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BFTB Interview: Shutdown Corner's MJD

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Hey everyone.  If you are not already familiar with The Mighty MJD and his work at Shutdown Corner, you're missing out.  There's a reason Yahoo! Sports picked him to be their main football blogger, and part of that reason is probably his legendary Smorgasborg posts at Deadspin.  Honestly, he's turned the internet's intrigue about Muff Stubble Girl into a whole writing career and I'm jealous about it.

Anyways, while he's Yahoo! Sports football blogger and should probably be unbiased, he's an unabashed Chargers fan.  And who can blame him?  So I sent him questions to answer like 2 months ago and he finally got back to me, and the wait was worth it.  My questions and his answers, lie after the jump.  You'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll probably Rec the post.  Interviews with Chargers players and coaches are hopefully still in the near future.

Where do you stand on LT?  Is he done?  Over/Under 215 carries for the season?
I'll take over 215, and no, I don't think he's done. If he can stay a little healthier this year and develop a little better rapport with whoever ends up starting at fullback, I feel very confident that we're looking at a solid bounce-back year and a fantasy steal. I think the rule that running backs tend to hit the wall around the age of 30 is generally true, but shouldn't LaDainian be considered a special case? He's been special in every other aspect of his career, so why shouldn't he be special when it comes to age and decline, too?

I see about 1300 yards rushing for him this year, and the customary 50+ receptions. And I'm looking forward to a lot of people owing LaDainian an apology, too.


How does the Stafford deal effect the impending Rivers deal?

It's not the Stafford deal we have to worry about it; it's the impending Eli Manning deal. If the Giants make him the richest football player on the planet -- which is entirely possible -- that's bad news when Rivers and his agent can look at that deal and say, "Look, we're way better than that guy."


Choose your poison: Would you rather be in the middle of a Merriman-English sack or be run over by Brandon Jacobs?

I'll take the Merriman/English sack, because that would mean that Larry English touched me, and when Larry English touches you, you become impervious to fire. Most people don't know that.


What's your favorite Chargers bar?

I've actually never been in a Chargers bar. I've never even known of the existence of one.


All-time favorite Chargers player?  Coach?

For a player, I'll take Dan Fouts. Aside from the obvious reasons having to do with his greatness as a player, there's also this. If that happened today, and someone heard about it, some blog would be selling "Dan Fouts MFIC" hats the next day. And I'd buy one.

Favorite coach ... I'll take Mike Riley. Obviously, the reasons here have nothing to do with greatness. I just remember having overwhelming feelings of sympathy for him during the 2000 season. There were so many close, soul-battering losses that year. You might argue that Riley had a lot to do with that (myself, I'd put the blame on a nearly talent-free roster), but he was at least a nice and very likable man, and it just hurt to see anyone suffering like that week in, week out.


Although he proved himself with the game against the Colts in the playoffs, does Darren Sproles still scare you?  Chargers fans tend to forget how injury-prone he was before last season.

He excites me more than he scares me, but I was a little scared when I thought there was a chance we'd go into '09 with him as our primary back. I felt pretty confident that once Michael Turner got out from behind LaDainian Tomlinson, he'd be a good feature back somewhere, but I don't get that same thing from Sproles.

I don't know if it's quite fair to label him as injury prone, though. He's a little young for that. At the very least, if he gets through this year injury-free, I'd say that label would be effectively shed.


If all 3 OLBs have tremendous years, who starts next year?  Merriman has the big price tag, Phillips has the off-the-field troubles and English would be somewhat unproven without Merriman (see Phillips' 2008 season).

Yeah, good question, and I'm not looking forward to the Merriman drama next offseason. A lot of people seemed to be of the opinion that Larry English was drafted because the Chargers don't intend to pay Merriman next year, but I hope that's not the case, and I don't think it is. In his absence, we pretty clearly saw that Merriman's a game- changer every single game he plays. Guys like that should get paid. I'm looking forward to seeing what it looks like when all three of them get on the field at the same time.

Finances say Phillips and English are the safest bets, but I think Merriman's about to have a year that makes it impossible to let him walk. If I've got to be nailed down to two names right now, I'll optimistically take Merriman and Phillips for '10. I don't like thinking about that, though. I'd much prefer to think about '09, and the havoc that the three of them can wreak while working together.


The Chargers make you the lead guy on the new stadium project.  Where's it going?

Hold on to your hats, because I can solve this whole problem with two words: Floating. Stadium. Put it somewhere near the Coronado Bridge, everyone gets there by ferry, and it's open-ended on both ends of the stadium so people can chill in their boats, watch the game, and dive into the water after Nate Kaeding extra points.

Outside of that, though, I don't have any ideas better than anyone else's (and honestly, I haven't followed the location search terribly closely, because I find it all frustrating and confusing). The ideal situation is a location like Petco's but honestly, at this point, I'll settle for anything keeps the Chargers somewhere in the area.


What are your expectations for Gartrell Johnson?

First, that he and I get married this summer and he takes the name Gartrell Darnell. After that, I really don't expect to see much of him. I think LaDainian still gets the goal line carries, and if that's the case, after Tomlinson gets his touches and Sproles gets his, what's left for Gartrell but mop-up duty?


Do you have any thoughts about Bolts From The Blue?  Any tips you want to send our way?  Whenever you have something to say, don't hesitate to e-mail me directly.  MJD can be reached by e-mail here and can be followed on Twitter and at Shutdown Corner.