Chargers’ Tom Telesco has plans for the NFL scouting combine, but he’s not willing to share them
Maybe he’s got a full house. Maybe it’s flush. Or maybe, it’s a whole bunch of junk.
When it comes to information, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco is as good as anyone at leaving people guessing.
“It’s not very hard,” Telesco said with a chuckle Wednesday afternoon in the lounge of a downtown hotel. “I’m not a guy that runs around telling everyone what I know anyways. It’s a competitive league. You’ve got 31 other teams you’re competing with.
“There are no benefits to your football team in letting people know what your thoughts are and what you’re trying to do.”
This is the culture Telesco’s created.
It’s why he didn’t offer any clear answers about the direction his team might be headed at the NFL scouting combine, though there are some general assumptions that can be made.
For beginners, the Chargers’ main needs are fairly obvious — and even Telesco will admit those. The team needs to improve the kicking situation, and they’ll do it either through the draft or free agency or both.
It’s the same when it comes to the team’s future at quarterback. The immediate seems fine — with Philip Rivers coming off a strong season in 2017 — but Telesco knows the future for the team is coming quickly and a successor needs to be identified and developed.
“It’s a balance between not forcing it, but there’s a clock ticking always,” Telesco said. “Since I arrived here, we’ve treated every offseason putting a lot of resources into the quarterback situation because we know Philip isn’t going to play 10 more years. With him right now, he’s playing great ball for us, but we need to have a plan for after Philip.
“… Until we have the next guy, whether it’s by draft, by trade or by free agency, we’re going to keep getting asked, ‘When is it time?’ ”
He’s been the team’s general manager for the last five seasons, and the time hasn’t been right — though this could be the year that all changes. Just don’t expect him to tip his pitch prior to the draft.
Also, don’t expect Telesco to share his plans for free agency. The Chargers are in the middle of the pack when it comes to salary-cap room, and Telesco said the team hasn’t made any roster moves as of yet to improve their cap situation.
Still, he said he figured the cap-rich teams in the league could drive free-agent prices up so high that the Chargers could end up using their money on other things like contract extensions for their own players.
He said the organization would meet with representatives for the Chargers’ top two free agents, safety Tre Boston and tight end Antonio Gates, while at the combine.
There will be changes to the roster — that’s a guarantee — but Telesco said he likes how the offseason for the team began with the re-signings offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
“I think the continuity is important. We’re probably one of the few teams that have their offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator coming back. There can’t be that many,” Telesco said. “We like that. But, as far as ‘running it back [with the same talent],’ a new season starts and you start from scratch. There’s no momentum from last season. You start from the bottom again.”
Where they end up, only Telesco knows. And he’s not telling.
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