the division again.
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:23 AM   #10
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I predict that the Chargers will not be a good team next year, and this season was the beginning of the wheels coming off the bus. Even with Merriman back they will be an 8-8 team next year and our new Jedi coach will be more than ready for them.
agreed but they were not a good team this year, just best of the worst
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:24 AM   #11
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AJ Smith is so brilliant.
He let Turner walk and kept LT who had like 500,000 miles on his odometer.
Sproles is no 16 game workhorse, and he's as good as gone anyway.
Oh man, I can not wait for Phyllis to run for her life in the coming seasons.
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:27 AM   #12
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Their SB window is either closed or heading that way. They ran LT like they did Earl Campbell, which is essentially into the ground, and they didn't even take advantage of it. They were easily the most talented team in the league for awhile there and they have absolutely nothing to show for it, not even an AFC Championship.

And I love it.
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:27 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by telluride View Post
The Bolts should have traded LT last season, and kept Turner. And they should trade him this offseason, and keep Sproles. But they won't get anything for him, now. Perhaps a 4th; he's just too used up.

Let this be a lesson for us. You trade legends when you can, and get some value. Champ? I'm talking about you.
I don't know about that. I think what makes this case unique is a capable back up (in Turner). If we trade Champ - how do you replace his contributions?

What if we had done that with Elway?
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:28 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by HEAV View Post
Tuesday, January 13, 2009- Nick Canepa

So now that Pittsburgh has ladled its cold, bitter soup into the Chargers' bowl, we must ask: What's the next course?

The 2009 Chargers will be quarterback Philip Rivers' team, as was 2008's. But he doesn't have to be the sole proprietor. It also should be linebacker Shawne Merriman's team.

And, as we sit here now looking at the club's current roster – one soon to be tossed with General Manager A.J. Smith's Own dressing – it also should be tailback LaDainian Tomlinson's team.

Except, in this case, two out of three may be bad.

I'd wager a short part of what little I own that this great running back, this San Diego icon, has made his last juke and cut as a San Diego Charger.

Life without LT? Prepare.

He has three years remaining on perhaps the NFL's most lucrative running back contract. His salary cap number in 2009 will be $8.8 million, and when you consider he's now 30 and due to injury basically has been a nonfactor in the team's last two failed playoff runs, doing the arithmetic isn't necessary.

LT's fate will be a business decision and help, which the Chargers need in more than one area, will cost money. He makes a lot of it, and it's unlikely he will be asked to take a pay cut.

“The areas are glaring,” Smith says, knowing the Steelers smoked out the weaknesses.

Once cornerback Quentin Jammer went out with a leg problem in Pittsburgh, the defensive front seven was dominated and the Steelers went after Jammer's replacements with considerable success.

“When Jammer goes out of the football game,” Smith says, “that's too bad – too bad for the Chargers and good for Pittsburgh.”

Once that opened up, the Chargers couldn't stop the run and couldn't get to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, so they couldn't stop anything. Not a good cocktail and it burned the hell out of their throat. More help is needed on the line and at deep safety.

The right side of the offensive line, especially, needs shoring up. Without LT, there was an overwhelming inability Sunday to run the ball – unless you think 15 yards on 11 carries is good.

Darren Sproles, soon to be an unrestricted free agent, is a terrific runner, perhaps the most exciting player in The League, but he's not an every-down back. That much was evident Sunday. The Chargers were able to get away with him a week earlier, but the Indianapolis defense isn't Pittsburgh's, for one thing, and the Colts, not knowing the extent of LT's groin injury, still had to prepare for him.

The Steelers, despite spreading manure all week that LT was going to play, knew he wasn't. Tomlinson didn't help matters any when someone in his camp put the severity of the injury out there. It didn't come from the organization, which was furious.

So that's it. Am I pleased? No. All I can do is look at the team's running back situation. LT. Likely gone. Sproles. Could be gone. Michael Bennett. A serviceable journeyman. Jacob Hester. His future is at fullback. Mike Tolbert. An undersized fullback.

The only every-down back there is LT. Hard to believe he can be let go without a very good replacement. There are no guarantees Tomlinson won't get hurt again. There are no guarantees he won't.

