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Exclusive Interview with Dean Spanos
On the precipice of a new season, Chargers.com sat down with President Dean Spanos to discuss the dawning of a new era of Chargers football.
Question: We’re just a few days from Monday Night Football. What are your emotions going into the game? Are you nervous? Excited? What’s the anticipation?
Spanos: I’m excited. It’s been a long offseason. Obviously an exciting offseason and I think an exciting preseason. I know the players are ready for Monday night. The organization is and I know the fans are so I’m excited.
Question: What are the biggest differences you’ve seen this year from years past?
Spanos: I think the single biggest difference going into this season obviously is we have 23 new players of the 53 man squad coming in. It’s a younger team by far; a faster team. So it’s quite a turnover but I think we still have a good core group of players in our organization and on our team and I think we’ll be very competitive.
Question: After hiring him in January, you’ve now finally seen Mike McCoy on the sidelines. Obviously it was the preseason, but what were your thoughts on him in general during the game
Spanos: The thing I like about Mike is he manages all parts of the game - special teams, defense, and offense. He’s in there on every play. He has a real good feel of the pulse of the game as its playing through.
Question: Inside the building Tom Telesco has as you’ve said really overhauled this roster. What are your thoughts on the job he’s done so far?
Spanos: That obviously remains to be seen, but it was a difficult task coming in. But like I said before we’ve gotten younger, we’ve gotten faster and he’s built around the core group of players that we have here. I think that’s the key thing. His approach was, and Mike’s as well, is we’re going into the season to win, not to rebuild. So because of Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates and all the key players like that, Eric Weddle, we believe we have a good chance to be competitive, win our division and go on to the playoffs.
Question: You’ve given Mike and Tom a lot of leeway to make decisions that are best for the football team regardless of financial impact. With that belief in mind, what is the working relationship between you and those two?
Spanos: It’s been a great working relationship. Obviously it’s new. We’re (a few) months into the whole thing, but we’re all driving for the same thing. We may not agree on everything, but to me the most important thing is the two of them, along with John Spanos and Ed McGuire, they’re the heart of the football operations that make this whole thing work in terms of building the team and getting it out there to compete. So I like the whole working relationship between all of us. It just has meshed really well.
Question: How excited are you for this Monday Night Opener?
Spanos: I think it’s going to be exciting. It’s the last game of the first week. It’s the final spotlight, if you will, and we’re playing a great team in Houston. It’s going to set the bar real high. It’s going to give us some perspective really into a lot of the new players on our team and what it will take to get to the playoffs because this is potentially a Super Bowl team from last year. So I’m excited and so is everybody else.
Question: Do you like all eyes being on San Diego, or do you get anxious to get to the game already?
Spanos: I do (like it). I’m somewhat anxious, but I like it. There’s some pluses and minuses to it, but it’s the last game and there will be a lot of focus on it. So I like it.
Question: What are your thoughts on the schedule this year?
Spanos: Every year each schedule has its own dynamic. You can only base that schedule and the teams you’re playing on what they did last year. And nobody knows what’s going to happen this year. So based on last year, we have an exciting schedule, but that doesn’t mean it will play out like it did last year. That’s the exciting part. You just don’t know how each year is going to play out. But I’m excited.
Question: Finally, aside from obviously winning a Super Bowl, what would make this a successful 2013 season?
Spanos: Winning the Super Bowl. There’s no doubt about it. You’ve got to win the Super Bowl.