Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Staying the Course.

Wait a minute, this course runs straight through a minefield and then off a cliff into a lake of molten lava! Norv's coming back, people. Now, this shouldn't be a surprise, but if you need answers you can check out Canepa's piece from the UT this morning. Or you can read on as I dissect it:

What Dean Spanos can do that many of his football team’s fans can’t do, is remember. It doesn’t take much for the Chargers president to recall the not-so-long-ago, when he was boss of the worst team in the NFL, when even he admits his organization lacked organization.

His short term memory is nothing to write home about, but he will never forget the mess his last egomaniacal GM got him into. Thank goodness for that!

So, when Spanos, who has been in charge of the franchise since father Alex handed him the wheel in 1994, says head coach Norv Turner and General Manager A.J. Smith will return in 2011, he almost seems incredulous, amazed that he has to be asked.

Of course he's incredulous. This team's upper levels have gone to great efforts to make two things abundantly clear. That they are far more worried about financial decisions than football decisions, and that they don't care one iota what the fans think. Norv Turner's future in San Diego has only ever been in doubt throughout bars and living rooms in San Diego. This team paid the man directly after one of his greatest failures to date, why should this joke of a season change anything?

“I’ve learned the hard way,” Spanos said. “Your GM and coach have to be two individuals who work together. It’s very difficult for some teams; I’ve been through it. I like the working relationship at this level.

"You weren't there! You don't know what it was like! Mommy and daddy fighting and screaming at each other all the time. They said it was my fault! Now new mommy let's me stay up as late as I want and have cake for breakfast!"

“We’re as disappointed as anyone. But I look to 1996 to 2003, when we couldn’t even get (beyond) 8-8. We’ve turned it around, to where we’re a good team and a good organization. There’s a lot of continuity, but we’re still short.

I'm sorry, give me a minute because my head just exploded. This team is a loss away from being 8-8 for the second time since Norv got here. How is that turned around from a team that couldn't get past 8-8? Is it because the media consensus is that we're better than our shitty record indicates? Well hold onto those press clippings, because they are practically the equivalent of a Lombardi apparently.

It’s not often I can sit across from Dean Spanos and agree with much of what he has to say. I’ve had go-rounds with dad and go-rounds with son, but if he were to tear this thing up now and start all over, it just might be the biggest mistake he’s made. And he’s made a few, which he also admits (and, no, firing Marty Schottenheimer is not one of them; yes, firing Bobby Ross is).

I hate to break it to you, Nicky, but these two situations (Ross and Schotty) are nearly identical. If you're saying it's a bad idea to tear it all up now, how can you possibly say that it was a good idea to tear it up under Marty? Oh right, because Marty and AJ couldn't get along and everybody knows that a good GM/Coach relationship is essential in building a winner. That's why we're so good right now. Didn't you see our offensive and defensive rankings? Fuck the Superbowl!

But there are things to consider before ripping and slashing, given the labor unrest in the NFL. There are no guarantees there will be a season in 2011. There may be a quarter-season, a half-season, no training camp, no minicamps, no offseason workouts.

If this happens and you bring in a new coach or a new GM, with new systems and philosophies, good luck in 2011.

You mean if we bring a new coach in right now we may not be able to compete for the possible partial season that awaits us? And there it is, folks, the reason guys like Canepa make the big bucks. My feeble football brain could never see things so clearly. I would have thought that the possibility of a suspended or partial season next year makes this a perfect time to bring in new coaches and a new philosophy. You'd have plenty of time to assemble your new staff and let them evaluate the team's talent and assess their strengths. I'm a moron like that. Talent evaluation is not essential to winning. A good GM/Coach relationship is paramount to achieving football goals! Everybody in the business knows that, silly bloggers!

Smith and Turner both have made mistakes. If the Chargers get off to another bad start in 2011 — or whenever the next season begins — that it isn’t going to get fixed under Norv, enough will be enough. It’s asking too much to continually rise from the dead. This year, for many reasons, it didn’t happen, but the early season bungling has to stop.

This is it! Four slow starts is one thing, but five?! Five will mean it's time to start considering what actions the organization must take once the slow starts reach seven years in a row. Because I am always doing stupid shit, people are fond of telling me that "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Normally I try to point out that this is the stupidest saying in the world and that it is not at all the definition of insanity. Since it applies here,though, I'm gonna use it because as it is well documented on this blog, I am a raging hypocrite.

Norv took over a good team and I think he’s done a good job under some trying circumstances. I hate to make excuses, but I don’t (care). It’s hard to win without players. Last year we lost six players in our opener at Oakland and Norv won 13 games. This year, I’ve never seen anything like it. I know injuries are a (bleep) excuse, but we started 2-5 and could have caved and we didn’t.

"I hate to make excuses, but here goes!" And here's a newsflash: The 2-5 start was the caving. The Raider game was a caving. Sunday was a caving. We could have caved and we did. Over and over.

Norv has not been good enough to coach this team to a championship. A.J. has not been good enough to manage this team to a championship. But I do know that, just seven years ago, it was the worst team in football.

Only seven years ago? Well, shit.

“It wasn’t coaching. Sometimes the best thing in the world is to make very few changes. There’s an image out there that Norv is my puppet..."

Because he is.

...No changes at the top. And, all things considered, that’s not a bad thing. For now.

Yeah, totally. For now it's no big deal because, you know, the seasons over for all intents and purposes. In fact, I don't really see this "staying the course" thing becoming a real problem until we start playing meaningful football games again. Then, of course, we're screwed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My biggest complaint with that interview centered around Spanos' statement that A.J. is the type of GM to "take chances." That statement is always an out. First, it off-handedly speaks to the GMs amazing "courage." Second, it gives an out. Meaning, "its not that the GM didn't try, he was merely unlucky." Good businessmen know luck has nothing to do with it. Good businessmen also know the difference between a good decision maker and bad decision maker is a good decision maker has more hits than misses when it comes to taking chances.