Chargers in Los Angeles... but not*
Just because Norv Turner and some of the San Diego Chargers brass were in Los Angeles last night entertaining potential suite holders doesn't mean the NFL franchise is poised for a move north. The meet-and-greet dinner at Home Depot Center, emceed by everywhere-at-all-times sportscaster Jim Hill, was part of the team's interest to drum up support in a down economy. Already, more than 25% of the Chargers' sponsors and premium patrons hail from Orange County and north.
It's always interesting, though, when representatives of the team make appearances on this side of Camp Pendleton. Why? Because the Chargers are one of the very few NFL teams free to relocate without the threat of a lawsuit. As it stands, however, the City of Industry stadium site is not a fit, especially if developer Ed Roski is looking to buy a piece of the team, which he wants to do (any team, not specifically the Chargers.) I know that A) there's no way the Spanos family would be willing to part with anything more than a minority share of the Chargers, and B) they would want cash for that share at the nosebleed-high going rate, not the type of development trade-out Roski would prefer.
Regardless, Turner was joined by tackle Marcus McNeill and linebacker Stephen Cooper, and they mingled with a group of 40-50 invitees, then sat down for an informal Q&A session. No draft revelations in that, other than Turner confirming with a chuckle that he wasn't looking for a left tackle or middle linebacker -- a nod to the players who joined him.
San Diego picks 16th and will have plenty of options. The Chargers could use a running back (Ohio State's Beanie Wells or Georgia's Knowshon Moreno are possibles), a cornerback (Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins or Illinois' Vontae Davis), a linebacker (USC's Rey Maualuga or Brian Cushing), or a defensive lineman (LSU's Tyson Jackson or Mississippi's Peria Jerry).
"We have an outstanding football team, but we have some areas where we have to get better," Turner said. "We have to look and ask ourselves, 'Do we have the players to get better in those areas?' And we do. We're very young."
The 2008 Chargers were ranked 31st against the pass, though, prompting Turner to add: "There are some areas in the secondary where we didn't play as well as we'd like. We have young players who can get better. We could add a player there."
-- Sam Farmer
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*An earlier version of this post had Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins listed as Malcolm Jennings.
Photo: Norv Turner. Photo credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times.