Chargers Optical Illusion

Some things just don't make sense. Ewing Ave, an exit off route 208 in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey is one of the places. Take the exit and you will traverse down a hill to a stop sign. Put the car in neutral and the car would go backwards – up the hill. Such is the life of a San Diego Chargers fan. Full of things that are incomprehensible – and a lot of going backwards.

While every other team in the NFL can look forward, the Chargers are stuck in neutral and oftentimes going backwards.

The talk this year has been about a previous Yugo they owned, Ryan Leaf. Escaping that fate was supposed to be easy. Draft the other Manning, Eli Manning, and all would be forgiven.

The debate has raged on about what to do with the pick such as the trade scenario. Instead of pointing out the holes in the Chargers lineup, everyone looks at passing on another "franchise" quarterback, as they did in 2001 with Michael Vick. It must be easy to forget the Pro Bowl running back they secured in return. A deal I would personally make again today even knowing how much the other parts of the trade stink. Trade the number one overall and get an extra player and picks. With the Swiss designing there new cheese after our team, it only made sense to deal out.

And the Chargers appeared ready to do just that. Of course, that was until they started to open their mouth and turn opposing team's GMs against them. By announcing trade talk – who ever heard of this tactic? – there has been a backlash in certain circles. In all my recollection, there has never been a GM who openly spoke about a team that called to inquire. They may have said "three teams called" and declined to identify those teams. Not AJ Smith.

Now, just three days before the draft, the representatives for Eli Manning, namely Tom Condon and Archie Manning, have told the Chargers they want Eli to play for New York. Smith said his first smart thing by telling Condon that the Chargers would do what is best for the franchise.

"We understand, but we'll do what's in the best interests of the San Diego Chargers," Smith said.

But selecting Manning, a guy who does not want to be here, can't be good for ticket sales. Have they lost leverage because of these findings? Hard to say. The thinking here is a resounding yes. Wouldn't the Chargers lose leverage in any deal with the Giants? Or will the Giants be forced to make a deal to get the guy that wants to play in New York?

What do you think Tom Condon is telling his other client, LaDainian Tomlinson, right now?

"I just hooked you up with that left tackle we talked about."

And what is wrong with Robert Gallery? Absolutely nothing. He would be an excellent selection and one that still does not look like it will happen.

How many times must this team get slapped in the face?

Maybe, just maybe, this is all an optical illusion. The team looks like it is going backwards, but is the reality simply they are moving along as planned?

It is safe to say they have all of us fooled – illusion indeed. Fooled to believe that this offseason would be a better one – one that would turn this franchise around.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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