But the Chargers know Sproles isn't an every-down guy.

“A lot of people say I dance around it and avoid the question,” says Smith, not exactly Baryshnikov. “Darren Sproles was drafted by the San Diego Chargers to help us in three areas – kick returns, spot play as a running back and catching passes out of the backfield.

“We will be pursuing Darren for exactly the same reasons.”

In other words, Smith has hard thinking to do over the next month as he begins to piece together the 2009 roster. It's beyond doubtful he can replace a Hall of Fame running back with another Hall of Fame running back, so he has to know there's a man in waiting somewhere before the cord is severed.

“You're assuming,” Smith says, “that, if we have to move on, we're not capable of getting another running back.”

I'm not assuming anything. All I can do is look at the chart, envision it without LT, and know for a fact he has no everydown back and he has a coach in Norv Turner who puts the run first.

As for the defense, even those with severe brain flatulence know the loss of Merriman to knee surgery was a disaster. The defense played better under coordinator Ron Rivera, but the great player couldn't be replaced, which is why we must wonder if LT can be replaced.

“I don't discuss injuries during the season,” Smith says. “The season's over now. Unless we figure out how to stop the passing assaults on this defense and get off the field and establish a sound running game, we will not get to where we want to go.

“We were not good enough in the postseason to go (on). We didn't stack up. We got our butts kicked. We missed Shawne Merriman.”

Finally. He said it.

But who's going to run the ball? He can't say.

In the end, this is A.J. Smith's team. As suspected.


http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stori...nepa/?chargers

---------

I can't say anything will surprise me about the NFL...but LT not being a Charger...not sure.

We all know the Chargers got burned by Michael Turner, but is it worth putting all their eggs into Sproles and maybe a draft pick.
I'm kinda nauseus at the thought of AJ Smith "tossing his dressing" on the roster...sick-o!
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:45 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by telluride View Post
The Bolts should have traded LT last season, and kept Turner. And they should trade him this offseason, and keep Sproles. But they won't get anything for him, now. Perhaps a 4th; he's just too used up.

Let this be a lesson for us. You trade legends when you can, and get some value. Champ? I'm talking about you.
Yeah an aging running back and an aging cornerback. Those are exactly the same thing.
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:52 AM   #16
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Yeah an aging running back and an aging cornerback. Those are exactly the same thing.
They're not, and we benefit from that. Meaning we might get some value from Champ. If we could get a 2nd and a 4/5th for him, we have to move him. He's an aging luxury for a team that can't afford it. Build this defense from the inside out.
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:54 AM   #17
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Yeah an aging running back and an aging cornerback. Those are exactly the same thing.
Yeah, I thought it was Rivers that was the salad tosser on that team?
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:58 AM   #18
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Yeah, I thought it was Rivers that was the salad tosser on that team?

Yup.


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Old 01-13-2009, 12:05 PM   #19
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With the schedule the AFC West has to play next season... 8-8 will probably win the division again.
6-10 might win the division next year.
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:20 PM   #20
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We are going to surprise some teams next year. I am looking for a tougher defense, and a more effective offense(scoring). Schedules look tough before the season starts, but no one knows how things will shake out in the end.
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:21 PM   #21
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I hope so, I'm sick of looking at him.
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:24 PM   #22
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Lt will be a Pat next year, it's where all the chargers go.
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:35 PM   #23
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goodbye SD LT, hello KC LT. Larry johnson will be gone, I bet Herm will pick up LT in KC. I don't actually believe that but i have a buddy here at work that would love that
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:57 PM   #24
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I hate the Chargers so don't like being the contrarian here but I think you're all writing their obituary a bit too soon. They finished strong, their D played much better under Rivera, they still have a lot of young talent, and Merriman will be back. Let's not forget that they beat Indy in the playoffs, and Indy was a good team this year.

They have good, young talent at QB, LT, and WR just like we do, and much better talent on D. To think we're automatically going to be better than them next year might be wishful thinking. But I hope you're right.
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Old 01-13-2009, 01:02 PM   #25
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as someone stated already...

LT is not going to be traded with that age and contract...
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