Solving this puzzle is a consuming affair for Chargers GM AJ Smith; some teams are content to keep their nose to the ground, Smith is a guy who is more than willing to learn from his opponents:
"George used to say that in building a championship team you first look at your division, because that's the direct competition. That's who you've got to match up with. But then, if you're lucky enough to go to the playoffs, concentrate on the teams that win every year and what they do. Spend all your time focusing on them, because the rest of the teams will beat themselves. That's what he preached."
"For Christmas, I got 'The Blueprint: How the New England Patriots Beat the System to Create the Last Great NFL Super Power' by Christopher Price. I've read all the books put out on the New England Patriots organization. There aren't trade secrets, but just general thoughts on why they've been successful."
"I study organization and I study trends. If it's clearly in front of your face, you need to look at it and learn from it. Doesn't that only make sense? Why would you study losers? What are you going to get out of that? If you study winners, you find out how they win and the roads they took to get there. You try to figure out what they're doing right."
Props go out to Don Banks of SportsIllustrated for giving us a chance to see a little bit behind the scenes into the workings of AJ Smith's mind. Definitely sit down and read the whole article as Smith sheds some light on his approach to the draft, how he compares his roster to his opponent's, and how he sees San Diego's chances this year to get to a Super Bowl.
Read: Patriotic obsession: Chargers enter '08 season with one goal in mind
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