The Washington Redskins might have another cook in the front office kitchen, as the team is interested in former San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith as a team advisor/consultant, following discussions at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Smith was fired, along with head coach and former Redskins coach Norv Turner, by the Chargers following the final 2012 regular season game. The Chargers finished 2012 with a record of 7-9, the team's only losing season under Smith in his 10-year association with the team.
Smith has ties to the Redskins organization, which include working alongside current Redskins GM Bruce Allen in the mid-1980's. The two were involved in front office operations for the USFL's Chicago Blitz.
In addition, Smith tried out for the Redskins as a player in 1974 for Allen's father, legendary Redskins coach George Allen.
His son Kyle Smith is a scout for the Redskins.
Smith has been described in media accounts as authoritarian and considered one of the primary reasons for the departure of former Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, who spent five seasons with the team from 2002-2006.
In a review by the newspaper U-T San Diego of the biographical book "Martyball," Smith by the newspaper U-T San Diego is described as coming off in the book as "aloof, uncommunicative and stubborn" in his relationship with then-coach Schottenheimer.
Prior to the NFL Scouting Combine this past week, NFL.com reported Smith expressed interest in joining the Jacksonville Jaguars as a GM. Other teams expressed an interest in Smith including the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs.
While the arrival of Smith in the personnel department may be welcome to some, it appears the team might be undermining some of the decision-making capabilities of upper management. His role has been described as an "advisor/consultant" and, to the degree he would be joining the front office, he would join an owner, GM and head coach, who appear to be taking the team in the right direction at the right time.
The Redskins have hired their third wide receiver's coach in as many years and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, a former wide receiver himself, has a very hands-on role in that facet of his offense.
But, at the same time, could he also be smothering the wide receiver's coach and undermining their ability? Besides, last season's WR coach, Ike Hilliard, left for a similar job with the Buffalo Bills.
The potential hiring of A.J. Smith as a consultant seems odd and out of sorts for a team that won their first NFC East title in 14 seasons.
After all, Smith was the GM for the Chargers when Eli Manning said he would not play for the team if selected with the first pick of the 2004 NFL Draft. The Chargers' then-general manager Smith chose him anyway and immediately traded him to the New York Giants.
During his tenure in San Diego, Smith was also with the Chargers and permitted the release of Drew Brees, Darren Sproles and LaDainian Tomlinson, among other Pro Bowl-caliber players.
For the record, I not only question the timing of Smith's hiring, but the underlying reason behind his hiring. Nonetheless, if Redskins fans have learned anything since 1999 it's that what owner Daniel Snyder wants, he gets.
Lets hope I'm wrong in my skepticism and the powers that be with the Redskins have something up their sleeve.
Please, I beg of you, prove me wrong.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!