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Telesco from Combine: "Another Piece of the Puzzle"

Posted Feb 20, 2014

General Manager Tom Telesco speaks with Jordan Beane about free agency and preparations for the Combine and NFL Draft.

It is one of the busiest times of the year for an NFL front office. General Manager Tom Telesco talks about how he and his staff can get the most out of the 2014 Scouting Combine.



Chargers.com: You ended your last press conference by thanking the fans for their support in the 2013 season. What did they mean to you and the Chargers this past year?

Telesco: It was really important. It gives us some validation that with all the hard work we're doing, we know we have these fans behind us. To see their passion on game day -- that Kansas City game was incredible, the atmosphere there. And seeing their support for us through the playoffs, it means a lot. It really does. It shows that there are people behind you that support you and are trying to help us win. We always talk about how we're all in this together. It's really the team, this city and Chargers fans all over the country. We're all in this together to try to get a championship.

Chargers.com: Since the season ended, what have things been like for the front office at Chargers Park?

Telesco: February is one of our busier months. The season ends in January, but February has a lot going on between the draft, preparations, free agency and we have our own players with expiring contracts. We're still cleaning things up from the previous year, so February is a busy month for us.

Chargers.com: How much prior work has been done to prepare for this event?

Telesco: Our scouts do this year round. They are always working towards this. We had all of our scouts in town for a couple weeks of meetings to get ready for the Combine. Kevin Kelly, JoJo Wooden and John Spanos really drill those things down on different players, their backgrounds, their playing ability and all of those things to help us get situated for the combine. It's a long process, but we do like to start it early.

Chargers.com: What do you look for here at the Combine?

Telesco: This is just another piece of the puzzle. The biggest thing for us is what they did in the fall, as far as actually playing football games. There are some important things here. Their medical evaluations are very important, our  psychological interviews with them. The on-field portion is important but it doesn't supersede what they did in the fall.

Chargers.com: Can a prospect have a "make-or-break" type of performance here?

Telesco: I don't think so. The biggest thing for us is how they play football. As we know, here at the workouts, this isn't playing football. It's watching them run around as athletes, which is nice to see. It's good to see the corners and receivers run a little bit, but this is not a make-or-break standpoint. From a media standpoint it might be, but for us it's just one more piece to the puzzle.

Chargers.com: Is there any difference in the way the front office evaluates players compared with how the coaching staff will look at them?

Telesco: No, we're all looking for the same traits at each position. We're all on the same page for what we're looking for, what scheme we're running, who fits and who doesn't. The scouts do this year-round and they do it for a living. The coaches have to coach the majority of the year so they can't put as much time into it. But as far as what we're looking for, we're all here looking for the same thing.

Chargers.com: What is your working relationship like with Head Coach Mike McCoy while you are here in Indianapolis?

Telesco: A lot of it is just getting Mike caught up on the college players. Obviously, when the college players are playing, it's during the season and we are all currently working. So with the assistant coaches and the head coach, this is a good time for them to get caught up on the players, introduce them to some of the players, they can meet them and put a name to the face, and maybe do a little bit of tape work too.

Chargers.com: Where do you and your staff stand currently in the free agency process?

Telesco: Free agency is a process we work on year-round too with our pro scouts. It really picks up this time of year as far as going through our evaluations, not only as a player but then the market value of who can fit under our cap. Our priority right now is, we have some Chargers players of our own with expiring contracts that we are looking to get done first.


Chargers.com: The last time you were here at the combine, you found a couple of pretty good players that you were able to bring to San Diego via the draft. What are your memories from last year?

Telesco: This Combine is a little bit smoother than last year. Last year, we were on the run, but we got a lot of good work done. This year, our process and plan is much smoother. It was a good process last year, even though we weren't full-handed. We came out with a nice group of players. We're happy with them. We think a lot of them still have a higher ceiling to go. I don't think any of them maxed out yet. A player like Brad Sorensen, who hasn't played a lot, we still think has a lot of ability. So we're happy with the group.

 
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