AFC West: John Spanos

McKenzie talks McFadden, cap

January, 17, 2013
Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie gave his end of-the-season address to media on Thursday.

There wasn’t much earth-shattering news as reported by CSNBayArea. As expected, McKenzie said he expects running back Darren McFadden to be with the team in the final year of his contract. McKenzie did say he didn’t think McFadden was best suited for the zone-blocking scheme Oakland used last season.

He also said he hopes the Oakland coaching staff is filled in the coming days and acknowledged he talked with former San Diego head coach Norv Turner about the offensive coordinator job. Turner was not interested.

McKenzie also said the Raiders’ salary-cap situation (they are currently $4.5 million over the cap for 2013) is better than last year, but the team still has work to do and he doesn’t expect any big-name free-agent additions. Still, he hopes to be able to make some additions in free agency.

Guard Mike Brisiel underwent “major” ankle surgery after the season, McKenzie reported. Even the worst ankle injuries are often healed within eight months. Barring something unusual, Brisiel should be on pace to play next season.

In other AFC West news:

Knowshon Moreno's injury from the Saturday playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens is not considered serious. Surgery will not be required and he is expected to be fine moving forward.

As expected, John Spanos has been named executive vice president of football operations with the San Diego Chargers. He will work closely with his father, owner Dean Spanos.

The sad story of former San Diego quarterback Ryan Leaf took another turn. He was dismissed from a drug treatment program and he is now in a Montana prison.


Finally, change in San Diego

December, 31, 2012
Another hour, another massive change in the AFC West.

The Chargers just announced they have fired general manager A.J. Smith and coach Norv Turner.

Smith was in his role since 2003, and Turner was in his role since 2007. The Chargers went from one of the NFL’s better teams to a team that has not made the playoffs in the past three years.

Turner and Smith were expected to be fired last year, but ownership gave them a reprieve. This year, the team had no choice; Turner and Smith had to go. These moves are among the least surprising in the NFL.

This move has been expected for several weeks. Jimmy Raye is a top candidate to replace Smith.

In an interesting development, the Chargers have hired former Oakland and Green Bay personnel guru Ron Wolf to help with the general manager search. Owner Dean Spanos, his son John Spanos and cap man Ed McGuire will stay. That may mean that Raye is not a slam dunk. The general manager will then help hire a coach.

So, the Chargers will keep the power structure of the coach reporting to the general manager.

Here is a statement from Dean Spanos: “I thank A.J. and Norv for the determination and integrity they brought to the Chargers each and every day. Both Norv and A.J. are consummate NFL professionals, and they understand that in this league, the bottom line is winning. My only goal is the Super Bowl, and that is why I have decided to move in a new direction with both our head coach and general manager positions. I am committed to our great fans, and we will do whatever we possibly can to achieve that goal.”
Andy Reid will not be coaching in his native Southern California, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Schefter reported that Reid -- who is expected to be fired by the Eagles -- is planning to coach in 2013, but the Chargers are not expected to pursue him. The Chargers are expected to fire Norv Turner soon.

I don’t have a problem with the Chargers not being interested in Reid. Last year, I actually thought it was a fit. But Reid seems tired and the Chargers need a burst of energy. I think San Diego might be better off identifying a younger coach who has big potential.

This is an important hire and I'm not sure Reid is the right guy for the Chargers at this time.

Meanwhile, NFL Network reported San Diego owner Dean Spanos is handing the reins to his son, John Spanos, as the day-to-day operator of the team. That has not been expected. John Spanos has long been considered a key part of the organization.

The Spanos family will be busy. Turner and general manager A.J. Smith are expected to be fired. The team is expected to hire a general manager (in-house candidate Jimmy Raye is considered a favorite) and then the team will hire a coach.

In other AFC West news:

The Chiefs put receiver Terrence Copper on injured reserve and promoted receiver Junior Hemingway from the practice squad.

Wholesale changes in San Diego?

December, 2, 2012
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported on Sunday morning that San Diego general manager A.J. Smith and Norv Turner’s futures are likely connected.

Thus, there very well could be wholesale changes after the season. Both men were given a reprieve last year. That likely won’t happen this year, barring a major turnaround.

Mortensen reported a likely replacement for Smith would be San Diego director of player personnel Jimmy Raye. Then, Mortensen reported, college scouting director John Spanos likely would become the director of player personnel.

These moves all sound plausible as it appears major change is on the horizon in San Diego.

In other AFC West news:

ESPN’s Ed Werder reported that Kasandra M. Perkins was a cousin of the wife of Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles and she was introduced to Jovan Belcher through her cousin. Belcher shot and killed Perkins and then killed himself Saturday morning.

The Oakland Tribune reported Oakland owner Mark Davis told coach Dennis Allen the current state of the 3-8 “is not good enough” on the team flight home from Cincinnati last week. It is another sign of Davis losing patience. Last month, Davis expressed frustrations to reporters after a loss. If the losing continues in Oakland, we just might see some changes in Oakland again.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the NFLPA and the Chiefs are talking about starting a fund for the 3-month-old child of Perkins and Belcher.

Schefter is reporting that Oakland starting running back Darren McFadden is not likely to play Sunday against Cleveland. McFadden has been out the past three games with an ankle sprain. He started to practice last week and he should be ready to play next week if he doesn’t play Sunday.

Donald Stephenson is expected to start the second straight game at left tackle for the Chiefs in place of Branden Albert, who has a back injury.