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Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco Interviewed by Darren Smith

Topics included the Chargers playing with a level of confidence, if he knew Philip Rivers would return to form, if he expected this team to make the playoffs, and if he feels like both coordinators will be back next year.


San Diego Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco made an appearance on the Darren Smith show today and commented on a few topics. Topics included the Chargers playing with a level of confidence, if he knew Philip Rivers would return to form, if he expected this team to make the playoffs, and if he feels like both coordinators will be back next year.

Telesco on if he's noticed a high level of confidence from the Chargers:

I have noticed that, and I've seen it all year. Obviously our record is what it is, but I haven't seen a game or situation this year where we were overwhelmed by the situation. Our guys have played hard and smart and confident football really throughout the year, and really it just extended through the Denver game.

On if Telesco feels like his team will win every week:

Yes, you do. You put together a game plan, looking at the match-ups, you go into every game thinking you're going to win. We'd be disappointed with people around here who didn't think that.

There's a difference between being confident and over confident, and we've been on the confident side. Knowing we can't overlook anybody, we have to play hard snap to snap. But there is some confidence there thinking we can play with anybody.

On if Telesco was surprised by McCoy calling a victory:

I didn't see what he had said, I kind of figured knowing Mike, it didn't come out the way he meant it. He's not the type to get up there and guarantee victories, but he has great confidence in his players, and we all do here.

Telesco on if he knew Rivers would return to form or if he hoped Rivers could return to form when he took the job.

When we were here in OTAs and watching Philip in the huddle and out of the huddle, changing plays, watching him throw the ball, physically his arm looked great. Watching how he was in the meeting rooms with the players and the coaches, I had a pretty good idea with the system that Mike had and the way Philip is as a player that this was really going to work. Philip is having a Pro Bowl–caliber year, there's no doubt about it. He's playing at a Pro Bowl–caliber level.

Telesco on if he expected to be in the playoff hunt at 7-7 going into week 15

That was the expectation going in, I know it may not have been the expectation everywhere else, but I know it was in the building. The whole goal is to win the division, we didn't play well enough early to get that done, but the second goal was to make the playoffs. We're still in it with 2 games to go and we just need to worry about taking care of our own business, and we just need to let the rest of the chips fall from there.

Telesco on looking at the roster preseason, if his goal realistically was to make the playoffs

I think so, I think what you have to do is look at the rest of the league and the rest of the conference, and see where everyone else is. Nobody has a perfect roster, we all strive for it but nobody does. Everybody has their strengths and everybody has their weaknesses. It's about how you can emphasize those strengths and minimize those weaknesses.

We've got a lot of good football players in this building. There's no reason why we can't compete for the playoffs, we're close there right now, we'll see how it ends up this year. We've seen a lot of progress this year, I think the future looks bright.

Telesco on if this is a successful season if the team doesn't make the playoffs:

Well, we'd be disappointed obviously, but we've seen a lot of progress throughout the year. Certainly on the offensive side of the ball we're near the top of the league in almost every category. We've flipped that around from the prior year. And on Defense, you're seeing progress, especially within the last 2 weeks with all the energy and enthusiasm we're playing with on Defense. We're tackling better. Last week we didn't give up any big plays on defense to Peyton, which is the key to beating Denver. We're definitely seeing progress and I'm excited about the future.

Telesco was asked about his thoughts on both offensive and defensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and John Pagano's performances this year

They're a big part of this process, obviously Ken's been a great addition here. He has a great mentality, he's very smart, he works very well with the players, and we couldn't be happier with the job he's doing.

I've known John Pagano for a number of years, he was in Indianapolis the same time I was there when I first got there in '98, I've seen him work his way up the ladder, he's an excellent football coach. When you see his enthusiasm on the sidelines getting our guys going, just so enthusiastic and high energy, that helps on defense. He's done a great job of settling things down the last couple weeks and putting together some game-plan that the defense can execute the last couple weeks.

On if he would feel good about both coordinators returning next year to the coaching staff.

Oh absolutely! Absolutely.

On if he expects Whisenhunt to receive some phone calls for a head coaching position.

I guess we'll see when the season is over, he's certainly earned that. I wouldn't be surprised if someone wanted to talk to him.

On if he feels comfortable and thinks Frank Reich could be an offensive coordinator in this league.

Those are all questions we'll get into after the season. I love the work Frank has done here, Frank is another coach I've known for a long time going all the way back to Buffalo. He's been a big part of this process in the offense. But all those type of decisions of players, and coaching we'll get into after the season.

On if Melvin Ingram should have taken the entire season off and just came back next year.

It's been an interesting process because every checkpoint in his rehab process, he kept passing it with flying colors. When he got to 6 months, he got cleared by the doctors, and we had him on the practice field. By everything he did, there was never a point where we were worried about putting him on the practice field.

It was his mindset that the day he got injured, he said "I will be back this year." He put in the time and the effort to get back. Both the surgery and the rehab went really well. From what he showed on the practice field and the way his knee looked, it was a pretty easy decision to put him back on the field.

On how much time he's spent thinking about the draft and what it takes to not find the team at 7-7 again:

Exactly, it's always a multitasking job. Draft preparation is year–round. Our scouts are in this week going through draft meetings and getting prepared for bowl games and all–star games. Obviously we're always evaluating the league and getting that together for the offseason. You're constantly working on it, it's always multitasking between the present right now and always looking forward, too.

On Dwight Freeney

He's doing well, he's doing well. I saw him last week, Dwight's Dwight. He can rehab with the best of them. He looked good, we could use him.

On if he can come back and play next year, if he'd be 100%

That's the plan, he had a very difficult injury, but Dwight is just one of those guys, he'll rehab it well. I've seen him come back from different things too, but that is the plan.