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Telesco Impresses in First National Press Conference
Tom Telesco has seemingly done it all in Indianapolis. After all, he spent 15 seasons as a prominent member of the Colts front office. During his tenure, the team underwent a massive turnaround, posting one of the most successful eras in NFL history, culminating in two Super Bowl appearances and one victory.
But on Thursday, Telesco stood at Lucas Oil Stadium and did something for the first time; he held his first national press conference in front of 800 credentialed members of the media.
“That was something I’d never done before,” the Chargers general manager said afterward. “The media aspect of the combine has become a big part of it. I couldn’t believe how many people were there just to cover the event. But it’s a big event for people and it’s exciting for them. So having that press conference was a little different and a new experience for me.”
Telesco addressed numerous topics while at the podium, speaking at length about the Chargers, his path to the general manager position and much more.
Perhaps the most intriguing question he answered involved Ryan Mathews, the Bolts’ talented running back who is coming off a disappointing injury plagued season. He was asked if Mathews’ can be an every down, bellcow back, and although he wants to bring in another rusher to complement him, Telesco strongly stated that he is a firm believer in Mathews and his ability.
“(Mathews) is really talented, good back,” he said. “He's got size and he runs well, but he's had some injuries, too. I think he can be a bellcow back, but he needs to prove that on the field by staying healthy. I think he's going to have a chance to do that. All the talent is there. Would we like a complement back? There's no doubt about it. I'm a big believer in two backs. These guys take a lot of punishment during the year. To have two backs back there - actually, you'd like three - but you'd like to have two backs who you can lean on so Ryan doesn't have to take the bulk of the carries week in and week out. Who that complement is and his style, it doesn't really bother me what kind of style it is as long as he can come in and play. We'd like a complement with him, but I think Ryan can do it as the one back.”
In addition to the running back situation, Telesco addressed the offense as a whole and asserted that the unit needs to improve across the board at every position. He thinks he has the right men to do just that in McCoy and Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.
“As a whole, we need to get improvement from (the offense),” he said. “I think having Mike with a quarterback background, not only playing in the league but coaching quarterbacks, it's going to help. Ken Whisenhunt's background is great. It's a great fit for us. That's going to help. Those two guys are going to be a huge help for our offense, no doubt about it.”
As a first time GM, Telesco said he is drawing a lot on his past experience with Colts’ GM Ryan Grigson, who was a first year general manager last year himself.
“I can refer back to Ryan working as a first-time GM with a first-time head coach in Chuck (Pagano),” Telesco said. “I've relied on that actually and just with where the roster was. A lot had to be turned over in a short period of time. To watch those guys do it and do it so well has been a huge help for me already… The big thing is watching that process of two first-time guys take on an organization that had to do a lot of turnover. I watched them intently, tried to learn as much as I could.”
While he enjoyed the press conference, Telesco’s happy it’s now behind him so he can focus on the reason he is here – to scout the nearly 300 players in attendance to find the newest Charger.
“Now we get to what we’re really here for,” he said. “We get to see the players.”
Following his press conference, Telesco met for an exclusive sit down with Chargers.com. Be sure to tune in all week for insight into the Chargers new GM during the Scouting Combine.