Being the general manager of a professional football team is never an easy job. As the primary decision maker in regards to football operations, both the team's ownership and it's fans rely on the GM to make sound decisions in order to field a competitive team. Coming off a disappointing 8-8 season in 2008, the San Diego Chargers have some areas that need to be addressed going forward, and team GM AJ Smith has publicly acknowledged those needs.
Smith pointed to two areas which he believes are necessary for a team to compete for a championship. The first area Smith called out was the Chargers running game, or lack thereof:
"I just know we're not good enough. But I will say this, which I've said before: we need to have a solid, consistent running game. We have to."
Smith cautioned not to jump to conclusions when it came to evaluating players. It is important to consider all the circumstances and dynamics of a player's performance on the field, and to not get too caught up in numbers.
"If you're evaluation running backs, and the line is playing poorly, you have to consider that. If you've got outstanding wide receivers, and you've got a quarterback that can't get them the ball, you better come up with some answers there. If you've got a secondary, and people are running around, and you don't have a pass rush, you have to consider that."
While Smith has to take all considerations into account when preparing his team for the 2009 season, there is one thing that he staunchly believes in, and that is defense.
"I believe defense wins championships. I've said that a number of years and I'll never deviate from it. But we have to find out how to stop passing assaults on this football team. We've gotta get off the field."
AJ Smith is a blunt and candid guy, and the Chargers' fans appreciate him for it. As he stated, the team needs to improve on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Chargers clearly need to run the ball better. They'll likely improve in this area by drafting a talented offensive lineman to come in and compete for a starting job, but only if the right guy is available to them.
They also want to improve defensively, and especially when it comes to third down situations. To help get the defense off the field on third down, the Chargers will look to bolster their front seven. A linebacker and a defensive lineman are certainly in the cards, and the team could also draft a safety.
Assuming the Chargers sign no free agents, they'll Chargers are all but guaranteed to draft the following positions:
+ Defensive End/Tackle
+ Offensive Tackle
Nobody knows for sure what round the Chargers will draft those position; that will only become clear as the draft itself unfolds. But running the ball, and bolstering the defense are two areas AJ Smith and the San Diego Chargers are planning to address.
"Those two areas; until we figure it out, we will not go where we want to go. It's just not going to happen."
"I don't have any answers for it, but it's right there in front of our faces. We need to fix it."
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