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What Are NFL Pundits Saying About the Bolts?
One noteworthy byproduct of the NFL Scouting Combine is that it brings together some of the biggest and brightest NFL minds in the media all under one roof. I took advantage of some of these elite names in the business being here to get their thoughts on the Chargers heading into the 2013 season.
Here is what they had to say.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’S PETER KING
On Tom Telesco…
“The one name in particular that I’m excited about for the Chargers is Tom Telesco. I’ve always been a big Telesco fan. I remember in 2009, the year that that Indianapolis was in the Super Bowl, I remember talking to Tom at great length on media day and thinking, ‘Wow, this guy’s really smart!’ And I could see why (former GM) Bill Polian never wanted to let him go. And I could also see when they made the switch from Polian to Ryan Grigson, why Ryan Grigson kept Telesco. He’s really a bright guy who sees both the present and future of football very, very clearly.”
On Mike McCoy…
“McCoy really impresses me as kind of the strong silent type. He’s a guy that’s going to be able to stand there in front of the team and a bunch of players and get them to listen to him and respect him. And that’s not an easy thing to do. I’m a fan of this hire as well as Telesco’s. I think they were both good hires.”
ESPN ANALYST AND FORMER COLTS GENERAL MANAGER BILL POLIAN
On Tom Telesco, who he worked with in Indianapolis…
“Tom is the right man for this job. He would be the right man for any job. He’s very bright, is a good judge of talent, is a great organizer, is a good person, is easy to work with, draws people to him and gets the best out of everybody. He’s a thorough professional so I couldn’t speak any more highly of anybody than I can about Tom. He was a trusted confidant for my last nine years, and I’m happy for him and his family.”
ESPN INSIDER ADAM SCHEFTER
On turning around the Chargers offense…
“I think the Chargers have a guy in Mike McCoy that they know has had success with all different types of quarterbacks. And that will play a big role in getting Philip Rivers back to what he can be. He had success with Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning, and they hope he can have that same success with Rivers. Now if you can get him turned around, San Diego will be a lot better. But it’s not just Philip Rivers. They have to get the whole offense straightened out, especially the offensive line. If Rivers does not have the time he needs and that offense is not better, it doesn’t matter how good a quarterback coach Mike McCoy is. And let’s not forget Ken Whisenhunt. He knows how to fix an offense too, and I think his intelligence and efforts will be instrumental in the improvement of the offense and Philip Rivers.
On the Chargers ability to return to the playoffs…
“I think in this league, the one thing we’ve seen over and over is that teams have an uncanny ability to turn things around quickly as long as you are secure and talented at the quarterback position. So with someone like Philip Rivers, there’s no reason to think the Chargers can’t turn it around quickly. That’s the real question in San Diego. Can he get it done and be what he was when everyone was convinced he was one of the top quarterbacks in the National Football League. As long as he plays the way he is capable of playing, why wouldn’t San Diego be able to return to the playoffs? I can’t see a reason why not.”
CBS ANALYST AND FORMER PRO BOWL QUARTERBACK RICH GANNON
On the hiring of Mike McCoy…
“You know, I’m excited for Mike. I’ve always been impressed with him going back to when I got to know him a little bit in Carolina. I thought that what he did in Denver, especially last year not this season, was really special. What he did with Tim Tebow was not easy. He really reinvented their whole offense, so I think that shows his creativity and flexibility. And then to even do it again in a short offseason with Peyton Manning, that shows something too. He realized what Peyton did well and stressed that to really expand some of those concepts that he was comfortable with. Talking with Peyton and to some other people, Mike is a terrific listener. He listens to feedback. A lot of coaches make mistakes in his position by not listening to the feedback of the guys out there on the field, and I think that’s where he really excels.
On the future of Philip Rivers…
“I think Mike is the guy to get Rivers back on track, and that’s an important part of this hire. I thought it was important to bring someone in to get Philip back to playing the type of football he is capable of. And in fairness to Philip, I think he was put in a tough situation last year. The offensive line went through a tough situation losing a lot of players, and he left a lot of his weapons too. It put a lot more pressure and the onus on Philip Rivers during a time the defense was going through changes as well. So I think right now we are seeing a situation where Rivers can turn it around rather quickly, especially with who they’ve brought on board. But he’s got to take better care of the football and accept responsibility for his performances.”
NFL NETWORK’S IAN RAPPAPORT
On Mike McCoy…
“I really liked the move. When you are looking to hire a head coach you want to find a guy who can lead men, be the face of the franchise and hold people accountable. And if you talk to people around the league, Mike is a guy who has got a ton of respect. He’s got energy and he can be commanding. As a coach and a leader, it was a great hire.”
On the team’s future…
“If you look at the Chargers, if you were to tell me they would turn it around fairly quickly, I would believe that. One thing McCoy is going to do is he’s going to work with the quarterback. He’s going to work with Philip Rivers. It’s his area of expertise. I mean, look at what McCoy did with Tim Tebow and Jake Delhomme. If you can do that, you can certainly work with anyone as good as Philip Rivers.”
On Tom Telesco…
“I’m still learning about him, but I like what I’m hearing. First and foremost, he’s a guy who’s respected around the league. He’s got a sound mind and is a good guy. He leaves the Colts and you’d think they’d be upset about losing a guy, which they are from a professional standpoint. But on a personal level, they are all really happy for him. The Colts are really proud of him. He gained their respect at such a high level that when he left to take this job, they said how a good thing happened to a person who deserves it. I think his business sense and the structure he’ll bring makes him a good hire.”