This one stings. Two days after the "Fire Norv" bandwagon got going again, the "Fire A.J. Smith" bandwagon is being pulled out of the garage. First, the news from the Silver Fox:
Considering the recovery time for a broken bone is probably 6-8 weeks, and that time does not include getting back into game shape, it's a good bet that English can expect to finish the 2011 season on the Injured Reserve list once again. Foot injuries have plagued the former first-round pick his entire career.
Larry's contract with the Chargers gives him a raise in 2012 and 2013, paying him over $1 million per season (he made $740k this year). I don't think it's a long shot to say that English's time in San Diego might be finished unless he reworks that deal. In a word, Larry is a draft 'bust'.
After the jump, a brief rundown of A.J. Smith's draft history.
I know a lot of you are going to want to react to this injury by saying that A.J. Smith has lost his touch for drafting. You're wrong. Smith simply went through a drafting slump, for whatever reason, in 2007-2009 after having two amazing drafts in 2005-2006.
2005: Maybe the best NFL draft class ever. Shawne Merriman, Luis Castillo, Vincent Jackson, Darren Sproles and Scott Mruczkowski? Wow.
2006: Antonio Cromartie, Marcus McNeill, Charlie Whitehurst, Tim Dobbins and Jeromey Clary were all either starters or brought back starters for the Chargers. This is when A.J.'s star was shining brightest.
2007: The first post-Marty draft. Nobody is left from this draft except for Paul Oliver (who was signed after Bob Sanders was injured) and Eric Weddle. Buster Davis, Anthony Waters, Scott Chandler....you get the idea.
2008: Antoine Cason, Jacob Hester and nothing. Cason would've been a good second-rounder, but has yet to shown himself as a legitimate first-round talent in the NFL.
2009: The picks after the first round got better. Louis Vasquez, Tyronne Green and Vaughn Martin are looking like solid selections in rounds 3 and 4. Everything else sucks, including Larry English as the 16th overall pick.
2010: This draft looks above-average right now. Ryan Mathews and Donald Butler look like stars. Darrell Stuckey and Cam Thomas are solid backups working their way up.
2011: Can't review this one yet, but Corey Liuget and Marcus Gilchrist look good so far. Vincent Brown has looked good when healthy, and Andrew Gachkar is exactly what the team wanted/needed.
See? So he's getting better, not worse. Nobody drafts classes like A.J. did in 2005-2006 every year. It's impossible to do. He's taken too big of risks with his high draft picks probably because he bought into the whole "A.J. is a genius" thing, but the Mathews and Liuget picks were safer and have seemingly paid off more.
Do not fire A.J.